XFL Week 2: LA Wildcats get on the board and Houston Roughnecks win again

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Kieran Harm
Football and NFL Writer. Specialising in the Premier League and Bundesliga

Week 2 of the XFL will take place over the coming weekend as the LA Wildcats host the Dallas Renegades and the St Louis Battlehawks travel to Texas to take on the Houston Roughnecks.

Yesterday, we brought you our preview for the games on Saturday, which you can read here. Today, we’re focusing on Sunday’s matchups.

Dallas Renegades @ Los Angeles Wildcats 3pm ET/8pm GMT

In week one, Dallas Renegades were the only home team to lose as they fell 15-9 to the St Louis Battlehawks. During the game, they leaned heavily on their passing game, but Philip Nelson managed failed to impact the game too much and finished with a passer rating of 77.5.

READ MORE: XFL Week 2 – DC Defenders to keep winning and Seattle Dragons to bounce back

Nelson threw 23 successful passes from 39 attempts for a total of 199 yards, an average of 5.0 yards per attempt. He didn’t manage any scores but did throw up one pick.

Dallas also struggled to get their run game going too as Lance Dunbar, who was their busiest running-back in week one, had just five attempts for 27 yards – 20 of which came from one play.

In week 2, Dallas are traveling to the City of Angels to take on the Wildcats, who also lost in week one. LA played Houston in the opening week of the season and suffered a 37-17 defeat at the hands of PJ Walker and his teammates.

During the game the Wildcats showed their ability to make plays on offence, both through the air and on the ground. Quarterback Chad Kanoff threw 21 from 40, for 200 yards and one touchdown, as well as one interception.

Kanoff was also prominent in the running game too with four attempts, 21 yards and a touchdown – showing he has the ability to scramble when necessary.

Running back Elijah Hood managed 43 yards from 12 rushing attempts, averaging 3.6 yards per carry – he also became the first player in the XFL to send a guy back to school with a running leap!

Defensively, they struggled to deal with the arm of PJ Walker who threw for four touchdowns during the game to give his team an unassailable lead.

They struggled on D so much that the Wildcats became the first team to get rid of a coordinator, firing DC Pepper Johnson the day after the game. Weirdly, they also seemingly released LB and team captain Anthony Johnson as he simply tweeted “Free Agent” on Monday.

This week, the Wildcats will play for the first time in Los Angeles as they take up residency at the Dignity Health Sports Park (StubHub Centre), the current home of the LA Chargers and MLS franchise LA Galaxy.

Prediction: Because of that last fact, and the fact LA have a decent offence, I think the Wildcats will have the edge over Dallas this week. The Renegades struggled in their own back yard against St Louis who managed to pose a threat on the ground and through the air.

Given that LA have the ability to offer a dual threat on offence too, and they’re playing in California, I think the Renegades will struggle defensively and finish the weekend 0-2. My score prediction is 22-12 for the Wildcats.

St Louis Battlehawks @ Houston Roughnecks – 6pm ET/11pm GMT

Obviously, just as the Dallas Renegades were the only home team to win in week one of the XFL, St Louis Battlehawks were the only road team to pick up a win.

Quarterback Jordan Ta’amu showed his skill as a dual threat running back – highlighted with a brilliant 37 yard run to put his team into the red zone in what would become a TD scoring drive. Ta’amu managed 77 yards from his 9 rushing attempts – an average of 8.6 yards per carry.

Ta’amu was second in rushing only to running back Matt Jones who picked up 85 yards from his 21 carries, averaging 4.0 yard per carry. They did manage a touchdown as a rushing unit but it was neither Ta’amu or Jones who provided it, it was in fact Keith Ford – the former Green Bay Packer and Indianapolis Colt.

St Louis Battlehawks and XFL quarterback Jordan Ta'amu
Jordan Ta’amu was a standout performer in week one as he led his team to their first ever win in the XFL

Jordan Ta’amu wasn’t too shabby through the air too in week one, throwing 20/27 for 183 yards and one touchdown. He enjoyed a passer rating of 108.4 in week one, higher than standout star of the opening weekend PJ Walker – whom he will go toe-to-toe with in week 2.

Walker’s Roughnecks team were probably the most impressive offensive unit in week one, thanks mostly to the play of the man himself – PJ Walker. The former Indianapolis Colt has been compared to NFL MVP Lamar Jackson with his playing style, and you can see why.

He’s a man capable of show-stopping moments, and produced one-or-two in the game against LA in week one – including a 50 yard touchdown pass to Cam Phillips on the opening drive of the game.

Walker threw 23/39 for 265 yards and four touchdowns – making him the leagues most productive rock-slinger in the opening weekend. Can he keep that up against the Battlehawks? Well, he’ll certainly face a tougher test.

Houston Roughnecks QB PJ Walker
Houston Rougnecks quarterback PJ Walker was brilliant in week one, can he carry it over to Sunday’s game?

The Battlehawks shut the Renegades down in week one, not allowing any touchdowns at all. The only player to score any points at all in week one for Dallas against St Louis was kicker Austin MacGinnis.

Therefore, Walker will be tested a lot more this week than he was last, and we should get to see a good indication of where he is as a quarterback when St Louis come to town on Sunday evening.

Prediction: I can see this being a very good game actually and have earmarked it as the game of the weekend. Both quarterbacks are going to have a lot of eyes on them this week and need to step up – so it has every chance to be a little bit of a shootout.

My prediction is that, with home field advantage, PJ Walker will lead his side to victory once more. I’m thinking he could reach the 30 point mark once more but will have a little more pressure and win a close one. I’m going for 34-31 in favour of the Roughnecks.

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