The First Quarter – Week 4
By: Connor Lenahan
We’ve now reached the end of the first quarter of the XFL season and the man who leads the league in scoring has the best beard of anyone currently fighting the Civil War. Yes indeed, Andrew Luck, the pride of the Washington Senators, is leading all players by a fairly large margin. Seriously, Cary was brilliant to snag Luck when he did. The guy is averaging 527.5 points a game, also known as holy shit that’s a lot of points.
We also are starting to find out which teams may or may not make the playoffs. Today we will pull up the current projected match ups and how likely they are to stick.
In the Playoffs
#1 Minnesota Buzzsaws (4-0) vs. #8 Waverly Chargers (2-2)
#2 Houston Extreme (4-0) vs. #7 Pittsburgh Spikes (2-2)
#3 Green Bay Blizzard (3-1) vs. #6 Denver Blaze (2-2)
#4 Seattle Rage (3-1) vs. #5 Oklahoma City Lions (2-2)
As of right now this looks to be a crazily fun playoff picture. Minnesota leads the way for all teams in the league thanks to a couple of monster games including last week’s 1565-1400 defeat of Washington. Minnesota has a three headed running attack of Matt Forte, Lamar Miller, and CJ Spiller with the dynamic Antonio Brown to boot. They could be terrifying if Tom Brady figures out what’s wrong.
Houston continued to march along with their balanced attack. At this moment they have more than a surplus at QB with two top ten scorers in Colin Kaepernick and Jay Cutler. It might be a smart play to flip one for injury insurance as both DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart are injured. Other than that this team continues to grind away opponents with solid play across the board. It isn’t flashy, but it gets the job done.
Green Bay benefitted from Philadelphia accidentally not playing a quarterback this week on the way to their third straight win. The bye week toll of both Emmanuel Sanders and AJ Green did not stop the Blizzard and now they’re back with Julio Jones to continue instilling nightmares in the minds of opponents. This team is terrifying.
Seattle lost their first game thanks to a few poor performances. An unexpectedly amazing Joe Flacco game actually would have flipped Houston and Seattle’s seedings here. A return to form seems all but guaranteed for the Rage. There is simply too much talent and opportunity for this team not to continue to hold a top spot this season.
Oklahoma, meanwhile, hates Frank Gore. Andrew is a Philadelphia Eagles fan that had to watch as Frank Gore took a machete to the defense of the Eagles while racking up 430 points. Still, more great performances from Drew Brees and DeMarco Murray while backfield mate Giovani Bernard keeps optimism in OKC high.
Denver dropped a game during Peyton Manning’s bye week. That is far from surprising. It did show some of the weaknesses of the roster however with Jeremy Kerley and Eric Decker looked fairly bad, combining for 100. Might be rough going for the Denver wideouts for a while.
Pittsburgh somehow won with enough bye losses that Jacquizz Rodgers was forced to start. There is a lot to like about a team playing a patchwork roster and pulling off a victory. Now the majority of the byes are finished and the team can get back to working.
Last but not least is Waverly who by all means had a good week but dropped a close decision to New York. The revelation for this team has not been Donald Brown as previously thought/hoped, but Jerick McKinnon who stands to potentially be a game breaking athlete. If he can keep doing what he did this past week – 235 points – then this could be great.
Fighting to Make the Playoffs
Miami Typhoons (2-2), Chicago Hitmen (2-2), Las Vegas High Rollers (1-3), Kansas City Killers (1-3), New Orleans Tigers (1-3), Washington Senators (1-3), New York Titans (1-3), Philadelphia Panthers (1-3)
This group ranges from those that have potential to make a run to those that look to be in trouble going forward. Let’s first deal with Miami who has the everlasting issue of Cole not changing his lineup. I’d like to take this moment to point out Miami actually won this week while Andre Ellington and Jermaine Gresham were on bye. He needs to look at his team more frequently to have any real chance this year. That’s not terribly complicated.
Chicago looks to be in real trouble coming off the Adrian Peterson scandal. Ever since the team has been struggling due to the construct of the team. He just doesn’t have high enough scoring around them to really make that much of a push. I’d love to be wrong about this – any time a former champion can make a run it’s more fun – but Jason looks like he’s in trouble.
Las Vegas has an otherworldly combo of Nick Foles and Le’Veon Bell at the top of the lineup. Everywhere else looks uncertain. Bishop Sankey could prove to be heavily talented and Demaryius Thomas could explode again. But until that happens the future looks cloudy in Sin City.
Kansas City is Kansas City. We have covered their ability to curse players a few times now. How LeSean McCoy has fallen off like this is normally incomprehensible. But Dan is Dan. These things happen.
New Orleans has some really exciting players in Dez Bryant and Jimmy Graham and a trio of young arms in Kirk Cousins, Blake Bortles, and Teddy Bridgewater. This could turn around fairly soon. Papa Bruzzano just needs some good luck from a fairly talented supporting cast.
Washington is legitimately a trade or two away from being great. The running back situation right now of Pierre Thomas and Dexter McCluster is atrocious. This can be salvaged, as Cary has Andrew Luck, Roddy White, and Randall Cobb around, but it needs a shot in the arm ASAP.
New York may have found a way to save their year. By trading to get the running back corps of Chris Ivory and Ahmad Bradshaw they solve the issues of the injury plagued Doug Martin and Knowshon Moreno. Add in the return of some injured wide receivers like Cecil Shorts III and the reemergence of Devin Hester as an animal and things suddenly look great for this squad.
Finally we come to the otherworldly unlucky Philadelphia Panthers who had their amazing backfield hit snag after snag. Jamaal Charles and Eddie Lacy have yet to explode like we thought they would. If they do then the season changes dramatically. If not, then this team might be on life support.