The NFL season may be over but there's more football to be played as the XFL is set to kick off this weekend. Week 1 of the relaunched version of Vince McMahon's professional football league features a pair of games on Saturday and Sunday.
While no one is really sure what to expect from the eight-team league, those who remember the short-lived Alliance of American Football (AAF) can recall the early success that league had in its opening week around this time last year. With stronger finances, infrastructure, and, perhaps most important of all, media partners (this week's games will be televised by ABC, ESPN, and FOX), already in place, McMahon and commissioner Oliver Luck are hoping the new-look XFL has more staying power than the AAF.
Those who plan on tuning in Saturday for the XFL's opening game will see the Seattle Dragons take on the DC Defenders. This game in our nation's capital will be played at Audi Field, which is home to Major League Soccer's D.C. United, but it's not like the NFL hasn't gone this route already. Hopefully, the Defenders will enjoy a friendlier home atmosphere than the Chargers did this past season out in Los Angeles.
Speaking of Los Angeles, the Wildcats will be in Houston to face the Roughnecks for the second half of Saturday's doubleheader. On Sunday, the opening game has the Tampa Bay Vipers matching up with the New York Guardians at MetLife Stadium, followed by the Dallas Renegades hosting the St. Louis BattleHawks. The Renegades have been tabbed the early favorite in the XFL with former Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops calling the shots on the field and in the front office (as GM) and with his former quarterback, Landry Jones, at the helm on offense. Jones, who was a fourth-round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2013 and spent five seasons with the team (3-2 as the starter), may not be able to play on Sunday due to a knee injury.
So which teams will come out on top in the XFL's opening week? Athlon's own Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven), Mark Ross (AthlonMarkR), and Ben Weinrib (@benweinrib) predict the winners for every game this week: