XFL Week 3 Recap: Bet On It
Week 3 of the XFL season begins the process of separating the contenders from the pretenders
Whether it's the NFL, the CFL, the USFL, or in this case, the XFL, Week 3 is usually the week that determines who the real contenders are. It's especially true in the 10-week XFL, as it has much less room for error than the 18-week NFL and the 21-week CFL. Two teams who definitely knew that for sure entering Week 3: the Seattle Sea Dragons and the Vegas Vipers. Both teams were 0-2, which meant somebody had to win this one--a factual statement, as the XFL has no ties.
The game was pretty back and forth for the most part. The teams traded a touchdown in the first quarter, with failed conversions, and they traded field goals in the second quarter, resulting in a 9-9 halftime score. It looked like the Vipers would take it, as they took a 20-15 lead into the fourth, but the Sea Dragons exploded with a 15-point quarter and held Vegas at bay. Final score: Sea Dragons 30, Vipers 26.
The Sea Dragons' first win of the season was primarily due to the efforts of Ben DiNucci at quarterback. We all remember DiNucci for his few starts for the Dallas Cowboys, one of them being an eventful outing against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday Night Football. Now, these leagues get mocked as being platforms for "NFL rejects," a phrase I actually hate, because these players are trying. Also, a lot of these players are better than some guys in the NFL. Regarding DiNucci's numbers in Week 3: 29/37, 377 yards, 4 touchdowns, and one interception. That's a QB rating of 133.9! DiNucci became the first QB to throw for over 300 this year, and it won't be the last such performance we'll see.
Following a battle of winless teams on Saturday, a Sunday tripleheader began with a battle of unbeatens between the St. Louis BattleHawks and the DC Defenders. For the Hawks, this was their third straight road game, and it was quite rocky, as the Defenders scored an opening drive touchdown, and intercepted AJ McCarron before going all the way for another score. It was 14-0 DC just like that, but the Defenders would commit back-to-back turnovers, with the Hawks capitalizing and scoring on the first. Another score would result in a 14-14 tie at halftime, and I'm literally thinking, "Are the BattleHawks seriously going to go 3-0? With all of the wins on the road?!"
Though the Hawks had a game effort, it would not be the case. After a back and forth 2nd half, as well as a pair of heated brawls, the Defenders ended up winning 34-28. As of now, 34 is the highest point total of the season, and regarding the Defenders, they remain unbeaten in a tough North Division.
Nothing much happened in the game between the Orlando Guardians and the Arlington Renegades, so I'll just talk about what's been standing out in this XFL season. The last few years have seen an increase in the promotion of sports betting since it became legal in 2019, and the networks and sports leagues have been all over it. We are even seeing lines featured on ESPN's ticker as of late, and regarding the XFL, they have the lines and the O/U (Over/Under) displayed on the score bug.
The "-8" shown next to Arlington means that the Renegades were favored to win by eight points. In contrast, a "+8" would be shown next to Orlando, as they were eight point underdogs. In addition, the O/U in that game was 37 total points, but the final score of that game: 10-9 in favor of the Renegades. So if you actually had some dough on the Renegades with that line, sorry, you didn't win, because Arlington had to win by more than eight. All the while, those who took the under were celebrating big time.
Week 3 ended with the Houston Roughnecks in the main event again, this time against the San Antonio Brahmas, who were coming off their first win of the season. You know, I have yet to have an actual favorite team, and that's mainly because the team I was pulling for, the Los Angeles Wildcats, ended up folding. I found myself a bit partial to the Brahmas because of Hines Ward, plus the name's taken from "Brahma Bull," which is one of The Rock's nicknames. I was kinda hoping they'd pull off the shocker and actually beat the Roughnecks, but I knew they wouldn't do it. It was close, but Houston won, 22-13, over the Brahmas. The Roughnecks are for real. They were favored to win the XFL Championship at the start of this season. They've won all eight games they've played dating back to the 2020 season. That team is an absolute machine.
Three weeks are finished, and here's how things stand. In the North Division, the DC Defenders are 3-0, while the St. Louis BattleHawks are in second place at 2-1. The Seattle Sea Dragons are 1-2, while the Vegas Vipers now fall to 0-3. In the South Division, the Houston Roughnecks stand tall at 3-0, the Arlington Renegades improved to 2-1, the San Antonio Brahmas are 1-2, and the Orlando Guardians fall to 0-3. From the looks of it, the Roughnecks and the Defenders look like they'll have strong seasons, but even so, with seven weeks left, a lot can happen.
Week 4 will feature the Orlando Guardians hosting the Houston Roughnecks in the first half of a Saturday doubleheader, which will also see the Seattle Sea Dragons host the San Antonio Brahmas in the second half. On the Sunday double dip, the St. Louis BattleHawks will finally play their home opener against the Arlington Renegades, followed by the unbeaten DC Defenders hosting the winless Vegas Vipers.
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Awesome review!!! 💖💖💕