XFL 2020: Biggest Week 2 storylines, including debut of Landry Jones and one game that could be a thriller
The Renegades were missing something in their opener, so will Jones provide a spark? Plus more to watch for
Now that we've seen all eight teams in action, we're starting to get a feel for how the XFL looks. The league got through its first week with all excitement and none of the drama -- great success! Of course, there's still an entire season to be played, but there is already a dividing line of teams that could compete for a championship and teams that have some work to do.
Week 2 is here, and while it may not have the initial hype of the XFL's first weekend, it does have plenty of storylines to follow. From Landry Jones' debut to a must-see Sunday evening game, there's already a lot to follow. Here's what to watch for as Week 2 of the XFL 2020 kicks off on Saturday.
It's Landry Jones time for the Renegades
Coach Bob Stoops made theand it's a welcome moment for the Dallas Renegades. Philip Nelson certainly wasn't terrible in the Week 1 loss to St. Louis, but he was unable to push the ball vertically, and the Renegades were ineffective on both third down and in the red zone. The Jones-Stoops reunion from their Oklahoma days was one of the major storylines for the XFL when the teams drafted their quarterbacks last year. With so few big names at any position, having Jones able to play is not only big for Dallas, but the league as a whole. Now the question for Jones, who is coming off a knee injury and last played in a pro football game in 2017, is how he looks. His first opponent will be Los Angeles, which allowed 37 points in its Week 1 loss to Houston and on Monday. Certainly, Jones and coordinator Hal Mumme can kick-start this offense, right?
St. Louis at Houston should be the game of the week
And, dare I say, a preview of the championship game in April? OK, OK, too bold. Bring it back. Still, Houston looks awfully fun with quarterback P.J. Walker and a pack of solid wide receivers. St. Louis had an excellent defensive game plan against Dallas last Sunday, but Philip Nelson doesn't exactly strike fear into anyone's heart. How will the BattleHawks fare against a Houston offense that, frankly, looks like it's on another level? Going pass-happy with June Jones may, in fact, be the key to this XFL thing. We'll see, but don't put it past St. Louis to try to possess the ball and shorten the game with its ground attack, which includes quarterback Jordan Ta'amu. This should be a fun one and the only thing that stinks is that someone has to lose. Hopefully, this game ushers in the XFL's new overtime rules.
Can the Guardians' defense repeat against the Defenders?
You would think a game between the Guardians and Defenders would be a surefire play for the under (get it?). Anyway, there will be a lot of eyeballs on New York's defense against a talented DC offense Saturday. The Guardians of the Gridiron gave up all of three points to Tampa Bay in Week 1 and forced three turnovers. However, it's not like the offense did amazing, either. DC has some legit receiving threats with Eli Rogers and Rashad Ross, and quarterback Cardale Jones can sling it. The Guardians may have to keep this thing close with defense to have a shot at pulling the upset. But that defense also may be for real.
Will Tampa Bay's offense find an answer?
I don't think I'm overreacting to Week 1 here, but taking Seattle straight up as a 2.5-point home dog against Tampa Bay seems like the best bet of the weekend, right? The Vipers have to find an answer at quarterback after Aaron Murray tossed two interceptions (and fumbled away another turnover) against New York. Quinton Flowers looked decent in limited action, but it remains to be seen if he can carry the offense. This will also be the second straight long road trip for Tampa -- and on a short week, no less. Meanwhile, the Dragons didn't look terrible in their loss to DC and Brandon Silvers' two interceptions were more of a result of wide receivers slipping or not being on the same page. This one could be a rock fight, but it felt like Seattle showed more in their Week 1 loss than Tampa did. Remember, too, that the Vipers were the preseason favorite by bookmakers to win the most regular-season games. An 0-2 start would be rough.
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