• Landry Jones, Jordan Ta’amu must step up
  • Matt McGloin doesn’t play well with others
  • XFL defenses must make some stops

A pair of 1-1 teams from each division will battle for second place when the XFL kicks off Feb. 22. The Dallas Renegades travel to Seattle to face the offenseless Seattle Dragons. Meanwhile, The New York Guardians are set to visit St. Louis Feb. 23 to play the Battle Hawks.

Seattle hopes to pick up where it left off last Feb.15 when Kyle Queiro picked off an end-zone pass in the closing seconds to preserve a 17-9 Dragons victory. The defense posted four sacks, a goal-line stand and returned an interception for a touchdown. The crew did a lot of bending in the contest, but didn’t break at key times.

It will be tested this week when quarterback Landry Jones comes to town. The Dallas key player places fourth in the league in quarterback ranking at 79.0 percent. However, he has trouble finding the end zone. Cameron Artis-Payne and Lance Dunbar have run for 174 yards. Artis-Payne had two touchdowns in a 25-10 victory in Los Angeles.

PJ Walkers Houston Roughnecks XFL
P.J. Walker #11 of the Houston Roughnecks runs with the ball during the fourth quarter against the St. Louis Battlehawks at TDECU Stadium on February 16, 2020 in Houston, Texas. Bob Levey/Getty Images

Dallas smothered LA’s run game in that one, but Josh Johnson threw for two scores.

Seattle has done little on offense thus far. Brandon Silvers ranks 10th among 12 passers with a 65.8 percent QB ranking. Kenneth Farrow leads the team with 84 yards rushing. This probably means the offensive line needs to be addressed. Their only bright spots have been former Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds at wide receiver and Austin Proehl, but they only have 11 receptions combined.

The Renegades are favored by 4.5 in this one.

St. Louis plays its first home game Feb. 23. The Battle Hawks gave undefeated Houston all it could handle last week in a 28-24 thriller. Jordan Ta’amu completed 30 passes for 284 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The Roughnecks won the field position battle and didn’t turn the ball over.

Ta’amu will face a defense that has some respectability. Defensive end Bunmi Rotimi already has 17 tackles, including a sack, and Ben Heeney has added 12. Bryce Jones and Andrew Soroh each have an interception.

The question for New York is who will command the offense? Matt McGloin was benched last week. He was heard telling a coach, “he didn’t want to name any names” but the other guys weren’t doing their jobs. McGloin has a 51.2 quarterback ranking. The former NFL quarterback was 8 of 18 when he was benched in the second half, with two interceptions, including one the DC Defenders took all the way to the house.

Some of that is on the offensive line and some on coaching if McGloin wants the job, he’d better man up. Marquise Williams took the rest of the reps.

With the trouble in Gotham City, the Battle Hawks are a nine-point favorite at home.