XFL Football Picks: Defenders Seeking a ‘Comeback Story’
The Tampa Bay Vipers hope that they have turned the corner. We’re talking about the offense, which finally scored some touchdowns last week against the Houston Roughnecks. But do the conditions really support any enthusiasm? There is some unrest within the team. A player has flown the coop. And that affects the most important position.
Sunday’s assignment is an extremely difficult one. The DC Defenders were clobbered last week on a trip to the west coast. In fact, it was a little embarrassing. So they are looking for some redemption this week. And that’s no exaggeration.
The Vipers play host to the Defenders on Sunday night at Raymond James Stadium. And if you’re signed up to BetAnySports, who get to place wagers on the contest in real-time with Sports Betting Ultra.
Let’s take a look at the numbers…..
……as they are posted on this game:
|Defenders||-5 (-110)||44 (-110)||-200|
|Vipers||+5 (-110)||44 (-110)||+170|
How ‘For Real’ Are the Defenders?
Cardale Jones went into last week’s game against the L.A. Wildcats as the league’s most dangerous quarterback. By that, we mean that he was probably most capable of getting it down the field for the big play. But when he stepped into Dignity Health Sports Park, he found kryptonite. The Wildcats intercepted him four times and held him to a paltry 103 yards. Even with all their explosive receivers, the Defenders looked helpless.
Are people looking at Jones in a different way? He has now completed just 56.4% of his passes. And his 71.1 QB rating is kind of pedestrian. So the question remains -- what can he do against a capable, disruptive defense?
Vipers showed a little something on offense last week
Tampa Bay went down to its third loss in three games last week. But perhaps there was something positive to be taken out of their meeting with the league’s only unbeaten team.
In the process of scoring 27 points, they converted nine of their 18 third-down situations. They got a touchdown run out of each of their quarterbacks. They actually were tied 18-18 at the half with the Houston Roughnecks. Eventually, they lost 34-27, but they made progress. And maybe they could move forward a little from there.
Quarterback still a problem -- and Flowers disappears
Despite last week’s effort, Taylor Cornelius has not been a smashing success. He is only 55% accurate, with only six yards an attempt. Granted, he is inexperienced. But he was thrown in there on short notice with a foot injury to Aaron Murray.
Murray sat out two games. Now he is back at practice. But he is not necessarily in a position to play. At least that seems to be the posture of head coach Marc Trestman. And Trestman is probably right. But he apparently doesn’t have any choice but to make him the backup for this game.
And why is that? Because Quinton Flowers is unavailable. Flowers, who wound up with the Vipers because he played college ball right there in Tampa with the South Florida Bulls, apparently must have been thinking that he deserved much more time at quarterback with Murray’s injury, even though he was listed on the roster primarily as a running back.
Two games in a limited role must have been too much for him to deal with. So he left the team this week. We don’t know if he’s coming back. But he isn’t likely to be seen around the stadium this week. Because there was a real place for him as a “situational” player, this hurts the offense.
Believe it or not, the Vipers are second in the league in yardage gained. But that just illustrates how problematic it has been for them to convert when it really counts.
And frankly, we don’t see that problem correcting itself as they are short-handed. DC had 200 rushing yards last week in Los Angeles. And they have a wide receiver crew that is arguably as good as anybody’s. So they are more than capable of covering this number.
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