What if I told you that 7 weeks into the XFL season, a 1-6 team could still have a shot at making the playoffs? Sounds like something right out of an ESPN 30 for 30 right? Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction, but today’s matchup between Orlando and Arlington has playoff implications. It’s slim with no room for error, but if Orlando wins out and gets some help, the Guardians could very well wind up in the playoffs. That said let’s talk about this upcoming game.
Orlando’s offense in the last three weeks has gone from anemic to downright dangerous, I wonder what happened? (cough..cough… Quinten Dormady….cough….cough) Since he’s taken over Orlando’s offense has been one of the best in the XFL. Quinten is second in passing accuracy from quarterbacks with at least 100 pass attempts. Cody Latimer currently leads the XFL in receiving yards. Charleston Rambo has really come into his own as a legitimate number two in our offense. There is a lot to be excited about going into a playoff push.
On the other hand, Arlington’s offense has been a comedy of errors. Drew Plitt started the season, has been ineffective, and was replaced by Kyle Sloter. Sloter didn’t fare much better, and they have traded for Vipers quarterback Luis Perez, who should be making his first start today. Hopefully, he can help a passing attack that ranks next to last in yards and touchdowns. The strength of their offense if you can really call it that is De’Veon Smith. He is third in the league in rushing but is only averaging 3.1 yards a carry.
Orlando’s defense has been suspect this year. Early in the season, it looked like bad defensive efforts were really the result of turnovers and offensive mistakes. In the last three weeks, it’s become apparent that they are just leaky. Orlando’s defense gives up 29 points per game, the worst in the league. They are 7th in the league in sacks, 6th in tackles for loss, and tied for the bottom of the league in interceptions. Not exactly what we expected when we hired a former all-pro cornerback to be our head coach.
On the other hand, Arlington’s defense is the reason this team is any good at all. Their 13.3 points allowed per game stands alone as the best in the XFL. As a unit, they are second in the XFL in interceptions, and 4th in forced fumbles. Linebacker Donald Payne is second in the league in total tackles with 58. When you look at these two units, there really is no comparison.
Orlando wins if:
Dormady can continue to do his thing. If this offense puts up 25-30 points as they have since he’s taken over, Arlington is likely to have issues keeping up. In the first matchup, the league’s worst only gave up 10 points. If we are able to move the ball and put points up early, it will put pressure on Arlington’s offense I don’t think they can come back from. As always, Orlando must limit the turnovers and penalties, as they are near the top of the league in both categories. Last week almost bit us when we fumbled against DC with time running out.
Arlington Wins if
They do exactly what they did the first time. Arlington’s defense needs to keep them out of the endzone, a much harder task this time around. They also need to force turnovers to give their struggling offense some help. In the first matchup, all 10 of Arlington’s points came on Jah-Maine Martin’s fumbles. They need to get pressure on Dormady and force him to make bad throws into traffic. They also must get the running game going, since Luis Perez has the unenviable task of picking up an offense in less than two full weeks.
Betting Line and Prediction
Vegas currently has the Orlando Guardians as the favorites to win this game. The current spread has Orlando as 1.5 point favorite to win this game. I very much feel like this game is going to look a lot like their game against Seattle. I would be very tempted to take Orlando to cover. The over-under currently sits at 42.5. This is a tough choice right now, but I am probably taking Under. I know Orlando can put up points, but I don’t think Arlington can. The under feels like a safe bet here.
Orlando wins 25-12