Undefeated vs. winless: DC takes on Orlando
Week 7 of the XFL season features some games with playoff potential. Both St. Louis and Seattle need a win against Houston and Arlington respectively. San Antonio plays Vegas with a chance to tie for the final playoff spot in the south division. With all the excitement elsewhere we turn our focus to a game that should just be fun to watch. The undefeated DC defenders, with a 2 game lead on the field, play the winless Orlando Guardians.
DC’s offense has featured a two QB attack very similar to the 2006 Florida Gators. Jordan Ta’amu plays Chris Leak, and D’eriq King plays the part of Tim Tebow. Ta’amu is the leading passer and every down signal caller. D’eriq King comes for a handful of plays and usually has touchdowns to show for his effort. At running back, Abram Smith leads the XFL in rushing yards and touchdowns.
At wide receiver, Lucky Jackson(Ambush Sports POTW) is third in the league in receiving yards going into this game. While this offense has struggled to pass the football, Only San Antonio has thrown for fewer yards, their running game has been so dominant that it hasn’t mattered.
The Guardian’s offense is led by Quentin Dormady, making his second start. The offense has made dramatic improvement since he took over. Last week against the Sea Dragons, Orlando generated 400 yards of offense, including 162 on the ground. The running game is highlighted by Devin Darrington, who has gotten more involved after returning from injury. His game last week saw him running for 82 yards and scoring twice. The receiving corps is led by Cody Latimer, the XFL’s second-leading receiver, at tight end. As a team, Orlando’s offense has been balanced, ranking 4th in the league in both rushing and passing.
There’s not much more that I can say at this point. DC’s defense is third in the XFL in Interceptions. They take full advantage of their turnovers, 3 of those 7 have gone for touchdowns, the best in the league. Michael Joseph leads this charge with 4 interceptions(second in XFL), and two touchdowns. DC’s defense ranks second in the league in sacks. Devin Bellamy, Andre Mintze, and Jarrell Owens have been making opposing quarterbacks uncomfortable all season long.
Orlando’s defense has been a mixed bag. Orlando’s defense ranks last in the league giving up 29 points per game. However, they rank 4th against the rush, and 5th against the pass. A lot of this is explained by the fact that Orlando leads the league in both penalties and turnovers. As well, their special teams have been atrocious.
Orlando’s defense is consistently being asked to defend a short field, and many of those points come when they break completely. Jacoby Jones and Stansley Maponga lead a team in sacks that struggles to get to the quarterback (seventh in the XFL). The secondary has struggled to force turnovers, with only 3 interceptions all season, and two of those were in week one.
DC wins if:
They continue to play mistake-free football. If the offensive line can dominate the line of scrimmage for Abram Smith, which they have all season, this offense will thrive. Defensively, they have to keep doing what they have been doing. Orlando’s offense has been turnover prone and struggled to protect Dormady or Lynch. DC’s opportunistic defense should thrive in this game. Smart, mistake-free football should be enough for the win.
Orlando wins if:
They must break many season-long patterns. Offensively, they must be more disciplined. While they have been able to move the football, penalties, turnovers, and struggling pass protection have killed far too many drives. On Defense, they will have to be able to slow down the XFL’s best run game. Orlando has to force a struggling pass attack to win the game for DC. Orlando’s defense will also need to force turnovers and cut down on penalties that have given offenses second life all season.
The current spread for this game is DC as a ten-point favorite. While tempted to take Orlando with such a large spread, my feeling is that DC covers. DC is firing on all cylinders, and this game doesn’t feel like it will wind up being close. With both Orlando and DC being bottom half in points per game allowed, the smart money would take the over on the 45-point over/under.
DC wins 37-20