Games to watch: XFL Week 3
March 1, 2023 / By Brayden Nazarian
Taking a look at two key matchups in Week 3 of the 2023 XFL season.
Each week of the XFL season continues to impress. The level of competition is always high, and for the most part, nearly every game has been close. Still, there are always a few matchups to hone in on. Let's take a look ahead at the biggest games of Week 3:
St. Louis Battlehawks (2-0) @ D.C. Defenders (2-0)
Sunday (3/5) at 1PM EST
The first key matchup of the week takes place in the nation's capital between two undefeated teams. After two come-from-behind wins, the St. Louis Battlehawks are going into this week feeling good. Quarterback A.J. McCarron has been arguably the most efficient passer in the league, completing 64.5% of his passes with no interceptions. However, the Battlehawks' offense struggles early in games, often putting them in do-or-die situations late.
On the other side, the D.C. Defenders have one of the best late-game defenses in the league. They've yet to allow any points in the fourth quarter this season, and have held opposing offenses to just 12 points per game. Their offense, though, is much less reliable. Quarterback Jordan Ta'amu has completed a league-low 45.2% of his passes for just 179 yards (also lowest among starters). With no passing game, the Defenders lean heavy on the run, which seems to be working for now. As a team, they lead the league in rushing attempts (75), rushing yards (313) and rushing touchdowns (4).
The winning recipe for both teams will be to jump out ahead early. That way, they (hopefully) won't have to worry about clawing their way back into the game like they've had to all season. For the Battlehawks, McCarron needs to get into a rhythm early and move the ball through the air. The Defenders are scoreless in the first quarter this season, meaning they can be taken advantage of. However, if they come ready to play, they can win the game by playing good defense and running the ball. Keep the ball out of McCarron's hands and it's a wrap.
Probably the most exciting game of the season so far.
San Antonio Brahmas (1-1) @ Houston Roughnecks (2-0)
Sunday (3/5) at 8PM EST
The late game on Sunday will feature two Texas teams, each with a lot of cards on the table. So far, no team has been able to compete with the Houston Roughnecks. They've won their two games by an average margin of 15 points, while also having the second-ranked passing offense in the league. Quarterback Brandon silvers currently has 445 passing yards (2nd), with 127 of them (3rd) going to receiver Jontre Kirklin. Safe to say they can move the ball down the field.
Their opponents, however, are riding the momentum of a blowout win. While they fell apart late during their Week 1 loss to the Battlehawks, the San Antonio Brahmas decided to move on quickly and hung 30 points on the Orlando Guardians in Week 2. They won because of their high-powered offense, featuring the league's leading rusher in Kalen Ballage, and one of the best QBs in the XFL, Jack Coan. The Roughnecks have yet to play a team with a capable offense, so they may be in for a surprise.
This game's outcome will likely depend on ball control and time of possession. The Roughnecks can win by simply keeping the ball away from the Brahmas and their offense. Play safe on offense and suffocate them on defense. However, the Brahmas play a similar brand of football. If they can get on the scoreboard early and control the game, they'll be the first to hand the Roughnecks a loss.
A great way to close out Week 3.
Featured images courtesy of the XFL