The XFL turned heads again in Week 2
After the XFL took the football world by surprise in Week 1, everyone was excited with anticipation for Week 2. And while the second week didn't overshadow the first, we still saw plenty of exciting football. In the end, 76,303 fans bought tickets to see the action, a total of 148 points were scored, and all four games had some entertaining and exciting moments. Here are the latest XFL Power Rankings.
Post-Week 2 XFL Power Rankings
1. DC Defenders (2-0)
Last week: 3
The Defenders got Week 2 started with a dominant 27-0 win over the New York Guardians. Quarterback Cardale Jones once again looked flawless under center (23-of-37, 276 yards, 2 TDs). Running back Donell Pumphrey also made his presence felt (17 combined touches, 78 total yards), and DC's defense (3 sacks, 3 takeaways, TD) made sure that the Defenders became the first team to pitch a shutout this season. The Defenders are a complete team and they'll be hard to stop moving forward.
2. Houston Roughnecks (2-0)
Last week: 2
The Roughnecks got a pretty stiff challenge from St. Louis on Sunday night, but they hung on for a 28-24 win. Quarterback P.J. Walker (20-of-31, 170 yards, 3 TDs, 27 rushing yards) made some highlight-reel plays again with Cam Phillips (8 receptions, 63 yards, 3 TDs) getting in on the act, and the Roughnecks defense (3 sacks, 2 interceptions) stood its ground once again. The Roughnecks and Defenders are the only unbeaten teams remaining.
3. St. Louis BattleHawks (1-1)
Last week: 4
Despite falling short in Houston on Sunday, the BattleHawks overcame a 21-6 halftime deficit to outscore the Roughnecks 18-7 in the final two quarters. Quarterback Jordan Ta'amu (316 total yards, 4 total TDs against Houston) just might be the most consistent and efficient quarterback in the XFL (50-of-64, 85 percent completion rate, 493 passing yards, 4 TD passes, 103.2 passer rating).
4. Seattle Dragons (1-1)
Last week: 5
On Saturday, the Dragons picked up their first win of the season in front of the largest XFL crowd (29,172) thus far. Thanks to some key catches from former Navy quarterback-turned wide receiver Keenan Reynolds (8 receptions, 87 yards, TD) and some big plays (5 sacks, 3 interceptions, TD) on defense, Seattle defeated Tampa Bay 17-9.
5. Dallas Renegades (1-1)
Last week: 6
The Renegades welcomed starting quarterback Landry Jones back and he helped pace the offense with 305 passing yards and a touchdown. Cameron Artis-Payne added 99 rushing yards and two scores as Dallas defeated the Los Angeles Wildcats, 25-18.
6. New York Guardians (1-1)
Last week: 1
What a difference a week makes. After holding Tampa Bay to just a single field goal and wreaking havoc on defense in Week 1, the Guardians were shut out 27-0 on the road by the DC Defenders. Quarterback Matt McGloin (8-of-19, 44 yards, 2 interceptions) was eventually benched in favor of Marquise Williams, who didn't fare any better (4-of-8, 51 yards, sacked twice), and the defense surrendered 384 total yards. It's back to the drawing board for the Guardians.
7. Los Angeles Wildcats (0-2)
Last week: 7
Despite falling short against Dallas, the Wildcats showed some improvement in Week 2. Quarterback Josh Johnson had his moments in his XFL debut, hooking up with wide receiver Nelson Spruce for a pair of touchdowns in a losing effort.
8. Tampa Bay Vipers (0-2)
Last week: 8
The Vipers' offensive struggles continued, as they managed just nine points despite outgaining Seattle (289-199) in a 17-9 road loss. The offense has yet to score a touchdown due to shaky quarterback play (5 interceptions, 9 sacks taken). The defense gave up just one offensive TD to the Dragons, but the offense has to find a way to put more scoring drives together or it will be a long season for head Marc Trestman.
Post-Week 1 XFL Power Rankings
1. New York Guardians
They're arguably league's top defensive unit after dominating Tampa Bay 23-3 during opening weekend. They held the Vipers to a lone field goal, stopped them at the goal line on four occasions, collected a league-high five sacks, and scored a defensive touchdown for good measure. And while quarterback Matt McGloin's numbers weren't spectacular (15-of-29, 182 yards, TD), he was efficient and took care of the football. You couldn't have asked for a much better team effort in Week 1.
2. Houston Roughnecks
While "Star of the Week" nominee P.J. Walker stole the show with his performance (298 total yards, 4 TD passes), the Roughnecks defense also came to play. They held the Los Angeles Wildcats scoreless in the second half, posted 10 quarterback hits, 11 pass deflections (leads XFL in both categories), eight tackles for a loss (second), and made their own case for being the league's top defense. The Roughnecks also overcame an early eight-point deficit to take home the win.
3. DC Defenders
They kicked off the season with a 31-19 win over Seattle which proved to be the most entertaining game of Week 1. The near sell-out crowd mixed with the highlight-reel plays made for solid television ratings. Quarterback Cardale Jones (16-of-26, 62 percent, 235 yards, 2 TDs, 116.7 passer rating) guided Pep Hamilton's offense with ease and impressed many in the process. It must also be noted that the Defenders trailed at halftime but outscored Seattle 19-6 in the second half.
4. St. Louis BattleHawks
BattleHawks quarterback Jordan Ta'amu (286 total yards) is also up for "Star of the Week" after he led St. Louis to victory over Dallas this past Sunday. They won with just enough but efficient offense, plenty of defense, and the fans back home responded in kind as the St. Louis market posted a 7.4 television rating. The game itself attracted almost 2.5 million viewers.
5. Seattle Dragons
Out of all of the losing teams in Week 1, the Dragons had the best performance. They scored the most points (19) out of the group, gained the second most offensive yards (310), and they led the Defenders at halftime.
6. Dallas Renegades
In the preseason Power Rankings, I had Dallas at No. 1 based on both their potential and on the team that they had on paper. But the BattleHawks limited the Renegades offense (with the legendary Hal Mumme as coordinator) to three field goals, while the Renegades had no answer for St. Louis quarterback Jordan Ta'amu, who completed 74 percent of his passes. Bob Stoops' debut in the pro ranks wasn't a good one and the Renegades need to improve on both sides of the ball.
7. Los Angeles Wildcats
I picked the Wildcats to win their opener at Houston mostly because of their defense. But in reality, their defense was the main culprit in their 20-point defeat. So much so that head coach/GM Winston Moss has already fired defensive coordinator Pepper Johnson.
8. Tampa Bay Vipers
Before playing New York I had the Vipers second in the Power Rankings. I made this decision based on the stockpile of offensive talent that the Vipers acquired during the preseason. But after playing New York they have dropped down to the bottom because of their inability to put points on the board. Sure the Vipers moved the ball (394 total yards, 5.5 per play) against the Guardians, but they managed a single field goal in five trips to the red zone, and committed three turnovers (one of which went for a defensive touchdown). Marc Trestman is known for his offensive acumen and the Vipers certainly need to find it before their next game.
Preseason Power Rankings
1. Dallas Renegades
The Renegades have generated the most preseason hype over these last few months. It started when they hired Bob Stoops, the former Oklahoma Sooners head coach, to lead this franchise as head coach and general manager. The hope is that the success he generated at Oklahoma will translate over to the XFL.
2. Tampa Bay Vipers
Some oddsmakers are taking the over on the Vipers winning seven games this season, and for good reason. The team has acquired a total of 14 players from Florida colleges and has plenty of firepower on offense.
3. DC Defenders
This is the first head coaching position for noted offensive mind Pep Hamilton. Hamilton brings more than 20 years of experience to the Defenders, and with former Ohio State quarterback legend Cardale Jones.
4. New York Guardians
It's hard to count out a team that's coached by a Super Bowl winner, and that's exactly what the Guardians have in Kevin Gilbride. The two-time Super Bowl winner during his time as offensive coordinator for the New York Giants will now try and find success with former Penn State and Oakland Raiders quarterback Matt McGloin as his starting quarterback.
5. Los Angeles Wildcats
There's no doubt that head coach/GM Winston Moss has put together quite a talented roster for the XFL's second L.A. franchise. But as the league's only defensive-minded head coach, he'll have to win potential chess matches against seven of the top offensive minds in this game.
6. Houston Roughnecks
Any team coached by June Jones is bound to put up a ton of points on offense. Defense, however, is usually the concern. During his last two seasons at SMU, Jones' defensive units gave up 30 or more points in 11 of 22 games. Hopefully the roster he's assembled with the Roughnecks can get the job done.
7. St. Louis BattleHawks
Head coach/GM Jonathan Hayes learned from one of the best in former longtime Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. Hayes and the BattleHawks will be tasked with restoring and rallying a disenfranchised fan base that has seen their hearts get broken by two NFL franchises (Rams and Cardinals).
8. Seattle Dragons
As Jim Zorn looks to give Seattle another successful pro football franchise, the odds aren't in his favor. The Dragons are projected to win just three games this season with question marks surrounding the quarterback position.
— Gabe Salgado is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. He's also written for NBC, Fox, The Sporting News, The Sports Journal, The Undefeated and Complex. He's a co-host of The Rewind Sports: 60. Follow him on Twitter @GabeSalgado82.