Welcome back to football season, ladies and gentlemen. Yes, you heard us right. The NFL wrapped up on Sunday with a little something called the Super Bowl, but the XFL is just getting started. Vince McMahon's spring league, back after almost 20 years, kicks off on Saturday with a full slate of action from its eight all-new teams, which are representing both coasts and plenty more, including some of the NFL's biggest markets.
There's still some time to catch up on XFL rules and expectations, as well as familiarize yourself with all the team rosters, but once you're ready to look ahead to the first games on the schedule, well, we're ready to predict them for you!
No one has ever seen any of these XFL teams play before. But since that didn't stop us from ranking all of them anyway, we might as well forecast what's going to go down during opening weekend, complete with picks against the William Hill spreads:
Seattle Dragons at DC Defenders
Saturday, 2 p.m. ET (ABC)
Point spread: Defenders -7
There's a reason coach Jim Zorn cautiously suggested his team isn't as big or as fast as the other teams. As promising as former AAF prospect Brandon Silvers might be at QB, Seattle has little else going for it. And that's not even mentioning the Defenders, who will be at home with more than a handful of NFL-caliber starters, including QB Cardale Jones and veteran presence Matt Elam. Maybe Zorn's offense flashes, but it's hard to see this one getting away from Pep Hamilton's squad.
Prediction: Defenders 24, Dragons 9
Los Angeles Wildcats at Houston Roughnecks
Saturday, 5 p.m. ET (Fox, fuboTV)
Point spread: Roughnecks -5.5
The Wildcats should be the better team in the long run. They're in sync organizationally when it comes to building around the defense, and that sets them apart from most of the other franchises. In Week 1, though? It's a tall task to travel across the country and then take on an experienced head coach in June Jones. No one should be fawning over Jones' playmakers, but someone like Kony Ealy, on the other side of the ball, could easily help Houston wreck a game to open the year.
Prediction: Roughnecks 18, Wildcats 17
Tampa Bay Vipers at New York Guardians
Sunday, 2 p.m. ET (Fox, fuboTV)
Point spread: Vipers -2.5
The oddsmakers love Tampa to finish atop the league, but they smartly kept this line pretty close. The Guardians, after all, will benefit from sticking around MetLife Stadium for their opener. And there have been some positive reviews of Matt McGloin's work at QB flowing out of the Big Apple. Still, Marc Trestman is bound to get creative with his own combo of QBs and utility players right off the bat. Even without speed threat Antonio Callaway, they should get the road win.
Prediction: Vipers 26, Guardians 19
St. Louis BattleHawks at Dallas Renegades
Sunday, 5 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Point spread: Renegades -10
Jordan Ta'amu might be a name to watch; the former Ole Miss QB will be making his first-ever pro football start against the Renegades. And his BattleHawks aren't completely devoid of role players, with RB Matt Jones and WR Carlton Agudosi among possible playmakers. But Dallas has maybe the most accomplished coach in the league in Bob Stoops. They'll be ready to go, especially in front of their home crowd.
Prediction: Renegades 31, BattleHawks 16