Week 5 featured some incredible action. Houston was pulled from the ranks of the unbeaten by Seattle. DC pulled off the season sweep of St. Louis. Arlington and San Antonio played the XFL’s version of Baltimore against Pittsburgh. Finally, a game featuring two winless teams featured the most offensive output of any game in the XFL’s young history. I sit down with fellow Ambush sports writer Drew Wells to discuss the impact of week 5 on the power rankings.
Jesse: DC Defenders
The duo of Ta’amu and D’erik king just makes this offense work. The defense is stout and forces turnovers. Last week against St. Louis, Abram Smith exploded for 218 yards and 3 touchdowns against what is more than likely a playoff team. There is an old adage about running the football and playing strong defense being a difficult-to-beat formula, and this team has run that to the only undefeated record in the league.
Drew: DC Defenders
Being the only team left standing undefeated halfway through the season lands D.C. at the top as the current “cream of the crop”. They have a big matchup this Monday night against Houston at home. The Beer Snake will rear its ugly head as the D.C. defense continues flying and the offense tries to continue its rise.
Jesse: Seattle Sea Dragons
That’s right there is a number 2. This one was really difficult, but ultimately I had to go with what I felt was the stronger team. Seattle’s defense held up time and time again winning 21-14, despite their offense turning the ball over 4 times. This team is the second-strongest team in the league with Ben DiNucci looking like the XFL version of Jameis Winston. If they were able to limit the turnovers, this would probably be the best team in the league by a mile.
Drew: Houston Roughnecks
Houston has several questions to answer after a loss on the road to up-and-coming Seattle. Will Trent Harris be healthy this week? Who steps up in place of injured WR Jontre Kirklin? Can Silvers and the offense produce in other ways while missing a key piece to their attack? If not… *cue “Houston, we have a problem” quotes*, as Houston faces D.C. and St. Louis in consecutive weeks.
Jesse: Houston Roughnecks
Where to start with this one? I thought that they could lose to Seattle, but didn’t see it coming the way that it happened. Against the best team they played all season, their offense was out of sorts. Brandon Silvers was uncomfortable all day, the running game never got going. On the other side, Houston couldn’t get home to Dinucci, and he was able to make the plays in the secondary, for both teams. Houston also lost their best wide receiver, Kirklin, for the season. It’s very possible they could free-fall further, but for now, it’s number 3.
Drew: St. Louis BattleHawks
Having lost to D.C. twice already this year, the Battlehawks don’t have much chance of rising to the top of the power rankings as things stand right now. How they perform against the middle of the pack over the next several weeks will determine where they rank overall, and with Seattle on the rise, the playoffs aren’t guaranteed.
Jesse: St. Louis BattleHawks
Not sure what to make of this team. Their only two losses this season were to the number one DC defenders. A.J. McCarron has consistently been a top quarterback in this league. Their defense has shown up and played very well outside of the two losses. Hakeem Butler has shown himself to be an elite XFL wide receiver. This team still has a critical matchup with Houston and Seattle that could determine whether or not they manage to get into the playoffs.
Drew: Seattle Sea Dragons
Seattle has gotten hot as of late, knocking off the odds-on favorite to win the league at the halfway point in the season. QB Ben DiNucci is still turnover-prone, but the offense and defense have both taken huge steps in recent weeks. Can they sustain it, or will they come back down to Earth? Seattle’s fate relies heavily on their last two games against D.C. and St. Louis.
Jesse: Arlington Renegades
Unless something drastic happens in the second half of the season, this is going to be a playoff team. If you’ve watched any Arlington games this year, then you know it’s not because they are a legitimately good football team. Their offense has been downright ugly this season. To this point in the season, they have only scored 20 points in a game once, with no offense touchdowns, in that game.
Neither quarterback has been able to find any rhythm, and the running game has been lackluster at best. The defense, however, has been outstanding. The fact that they are 3-2 despite scoring 12 points per game is a testament to how good this defense has been. This team is only gonna go as far as the defense can carry them.
Drew: Las Vegas Vipers
It appears there is an opening act in Las Vegas, and it happens to be led by the man who started the year for them at QB… Luis Perez. The defense has shown big vulnerabilities against teams with an offensive pulse. Fortunately for the Vipers, there are two (or more) other teams that DO NOT show signs of life on that side of the ball. (And no, Orlando is not one of them anymore!)
Jesse: Las Vegas Vipers
They finally got their first win, despite an absolutely poor 2-minute offense to close out the game. The game between the two winless teams was probably one of the best all season. The Vegas offense finally looks like it is clicking, and Louis Perez looked very comfortable on Saturday. The defense is still one of the worst in this league, but this team has the potential to play spoiler for some teams in the second half of the season.
Drew: Arlington Renegades
Arlington has done everything possible to find points on the offensive side of the ball. Constantly scoring in the teens in games against middling/lackluster teams has worked for them so far. It looks like they will make the playoffs in their division to face Houston in the semifinals, but that may be the ceiling for this team. Hellacious defense, though!
Jesse: San Antonio Brahmas
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Their offense has been almost as bad as Arlington, with the 34-point performance against Orlando being the only real difference between the two units. Jack Coan, who against Orlando looked like the guy, was benched in favor of Reid Sinnett for this game. Coan ended up finishing the game after an injury to Sinnett, but there was no noticeable difference to this team. While San Antonio also boasts a stout defense, their lack of offensive output is what’s landed them here.
Drew: San Antonio Brahmas
The Brahmas are a sad story this season, unfortunately. They have been SO close to breaking out and being a complete team, but it was not to be. They even changed quarterbacks, only for Reid Sinnett to end up injured in the first half of his first start. With no offensive production, the defense tends to falter in the third and fourth quarters. It seems their story is written.
Jesse: Orlando Guardians
Not sure what else can be said about this team. They seem to have found their quarterback after Quinten Dormady came in the second quarter. Maybe if they don’t wait until they are down by 10 to make the switch we are speaking differently about this game. However, even if Dormady is the guy, this team still has a ton of issues. The worst defense in the league, more turnovers than everyone except Seattle, and an offensive line that is an absolute mess have ensured that Orlando is the only team that has occupied the same spot every week since power rankings have come out.
Drew: Orlando Guardians
Oh, how the turn tables! QB Quentin Dormady is carving out a path to Comeback Player of the Year, and that shouldn’t be possible considering the XFL hasn’t been around for more than a season yet. From being suspected of traitorous play-leaking to other teams, to being reinstated by the league after investigations and leading Orlando to their best offensive performance of the year in his first start, Orlando may actually lift themselves from the bottom of everyone’s power rankings before the season’s end after all!