New York Guardians fans it is week 1! After a few long months of waiting we finally get to enjoy some Guardians football. Their first game will be played this Sunday at Metlife Stadium. Viewers can watch it on FOX at 2 pm. Today we will give you a breakdown of what to expect for the Guardians match up with the Tampa Bay Vipers. Remember the XFL is geared for high octane offensive football so we should be seeing high scoring games. The weather looks to be in the low 40s with little wind or precipitation and should not impact the game. Let us start by breaking down the offensive verse defensive match ups.
Guardian’s offense vs Vipers defense
The New York Guardians offense will have to be very balanced to attack this Vipers defense. The Vipers run a non-traditional front which could impact the way the Guardians approach this game. The Guardians offensive line should be able to hold up against a weaker defensive front. The tackles Jarron Jones and John Kling should be able to handle the defensive ends as they are the weakest part of the defense. Running backs Tim Cook and Darius Victor will have to utilize their vision when going up against the 6 man defensive front. With the Vipers playing a bit smaller due to adding an extra cornerback both should have important roles in the offense. I expect Cook to be able to run through defenders opening it up for the Guardians passing attack.
With the speed of the game Matt McGloin is going to have to be very aware of the situations. The teams only have a 25 second play clock so he is going to have to get the play to the offense and read the defense. The Vipers secondary has some talented players but McGloin should be able to exploit them off play-action. One of his bigger targets Mecale McKay is going to have to use his size to overwhelm the smaller cornerbacks of the Vipers. Corey Moore is a player who could make an impact for the Vipers. Expect McGloin to spread it around as much as possible.
Viper’s offense vs Guardians defense
The Viper’s offense took a hit when former Brown’s wide receiver got placed on injured reserve. This Viper’s team is still very talented at the wide receiver position and the Guardians secondary will have to be ready. Guys like Jalen Tolliver and Reece Horn will be sure to make some plays if the Guardians are not careful. I expect Jamar Summers to be put in a position to shut one of those guys down having Bryce Jones to carry his weight. It will also be import for the players up front to get pressure on quarterback Aaron Murray so he does not have all day to throw. Murray recently had a stint in the AAF where he struggled a little. If Cavon Walker and Bunmi Rotimi can get pressure on the outside for the Guardians they could have a great chance of winning.
The Vipers backfield will consist of a rotation of players led by De’Veon Smith. Smith is a bit smaller back but is very quick and elusive. Being in a league that is meant for fast pace though Smith could potentially thrive in this spot. I talked about my concerns with the Guardians defensive tackles T.J. Barnes and Joey Mbu being larger players. Yes the size helps to clog up the inside rushing but the Vipers may take a more lateral approach. With the lineman and linebackers be able to contain the outside runs with the quicker pace of the game? I am concerned about this and the fatigue that could set in. If the Guardians front 7 cannot adjust to the speed of the game it could be a long day.
When the game begins for both teams it will be interesting to see how they adjust to the speed of the game. With the style of play in the XFL league teams will have to adjust to a quicker pace of game. There could be plenty of penalties and sloppy play for both teams for the first part of the game. Once the teams start settling in I expect the Guardians offense to be able to stay more balanced. I also feel that yes the Guardians will struggle at times against the run but the secondary will play well. Being that this game is at MetLife is an advantage that other teams may not have. For that reason and the analysis I have brought up I expect the New York Guardians to win a close, high scoring game.
Guardians 37, Vipers 31