XFL Week 6 Betting Preview: Houston Roughnecks at New York Guardians

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By Jereme Jones March 11, 2020 0 Comment
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Will the Roughnecks stay undefeated, or can the Guardians, at home, beat the best in the XFL? New York is 2-0 at home this season, can they stop P.J. Walker?

Houston (-6.5) at New York

Saturday, March 14, 2 pm, ABC

Parity has been everywhere in the XFL this season, except for Houston. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been exciting for the Roughnecks. Houston’s last three games have all come down to their opponents’ last drive. In all three, linebacker DeMarquis Gates has made a big play to get a turnover and clinch the win. Can the magic continue for the fourth week? Can P.J. Walker continue to play at an MVP level? Or is this the week the last undefeated team in the XFL finally loses?

There is no doubt that P.J. Walker is the front-runner for the XFL MVP and that he leads the best offense in the league. Walker leads all XFL quarterbacks in passing yards (1,338) and passing touchdowns (15). Wide Reciever Cam Phillips leads the XFL in receptions (31), receiving yards (455), and receiving touchdowns (9). The scary thing is that it’s not just a two-person show in Houston. Wide receivers Khalil Lewis (24/220/1), Nick Holley (21/267/2), and Sam Mobley (10/187/1) have also put up big numbers this year. Even the running game got going last week, with both James Butler and Andre Williams having good games on the ground. As a team, the Roughnecks are ranked first in points per game (31.6) and passing yards (259.8).

On defense, the Roughnecks seem to be getting better, which has to be scary for the rest of the XFL. Last week, Houston held Seattle to only 201 yards, sacked quarterback B.J. Daniels four times, and forced a huge fumble late in the game. They now are ranked third in the XFL in both rushing yards allowed (107.4) and total yards allowed (307.6). They are an opportunistic defense that can get to the quarterback and force turnovers. Their linebacking crew might be the best in league with DeMarquis Smith, Beniquez Brown and Edmond Robinson. They also have playmakers in the secondary, led by Deatrick Nichols and Cody Brown.

The Roughnecks will be facing a New York Guardians’ offense that seems reborn since Luis Perez took over at quarterback two weeks ago. Since then, New York is 2-0 and averaging 23.5 points a game. Perez plays the position much different than Walker; he is a classic game manager who makes smart decisions and moves the sticks. He has also seemed to bring a calming influence to the offense. Perez has found a couple of weapons he can count on at receiver in Mekale McKay (12/184/1) and Colby Pearson (16/223/2).  The strength of the offense is their running game, featuring Darius Victor (55/238) and Tim Cook (40/157). Justin Stockton also flashed at running back last week, rushing for 41 yards on only five carries.

Defensively, the Guardians line up as many top-line players as any team in the XFL. On the defensive line, Cavon Walker leads the league in sacks with 4.5, and Bunmi Rotimi continually puts pressure on quarterbacks. They also have run stoppers like Toby Johnson, Joey Mbu, and TJ Barnes. The secondary might be the best in the XFL with Jamar Summers, Dravon Askew-Henry, and Andrew Soroh leading the way. Askew-Henry is coming off his best game of the season last week in Dallas. On the season, the Guardians are second in points allowed per game (17).

It will be up to the Guardians defense if they are going to pull off the upset this week. They will need Walker and Rotimi to put P.J. Walker under constant pressure and the secondary to force some turnovers. Walker showed last week that he could make mistakes, throwing two interceptions. New York may be one of the few teams in the XFL with enough quality defensive backs to slow down the Roughnecks.

On offense, Perez must continue to take care of the ball and find Mekale McKay for some big plays. If he can do that, and Darius Victor can put up a 100-yard game on the ground, the Guardians can keep the ball away from Houston and help out their defense.

So far this season, it has been tough for teams to win on the road in the XFL. One of the exceptions has been the Roughnecks. Houston is 2-0 on the road, with an average margin of victory of seven points. New York, however, has been one of the best home teams in the league. They are 2-0 at home, with an average margin of victory of 11.5 points.

In the last three weeks, Houston has played close games and held on late. I think this one will be close again. However, I think Luis Perez makes the big play in the clutch instead of the turnover. I am taking the Guardians and the points, but I think New York wins this game outright.

Our Pick: New York (+6.5)

XFLOutsider’s 2020 Season Record

Straight Up: 11-5

Against the Spread: 11-5

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