XFL update: Which teams have blossomed and busted? Is it still worth the watch?


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In its first month of action, the XFL is proving to be legitimate competition to the NFL. With more national coverage and fan engagement, the new football league is holding its own.

After spectating the previous three weeks of surprisingly enjoyable football action that the revivified XFL has to offer, we arrive at last into the fourth week of the rebooted season. From the three weeks football connoisseurs have watched, there have been some exciting, close games, surprising upsets from a few teams and, of course, even a few stagnant uninteresting letdowns.

Some teams are heading off to an incredible breakout start such as the undefeated Houston Roughnecks, whereas others such as the winless Tampa Bay Vipers and the disappointing New York Guardians are still trying to find their footing and get back into the competition. But as week four approaches, how will these teams perform against each other in the next week of the XFL?

On Feb. 22, the first game will feature the struggling New York Guardians as they face off against the Los Angeles Wildcats, who came away with a shocking upset over the talented DC Defenders, 39-9. The Guardians’ season is reminiscent of the Star Wars sequel trilogy: they started off pretty adequate, but by the preceding games, it’s one disappointment after another.

The team’s biggest problem is without question its offense. Despite a decent start against the Vipers, Guardians quarterback Matt McGloin was dreadful in the latter games, being benched not once, but twice to Marquise Williams and Luis Perez — and not even they could make up for game-changing drives. If the Guardians can fix their quarterback situation, maybe they’ll win another game or two.

The opposite can be said for the Wildcats. Causing five turnovers (four were interceptions), the Wildcats pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the XFL season against Cardale Jones and the loaded offense of the Defenders, with Josh Johnson scoring three touchdown passes and a near-perfect QB rating of 148. With both performances working wonders on both sides of the field, the Wildcats should handle the Guardians and the games after very well.

Saturday’s last game ends with the Seattle Dragons battling the St. Louis Battlehawks who have home field advantage. St. Louis has been one of the most impressive teams with a dynamic passing and running game in running back Matt Jones and quarterback Jordan Ta’amu. The Dragons are trying to bounce back from a disappointing loss at home against the Renegades, and the only way they can is by either having a consistent offense that will score continuous drives, and have their defense force turnovers making Ta’amu panic and lose focus.

However, the one game that everyone should switch the channel for this Sunday (aside from DC and Tampa Bay) is the XFL’s first Texas Showdown between the Houston Roughnecks and the Dallas Renegades. Both teams have been excellent against competitive teams with quarterbacks Landry Jones (of Pittsburgh Steelers fame) having fairly good numbers and XFL superstar P.J. Walker being outstanding in the field.

While the Renegades opened the season with a loss, they have found their groove and resulted in a two-game winning streak with Cameron Artis-Payne’s running attack and Jones’ quarterback presence — despite having ball control miscues here and there. Their biggest challenge is, of course, the Roughnecks. Because of P.J. Walker, the Roughnecks have the best offense in the league with the most passing yards, passing touchdowns and Cam Phillips tearing defenses to shreds with seven touchdowns in his receiving stats. This game is huge for both teams and this could change the course of the whole season if the underdog wins.

Now, the question is whether people are willing to give the XFL a glance or pass on it. If the XFL wants to thrive, then the ratings need to increase and help their league’s chances of success. Since week three, according to Yahoo! Sports, the average  TV rating for Week 3 amounted to 1.61 million viewers, which is a bit lower than Week 2’s average rating of 2.26 million.

Week 4 is a big deal for the XFL. With its talented roster of teams capable of earning a win or two, the league and up-and-coming fans have to hope that this week will surprise everyone and bring ratings to a new high, or could stay steady and not decline even further. All the fans have to do is wait and see what happens next.