XFL Power Rankings, Week 3: New York Guardians plummet as DC Defenders maintain top spot

Believe it or not, the inaugural season of the revived XFL is already 20 percent complete. And after the first two weeks of the spring league's 10-week schedule, we've already got a pretty solid picture of which teams might be strong enough to make a serious run.

The DC Defenders, for example, have now opened two straight Saturdays with dominant performances, and their quarterback, Cardale Jones, has become something of an early XFL sensation, remaining undefeated as a starter since college and eliciting "MVP" chants in the nation's capital. Barring an unforeseen explosion from another team -- other than, say, June Jones' Houston Roughnecks -- it's already hard not to envision the Defenders rolling their way toward a potential XFL title. (And, as a bonus, they're actually pretty darn fun to watch.)

That's why, for the third straight week, DC sits atop our XFL Power Rankings. Not everyone stuck to the same position, though, with one big-market team, in particular, taking a significant dive down in the pecking order (CBS Sports' XFL coverage is here for you; we've got individual stat leaders through Week 2, standings, five key numbers that stand out and much more).

1. DC Defenders (2-0)

Cardale Jones is the real deal. So are his receivers. Between Eli Rogers, Rashad Ross and DeAndre Thompkins, DC might boast the league's top trio of speed threats. And that's not even mentioning the -- wait for it -- Defenders. If you thought I was joking about the quantity of NFL-caliber starters on their "D" back in Week 1, well, just take a look at the highlights from their first two games. Have their opponents been great? No. But that doesn't matter. They've capitalized. And veterans like Rahim Moore and Matt Elam bring such invaluable instincts to the back end. Again, if you're going to bet on one team, it should be Pep Hamilton's.

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2. Houston Roughnecks (2-0)

The Roughnecks may be in the same spot as they were a week ago, but that shouldn't stop you from believing in them as contenders. Yes, they almost squandered a big lead in Week 2. But as long as P.J. Walker is playing quarterback for them, they have a chance. The guy may not be as steady as Jones, but he's the type of athlete who can win you a game on any given play. Seriously; he's been that good, and June Jones' insistence on keeping his arm live only helps. They also have an underrated pass rush.

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3. St. Louis BattleHawks (1-1)

Don't look now, but Jordan Ta'amu might be #good. Despite never starting a single professional game before the BattleHawks' opener, he's been the most accurate passer of the XFL. He's also been productive on the ground, where former Washington Redskins starter Matt Jones has been pacing the league in carries. The main (only?) reason they're not higher is because of P.J. Walker in Houston.

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4. Seattle Dragons (1-1)

You'd be better off not relying on Jim Zorn to scheme up some aggressive game plan and turn QB Brandon Silvers into something he's not. But Seattle has just enough offensive talent to break off a big play or two, and the Dragons' defense is quietly pretty solid. They struggled to contain DC late in Week 1, but the Defenders are on another level, and then in Week 2, it was quite literally the "D" that lifted them in a tight contest with Tampa Bay. Their sack and interception percentages are on the upper end of the XFL.

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5. Dallas Renegades (1-1)

You know who didn't look like he was in pro football shape this past weekend? Landry Jones. Yes, the former Pittsburgh Steelers QB got a "W" in his anticipated debut under Bob Stoops, and yes, he had a few nice "zip" throws. But through two weeks, Stoops' squad doesn't look nearly as prepared as it could be. Maybe things will change in time.

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6. Los Angeles Wildcats (0-2)

Is Winston Moss satisfied that he ousted Pepper Johnson as defensive coordinator? Wonder if, a few weeks down the road, he'll be calling Pepper to talk about a reunion. In all seriousness, the longer Josh Johnson settles in at QB, the better they should be. But the early returns are not promising.

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7. New York Guardians (1-1)

Unless Kevin Gilbride pulls the plug on Matt McGloin ASAP, it's hard to buy into this team. New York looked like a potential defensive powerhouse in Week 1, but in retrospect, that performance was probably more a product of Tampa Bay simply being awful. McGloin obviously isn't the only issue here. The offensive line and play-calling leave a lot to be desired. But he looked like the furthest thing from the solution in Week 2. At least consider promoting the more mobile Marquise Williams to extend plays?

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8. Tampa Bay Vipers (0-2)

Aaron Murray. Quinton Flowers. Taylor Cornelius. Other Unnamed Quarterback. It doesn't really matter who's under center for the Vipers if Marc Trestman can't figure out how to call a red-zone drive. Beginning to think it wasn't just Antonio Callaway's preseason injury that derailed Tampa's season before it got started.

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CBS Sports Writer

Cody Benjamin joined CBS Sports in 2017 after time spent with SB Nation, various newspapers and his own Eagles outlet. Raised around the Philly sports scene, he now lives in Minnesota with his wife and... Full Bio

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