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XFL Power Rankings: Final Rankings of 2020

The league suspended operations after five weeks.

On March 12, the XFL announced that it was canceling the rest of its regular season. While the league didn't specifically cite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as the reason for the decision, the NBA, MLB, NHL, the NCAA, and many other leagues have suspended operations and canceled games and championship tournaments in response to this global public health threat.

 

But the XFL also stated its commitment "to playing a full season in 2021 and future years." But before we completely close the book on 2020, here are the final power ranking rankings.

 

Final 2020 XFL Power Rankings

 

1. Houston Roughnecks (5-0)

This is a no-brainer seeing as how they are the XFL's only unbeaten team. Led by head coach June Jones and quarterback P.J. Walker (league-best 1,338 passing yards and 15 TDs), the Roughnecks were exciting on offense (led XFL with 21 total touchdowns and 158 total points), owned the league's best pass rush (15 sacks), and were the favorites to win the XFL Championship.

 

2. St. Louis BattleHawks (3-2)

The Gateway to the West was more than happy to have pro football back under The Arch. The BattleHawks would prove to have the league's most passionate fan base as evidenced by the fact that they were the only team to draw more than 25,000 fans in consecutive home games, they were the most popular team on social media (nearly 110,000 Twitter followers), they posted some of the league's top television ratings, and even outdrew the NHL's St. Louis Blues (defending Stanley Cup Champions) at one point. Quarterback Jordan Ta'amu finished third in passing yards (1,050), running back Matt Jones was the XFL's second-leading rusher (314 yards), while Dexter McCoil (36), Terence Garvin (36), and Will Hill (33) all finished in the top 10 in tackles.

 

3. DC Defenders (3-2)

In their three wins, the Defenders were among the league's most exciting teams to watch, especially on offense. In their two losses, however, they were the exact opposite. In the end, Pep Hamilton's squad finished third in rushing (130.2 ypg), quarterback Cardale Jones was sixth in passing yards (674), and DC averaged roughly 16,000 fans per home game.

 

4. New York Guardians (3-2)

Kevin Gilbride's team overcame some early-season struggles to finish second in sacks (13) and fourth in takeaways (8). Quarterback play was an issue for New York although Luis Perez (6.9 ypa, fourth in the league) somewhat stabilized things after taking the reins in Week 4. Darius Victor finished fifth with 238 rushing yards.

 

5. Los Angeles Wildcats (2-3)

After a disastrous season-opening loss at Houston (which quarterback Josh Johnson missed due to injury) that resulted in defensive coordinator Pepper Johnson's dismissal, the Wildcats slowly find their rhythm. Johnson's return served as a catalyst for improvement, as he went on to complete 60 percent of his passes for 1,076 yards and 11 touchdowns (second in both categories). He also led the league in yards per attempt (8.0), and passer rating (106.3), while the defense finished first in takeaways (12) and third in sacks (11).

 

6. Dallas Renegades (2-3)

Bob Stoops' pro head coaching debut could have gone better. His team was unable to win with Philip Nelson at quarterback (0-2 as the starter), couldn't win a home game (0-3), and gave up 57 points in their last two games combined. One bright spot, however, was the fact that quarterback Landry Jones was the XFL's fifth-best passer (784 yards, 5 TDs) before a recurring knee injury forced him to the sidelines.

 

7. Tampa Bay Vipers (1-4)

The Vipers rotated quarterbacks early in the season which didn't bode well for Marc Trestman's pass-oriented offense. He eventually inserted Taylor Cornelius (858 passing yards, 114 rushing yards, 7 total TDs) under center, and handed the play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Jaime Elizondo. Once that happened, the Vipers switched to a run-based attack that led the league in rushing offense (165.6 ypg) as well as total offense (391.8 ypg) while finishing third in scoring offense (19.6 ppg). Unfortunately, the improved offensive production didn't translate into wins.

 

8. Seattle Dragons (1-4)

Jim Zorn had quarterback issues from day one as he used three different players under center in Brandon Silvers, B.J. Daniels, and Keenan Reynolds (combined for just 803 passing yards). The Dragons were dead last in total offense (248.6 ypg), and were sixth in scoring offense (17.4 ppg). Their defense didn't fare much better, placing last in total defense (358.0 ypg) and seventh in scoring defense (23.8 ppg).


 

 

XFL Power Rankings Post-Week 5

 

1. Houston Roughnecks

They are still undefeated after Saturday's win over Seattle, although that game did end in controversy. The Dragons gave the Roughnecks their toughest game to date, and they had leads of 14-0, and 23-14 before Houston ultimately came back. Can June Jones' team keep their perfect record going?

 

2. DC Defenders

What's the best way to break a losing streak? You beat the top team in your division. And that's exactly what DC did on Sunday by holding the St. Louis BattleHawks to their lowest point total (6) of the season. The Defenders pulled off the "upset" the old-school way with a strong rushing attack (229 yards, 4.2 ypc), and a little bit of defense (4 sacks, 7 QB hits, 7 TFLs). DC also may have a new starting quarterback this weekend as Cardale Jones was benched after just two pass attempts (0-for-2, INT), and replaced by Tyree Jackson (9-of-14, 39 yards, TD).

 

3. New York Guardians

Two things here: First, the Guardians finally won a road game with their 30-12 pounding of the Dallas Renegades this past Saturday. Second, the Guardians are now 2-0 with Luis Perez (16-of-30, 229 yards, 7.6 ypa, TD vs Dallas) as the starting quarterback. During these two games the Guardians have outscored their opposition 53-28.

 

4. St. Louis BattleHawks

Despite the loss in DC, the BattleHawks are still a formidable opponent in contention to win the East division. And that division is about to get interesting as St. Louis is part of a three-way tie record-wise for first place with DC and New York.

 

5. Los Angeles Wildcats

After dispatching of Tampa Bay on Sunday night (when they became the first team to score 40 points in a game), the Wildcats have now won two of their last three games, and Josh Johnson continues to be efficient. Johnson, who tossed four touchdown passes against the Vipers, now ranks second in the XFL both passing yards (1,076) and touchdown passes (11), while leading the league in both passer rating (106.3) and yards per attempt (8.0).

 

6. Tampa Bay Vipers

The loss to Los Angeles will sting for a little bit, but this team continues to put it together on offense. The Vipers had their first 30-point game (34) against the Wildcats on Sunday night, they've scored 86 total points over the last three weeks (only L.A. and Houston have scored more during this same stretch), they continue to lead the XFL in rushing (828 total yards, 165.6 ypg), and Taylor Cornelius (704 passing yards and 4 TDs during this span) continues to solidify himself as the Vipers' starting quarterback.

 

7. Dallas Renegades

The Renegades were held to their second-lowest point total of the season (12) in their loss to New York. And as a result they are now 0-2 with Philip Nelson at quarterback, they're 0-3 at home, and next up is a tough road trip to DC.

 

8. Seattle Dragons

While they should have gotten one more play in Houston, the history books will mark this as the Dragons' third straight loss. Not to mention the fact that they blew leads of 14 and nine points against the Roughnecks. But on the positive side, the Dragons' offense looks more efficient with B.J. Daniels (214 passing yards, 94 rushing yards, 3 combined touchdowns since taking over) under center and that's something they can try and build off of.

 

 

 

Post-Week 4 XFL Power Rankings

 

1. Houston Roughnecks

The Roughnecks are still unbeaten after surviving a fierce challenge from Dallas on Sunday afternoon.

 

2. St. Louis BattleHawks

After defeating Seattle on Saturday, the BattleHawks are now atop the East division and own the second-best record in the league.

 

3. Dallas Renegades

Despite falling to the Roughnecks this past weekend, they pushed Houston to their limits. Dallas only lost by seven points, but the bigger concern is that they likely also lost quarterback Landry Jones to a knee injury.

 

4. New York Guardians

It's home, sweet home for the Guardians, who got back on track with their home win over Los Angeles on Saturday. Luis Perez (18-of-26, 150 yards, TD) may have taken over the starting quarterback job after filling in for the injured Matt McGloin. But this team will need to win on the road in order to have success down the stretch.

 

5. Tampa Bay Vipers

Things may finally be turning around for the Vipers. Ever since head coach Marc Trestman passed the play-calling duties on to offensive coordinator Jaime Elizondo, the Vipers have gone over the 20-point mark in each of their last two games (52 total points), and they finally picked up their first win by dismantling a confused DC Defenders team on Sunday night. Against DC, running backs De'Veon Smith and Jacques Patrick became the first players to rush for 100-plus yards in a single game. Smith now leads the XFL in rushing yards (296) while Patrick now ranks third (231).

 

6. DC Defenders

Losers of two straight, the Defenders have been outscored 64-9 during this stretch which doesn't bode well for a team that began the season with plenty of promise and potential.

 

7. Los Angeles Wildcats

Week 3's upset win over DC was short-lived as New York brought them back down to earth in Week 4.

 

8. Seattle Dragons

The Dragons are in the midst of a two-game losing streak, and have yet to score 20 points in a game, following their 23-16 loss in St. Louis. Quarterback play continues to be an issue as Brandon Silvers (4-of-10, 27 yards) was replaced by B.J. Daniels (5-of-10, 100 yards, TD) with wide receiver Keenan Reynolds (1-of-2, 1 yard) also taking some snaps under center for the first time since his last game at Navy back in 2015.

 

 

 

Post-Week 3 XFL Power Rankings

 

1. Houston Roughnecks (3-0)

Can anyone stop the combination of P.J. Walker and Cam Philips? The 34 points they scored against Tampa gave them 30-plus for the second time this season. They are the only XFL team to achieve that thus far, and they're the only undefeated team still standing.

 

2. St. Louis BattleHawks (2-1)

In their 20-point win over New York, the BattleHawks became the first team to return a kick for a touchdown this season. Something that seemed impossible given the kickoff rules. St. Louis is the hottest team in the XFL currently, outside of Houston, having scored 53 points over the last two games. One of the reasons is a defense that has already made a lot of plays (eight sacks, 15 tackles for a loss) behind the line of scrimmage.

 

3. Dallas Renegades (2-1)

Winners of two straight, the Renegades have gotten it done by running the ball (244 rushing yards over the last two games) and with solid defense. Dallas also has been sparked by the return of quarterback Landry Jones, who is fourth in the league in passing (579 yards with four TDs) despite missing the first game due to injury.

 

4. DC Defenders (2-1)

From undefeated to fourth in the Power Rankings. That's what happens after a 30-point loss on Sunday out in Los Angeles. Perhaps the Defenders underestimated the Wildcats, or perhaps we saw what this Los Angeles team is truly capable of. Either way, Pep Hamilton's team has some work to do. DC and St. Louis enter Week 4 tied for first place in the East division.

 

5. Seattle Dragons (1-2)

Despite the loss at home to Dallas, Brandon Silvers is slowly showing improvement (went 21-of-34 for 204 yards and 2 TDs), wide receivers Austin Proehl (12 catches, 168 yards, 3 touchdowns this season), and Keenan Reynolds (9, 129, 1) continue to make plays, and the Dragons rank ahead of both New York and Tampa in total points scored (48).

 

6. Los Angeles Wildcats (1-2)

A 30-point win over the previously undefeated DC Defenders is a great start, now it's up to the Wildcats to play this well in consecutive games. Quarterback Josh Johnson has made the most of his opportunities (61 percent completion rate with 463 yards and five TD passes in two games) as it appears the offense may have found its rhythm.

 

7. New York Guardians (1-2)

This is a team in free fall. Their 20-point season-opening win over Tampa seems like a distant memory at this point. The Guardians have been outscored 56-9 in their last two games as both sides of the ball are struggling mightily right now.

 

8. Tampa Bay Vipers (0-3)

Give the Vipers credit for putting up a fight against Houston (scored 24 points in a seven-point loss), but this team needs to win plain and simple.

 

 

 

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.

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