We're now three weeks into the revived XFL's inaugural season, and while Weeks 1 and 2 seemed to separate a couple of contenders from the rest of the pack, this past weekend's action threw a bunch of storylines into question.
As we approach Week 4, here are five key numbers to know -- five stats that help paint the picture of the season as it stands (and be sure to check outthrough Week 3):
The number of road wins by the Dallas Renegades
When Landry Jones is starting at quarterback, the Renegades are 2-0. The rest of the XFL, by the way, is a combined 2-8 on the road. Are we dealing with an incredibly small sample size? Yes. Do these numbers mean Dallas is for real? Not necessarily. But they're not nothing. Bob Stoops' squad looked fairly unprepared for its first 1.5 games of the season, but since then, it's been hard to find a team that's been more efficient. Now might be a good time to buy the Renegades as sleepers.
The average number of weekly touchdown catches by Cam Phillips
The Virginia Tech product has seven scores through three games with the Roughnecks, and he probably doesn't get nearly as much love as he should. That's mostly because he's catching passes from the most electrifying talent in the XFL, but if you're looking for great stories early in the 2020 season, he should qualify. On and off the Buffalo Bills' roster in 2018, out of football in 2019, and now Phillips looks like a legitimate NFL-caliber target, not only with his deep speed but his toe tapping and route running. He's also a huge reason Houston has put up points like no one's business. Speaking of which ...
The margin of points per game between the Houston Roughnecks and New York Guardians
In other words, Houston is averaging at least three more touchdowns than the Guardians per week. What does that mean? For one, Houston is easily the XFL's most entertaining team, averaging 33 points per game with MVP frontrunner P.J. Walker under center. For another thing, the Guardians offense is absolute trash. (Harsh words? Perhaps, but would their fans really disagree?) If nothing else, this margin makes clear there's a disparity in the league's talent, even with only eight teams rounding out the standings.
The percentage of passes completed by Cardale Jones
If this number seems lower than expected, well, you're probably not alone. But it paints a painfully clear picture of what's been lying beneath the surface in DC's offense: Jones' tendency to force passes when plays don't unfold as planned. The former Ohio State standout opened the year with two strong performances, and he's got more than enough moxie to right the ship after a horrific four-turnover outing on Sunday, but the dangerous throws have been lurking since Opening Day. He needs to be smarter.
Josh Johnson's QB rating through two starts
Not long ago, we were all declaring the Los Angeles Wildcats dead in the water. What team fires its defensive coordinator after one game, trades away its best defensive player and then goes on to blow out the XFL's most well-rounded roster a few weeks later? Turns out Johnson, a longtime NFL backup, still has enough talent to elevate those around him, because while Cardale Jones' picks helped L.A. a lot in Week 3, the Wildcats have looked surprisingly competent since their QB settled in. Sleeper alert!