The second week of the XFL season gave us more clarity about where teams currently stack up, we’re already seeing a separation amongst tiers of teams. Below are our power rankings from week two of the XFL.
#1 – DC Defenders (2-0; Previously 1st)
The Defenders showed the XFL that they are the team to beat following a 27-0 shutout of the Guardians. Cardale Jones made multiple highlight plays that displayed his athleticism and ability to think fast and extend plays. Jones threw for 276 yards and a pair of touchdowns, a job that was made easier thanks to his core trio of speedy receivers in DeAndre Tompkins, Rashad Ross, and Eli Rodgers.
On the other side of the ball, the Defenders have been living up to their name. The team forced two interceptions, including a pick-six, which resulted in veteran QB Matt McGloin getting benched. This team has proven that they are able to shut down their opponents and capitalize on mistakes in every instance where it is presented. The Defenders have an incredible coach and communicator in Pep Hamilton and are the most complete team in the XFL.
#2 – Houston Roughnecks (2-0; Previously 2nd)
PJ Walker and June Jones have the most electric offense in the league, a spectacle that was on full display in their 28-24 win over the BattleHawks. In his two incredible performances on the field so far Walker has scored seven touchdowns, the same amount as the entire Defenders team. The nimble quarterback has great pocket awareness and an extremely accurate arm.
Walker’s best weapon is Cam Philips, a fast threat everywhere on the field who caught all three touchdowns on Sunday and now has four on the season. The Renegades defense has had a solid pass rush and was able to successfully fend off a rally from Saint Louis. The Roughnecks are a true competitor and will continue to make a splash with PJ Walker.
#3 – Saint Louis BattleHawks (1-1; Previously 4th)
Despite their loss to Houston this week, the BattleHawks proved that they should never be counted out. Quarterback Jordan Ta’amu continued to impress and put up numbers both in the air and on the ground. He’s the most accurate quarterback in the league despite never playing a professional game before the XFL, and has the second-most passing yards. Ta’amu has shown that he can elevate the St. Louis offense, he just needs to limit the big mistakes and costly turnovers.
The Battlehawks’ biggest strength is their run game, which should continue to develop under Jonathan Hayes. The ‘Hawks outgained Houston 390-238, but only averaged 2.9 yards per rush. Their defense has helped limit the opposing run and has recorded four sacks on the season. If this team can continue to grow their dynamic offense on the ground, they will be able to compete with the best teams in the league.
#4 – Dallas Renegades (1-1; Previously 5th)
Landry Jones made his XFL debut in a 25-18 victory over the Wildcats. Jones threw for 305 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions in a performance that had ups and downs. Bob Stoops is relying on his quarterback to be the lifeline of the offensive, as he had Jones throw the ball 40 times. This worked out for the Renegades, as things clicked in the fourth quarter for an explosion of offense that saw Jones put up the highest passing numbers of the season.
Despite being a pass-happy offense, Cameron Artis-Payne has established himself as a key part of the gameplan. He rushed for 99 yards and 2 touchdowns on just 14 carries against LA. The defense did a good job of wearing down the opposing offense, excelling with their coverage in the secondary. Bob Stoops has his quarterback and a solid talent pool on the field, now he needs to continue to tweak his gameplan to find a balance that works best.
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#5 – Seattle Dragons (1-1; Previously 6th)
The Dragons were able to even their record, rallying from a 9-0 deficit against Tampa to squeak out a 17-9 win. Jim Zorn has stuck to a conservative style of playcalling, which has hindered the offense’s ability to perform to a degree. The talent is there, as Brandon Silvers has shown glimpses of his potential, which included an explosive 68-yard touchdown to Keenan Reynolds that sparked the comeback. The run game has been consistent, rotating between the solid trio of Farrow, Gardner, and Williams who can be relied on to move the ball.
The Dragons’ defense has been solid, holding the struggling Vipers to just a field goal and coming up with a pick-six from Marcell Frazier. The biggest issue this team currently faces is their ability to convert first downs. Against the Vipers, they were 2 of 10 on first down, and have a conversion rate of just 24% on the season, a trend that must quickly change if they want to get out of the middle of the standings.
#6 – New York Guardians (1-1; Previously 3rd)
The Guardians had a weekend full of drama as they fell apart and were shutout by the Defenders. Matt McGloin failed to move the ball downfield and threw two interceptions, leading him to criticize Kevin Gilbride’s gameplan and execution. McGloin was then benched for Marquise Williams, who didn’t do much better. Both quarterbacks combined for just 95 passing yards a week after posting 23 points against the Vipers.
The offensive line and play-calling leave a lot to be desired, the team had just five first downs and went 1 of 11 on third-down conversions. The defense that dominated Tampa last week looked directionless as DC wore them down and moved the ball with ease. It’s unclear how this quarterback debacle will shake out, but the team does have a talented pair of runningbacks in Tim Cook and Darius Victor that they should rely upon more until Gilbride is able to figure things out.
#7 – Los Angeles Wildcats (0-2; Previously 7th)
The Wildcats remain winless, but fans got to see some of Josh Jonhson’s playmaking abilities in his XFL debut. Johnson threw for 196 yards and a pair of touchdowns, both going to Nelson Spruce who has been able to prove himself as one of the league’s top receivers. The offense was able to move the ball downfield but failed to finish drives, coming up short in the redzone on multiple occasions.
Winston Moss fired defensive coordinator Pepper Johnson following their week one loss, the unit showed some signs of life but still surrendered 444 yards to Dallas. The team has allowed 62 points in the past two weeks and still has a lot of improvement to do. With their struggles on both sides of the ball, the Wildcats have a lot of room to grow and should focus on developing their best playmaking duo in Josh Johnson and Nelson Spruce.
#8 – Tampa Bay Vipers (0-2; Previously 8th)
This team doesn’t have an identity, Marc Trestman has already cycled through three quarterbacks in Aaron Murray, Quinton Flowers, and Taylor Cornelius. The team has been unable to score an offensive touchdown, coming up short on all seven of their appearances in the redzone. The defense hasn’t looked much better, coming up with little to show against two offenses that have struggled to move the ball.
Trestman needs to figure out what to do with the most important position on the field before he can start to fix the rest of the team. Murray was out week two with a foot injury and in his absence, Taylor Cornelius got the majority of snaps with little to show. The only time this offense has been able to move has been under Quinton Flowers, who offers a change of tempo with his ability to run compared to the pro-style offense the Vipers have been trying to pull off with Murray. He hasn’t seen much playing time, but Flowers may be the quarterback who can turn things around and stop Tampa from completely derailing.
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