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Five Things: Week 11 – Detroit Lions at New York Giants

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The inevitable trap game reared its ugly head as the Giants were convincingly shutdown by the resurgent Detroit Lions and fell to a 31-18 loss. Here are five things that stood out:

Up and Down Jones

With Saquon Barkley essentially a non-factor in this game due to the offensive line’s inability to open up running lanes, it was the first time this season that everything was placed firmly on Daniel Jones’ shoulders, and although it wasn’t helped by a constantly changing offensive line and a lack of rhythm, Jones’ performance was mixed at best.

He completed 27 passes for 341 yards and a touchdown while throwing a season high 44 times and gaining 58 yards on four carries and a rushing touchdown. The blemishes, however, were the two interceptions that he threw, both of which were errors on Jones’s part rather than a miscommunication or due to pressure. After making 153 consecutive passes without throwing a pick, he failed to spot Lions defender Aiden Hutchinson dropping back from the line of scrimmage, who duly accepted the gift to give the Lions an instant red-zone opportunity. His second went to Lions safety Kerby Joseph after he overthrew tight end Lawrence Cager, which, after a runback, resulted in the Lions getting the ball back in the Giants’ half.

Disappointing Defense

With a defensive front consisting of an interior containing two potential pro bowlers in Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams, you would expect that the Giants would be able to pressure Lions quarterback Jared Goff enough that he would have to make quick decisions. Unfortunately for the Giants, neither of these things really materialised on what was an off day for the Giants’ defence.

The Giants are dead last in the league for yards per rushing attempt with 5.5 yards, and although their yards per carry were under that mark at 4.3, it didn’t stop the Lions from running all over our defence as they gained 160 yards on 37 carries and four touchdowns. The pass rush was pretty much non-existent too, with Goff only being pressured ten times with seven hurries, three quarterback hits, and zero sacks.

Why Adoree?

When Richie James fumbled two punts in the loss to the Seahawks a few weeks ago, the need for a potential change was clear. However, after a brief camp competition, it was revealed that the replacement would be starting cornerback Adoree Jackson. As you can imagine, there were some eyebrows raised due to the risks associated with putting a key part of the defence at risk.

Well, early in the second quarter, the worst happened. Jackson lined up deep to field a punt and, after pausing for a second, decided to fight for a few more yards. As he was tackled, his knee was twisted under a Lions player, and as the crowd of players dispersed, Jackson stayed down, clearly in pain. He was quickly ushered into the blue tent and was ruled out for the rest of the game with a knee injury. Subsequently, it’s been revealed that it’s an MCL sprain, which will keep the Giants’ number one cornerback out for between four and six weeks.

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Inconsistent Receivers

As previously stated, Jones threw the ball 44 times in this game, setting a season high while also gaining 341 yards. This more pass-heavy attack meant that the focus was on the Giants’ much-criticized wide receiver corps, which was another mixed bag.

  • In a very tongue-in-cheek moment, Kenny Golladay was given a standing ovation for his first of two catches on the day, which tells you all you need to know about the fan’s frustrations with the receiver.
  • Isaiah Hodgins had three catches for 29 yards but had a fumble late in the game that gave the Lions great field position, and the resulting touchdown essentially ended the contest.
  • Wan’Dale Robinson was having a career day with nine receptions for 100 yards before suffering an injury early in the fourth quarter. He was ruled out almost immediately, and it’s since been confirmed that Robinson has torn his ACL and is out for the rest of the season.

Injury Hell

We’ve already touched on Wan’Dale Robinson and Adoree Jackson’s injuries, but there were plenty more in the game that made a considerable impact, and with the Giants now facing a short week before their Thanksgiving game against NFC East rivals the Dallas Cowboys, they will be hoping that most will return quickly.

  • Leonard Williams left the game in the first quarter and headed into the blue medical tent but returned during the second quarter.
  • Tyre Phillips left the game in the second quarter with a neck injury. He was replaced by Matt Peary and was downgraded to out
  • Jason Pinnock was also injured in the second quarter after making a tackle. He did return but was reinjured in the fourth quarter and did not return.
  • During halftime, Fabian Moreau was ruled out with a rib injury.
  • Near the end of the third quarter, centre Jon Feliciano was replaced by Nick Gates and was later ruled out with a neck injury.
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Five Things: Week 10 – Houston Texans at New York Giants

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The New York Giants returned from their bye week with a 24-16 victory over the Houston Texans at MetLife Stadium. Let’s look at five things that stood out:

Win the Turnover Battle

As the old adage goes, “The key to winning the game is to win the turnover battle,” and the stats back that up. Teams that have more takeaways than giveaways win 73% of the time, and the Giants have a plus-four turnover differential despite only having two interceptions this season. In reality, it’s down to two things: a league-leading 10 fumble recoveries and Daniel Jones, who has become much more proficient in protecting the ball.

In the win against the Texans, not only did Jones protect the ball exquisitely, but the defence stepped up with two critical turnovers, one in the redzone and one in the endzone. The first, a fumble by standout rookie running back Dameon Pierce, was caused by a great punchout by Leonard Williams, and the second, an interception of Davis Mills, could have been caught by either Adoree Jackson or Dane Belton, but it was the rookie Belton that secured the grab at the front of the endzone.

Bulldozing Barkley

Over the weekend, it was revealed that the Giants had engaged in talks with the representatives of Saquon Barkley regarding a well-deserved contract extension. As of right now, that hasn’t materialized, but if the Giants want to keep arguably their best player on the team, they’re likely going to have to pay him top-tier money.

Barkley had a heavy workload in the win over the Texans, carrying the ball an astonishing 35 times (a season high) for 152 yards and a touchdown, while also catching the ball once for a further 8 yards. His 152 yards were his highest total in a game since his 164 yards in the season opener versus the Tennessee Titans and took his season total to a league-leading 931 yards. He also has the second most scrimmage yards with 1,128 and only needs 45 yards this week to overtake the Miami Dolphins’ Tyreek Hill, who is on a bye week.

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Sexy Dexy

Five weeks ago, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rogers had just found out firsthand what a dominant force Dexter Lawrence had become, and it obviously resonated with the veteran as he paid tribute to him on his weekly segment on the Pat McAfee show. “Number 97 is a premier player, and needs to probably get some more recognition for the ability that he has.” Since then, Lawrence has not let up in the slightest and appears to be a lock for the Pro Bowl and could even be an All-Pro candidate.

Sexy Dexy, as he’s been known since middle school, was a game wrecker on Sunday, terrorising the Texans offensive linemen and finishing the game with five total tackles, five QB hits, a sack (two half sacks), and a batted down pass. He also totaled eight pressures, one of which forced Houston quarterback Davis Mills into his ill-advised lob into the end zone that was intercepted.

Big Play Slay

It’s safe to say that up until a few weeks ago, this season likely had not been Darius Slayton’s favorite. Before it even started, he had to contend with trade rumours and then the very real threat of potentially being cut. Slayton survived both but ultimately was cast aside for the first four weeks of the season, suiting up for three games and only being targeted twice, but as the injuries mounted, the Giants’ hand was forced and he was given a larger role.

Since then, Slayton has flashed in a few games, but he was back in his rookie season groove against the Texans, as he played a massive part in securing the victory. Finishing the game with three receptions for 95 yards and a touchdown in which he took full advantage of a missed tackle by Texans safety Jalen Pitre to sprint 54 yards to the house. Slayton now has a team-leading 327 yards, and with there being no standout number two thanks to Kenny Golladay’s ongoing struggles, he could well lead the team for the rest of the season.

Schoen’s Additions

If there is one thing about the Giants’ season that cannot be understated, it’s the work of general manager Joe Schoen and assistant general manager Brandon Brown, who have been able to add players throughout the season, some of whom made sizable contributions in Sunday’s game:

  • Fabian Moreau, who was signed ironically after being released by the Houston Texans, has been a solid cornerback opposite Adoree Jackson. He recorded six tackles and one pass deflection.
  • Jaylon Smith resigned with the Giants near the end of September and has now become a starting linebacker. He made five tackles, had a quarterback hit, and recovered a fumble.
  • Jason Pinnock was claimed off waivers at the end of August and had a great day against the Texans with 1.5 sacks and a tackle for loss.
  • Lawrence Cager was claimed after being released by the neighbouring Jets and caught his first career touchdown against the Texans.
  • Isaiah Hodgins, signed less than two weeks ago after being waived by the Bills, caught two passes in Sunday’s game for 41 yards.
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Week 8: Rookie Standouts

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We’re almost at the halfway point of the season, and as expected, many rookies are getting opportunities due to trades, injuries, and inconsistent form. Here are three rookies that stood out this week.

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Isaiah Likely, Tight End – Baltimore Ravens

As discussed in my first ever Full10Yards article, Isaiah Likely was the Ravens’ second tight end drafted on Day 3, but in minicamp and OTAs, he had already started to separate himself from the pack. The biggest issue that Likely would face, though, is being behind two-time pro bowler and all-pro Mark Andrews.

So, when Andrews, who was already dealing with a knee injury, landed awkwardly on his shoulder and was ruled out after 10 snaps, it was Likely’s time to shine, and shine he did. Likely slotted straight into Andrews’ shoes, catching six of his seven targets for 77 yards and a touchdown, in which he showed great body control to keep himself in bounds. With Andrews now dealing with multiple injuries, this breakout couldn’t have come at a better time for the Ravens.

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Malcolm Rodriguez, Linebacker – Detroit Lions

The Lions are currently sitting at the bottom of the pile in the NFL overall standings, and despite some initial optimism spurred on by their stint on NFL Network’s Hard Knocks, they look to be yet again not getting anywhere near the postseason.

It’s not all doom and gloom, however, as Aiden Hutchinson has already made this list before, and though production has slowed, he’s still been a disruptive force. Now you can add Hard Knocks’ favourite Malcolm Rodriguez to the list.

He was arguably the best defensive player for the Lions in Sunday’s loss to the Miami Dolphins, as he recorded his first-ever NFL sack, jointly led the team with seven tackles, and recovered a fumble forced by fellow rookie Kerby Joseph.

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Garrett Wilson, Wide Receiver – New York Jets

With questions swirling about the future of Jets quarterback Zach Wilson after another rough showing, it’s another Wilson who took the headlines this week. Garrett Wilson made the most of his limited targets (seven) and showed exactly why he should be the team’s number 1 receiver and should be targeted more often, especially seeing as the Jets threw the ball 41 times.

Against a New England Patriots cornerback unit that includes rookies Jack Jones and Marcus Jones, both of whom are in the top ten for the lowest completion rate, Wilson took his lowly seven targets, caught six of them, and recorded an impressive 115 yards, making him the 2nd Jets rookie ever to have two 100 yard plus games in a season, behind Ring of Honor member Al Toon.

Honorable Mentions

Sauce Gardner (New York Jets), Greg Dulcich (Denver Broncos), Martin Emerson (Cleveland Browns), Ikem Ekwonu (Carolina Panthers), Tomon Fox (New York Giants)

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Five Things: Week 8 – New York Giants at Seattle Seahawks

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With the Giants falling to an uninspiring 27-13 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, they can still go into their bye week holding their heads up high thanks to their surprising 6-2 record. Let’s look at five things that stood out:

Mistakes Punished

When you are part of a team that has won five of its six wins this year by less than a score, you need to make sure that the fundamentals are sound, and the mistakes are kept to a minimum. Unfortunately, that was not the case on Sunday, and ultimately, it cost the Giants the game.

Though there were mistakes that led to penalties, coverage issues, and protection, the one that basically ended things for the Giants was a second fumble off a punt by Richie James. After catching the punt on the 21-yard line, James decided to return it up the field. He collided with a crowd, but instead of securing the ball with both hands, he cupped it with one and the ball broke loose again. The already leading Seahawks took the gift and bought their offence back out on the 32-yard line. Two plays later, Kenneth Walker III took advantage of some lackluster defending to walk in for the game’s last score.

Up and Down Adoree

If Adoree Jackson had come out of the game at the end of the third quarter, you probably could have said he was the best Giant out there today. Carrying on his pro bowl caliber start to the season, he had a couple of pass breakups and single-handedly helped the Giants get their first points on the board after he caused a Tyler Lockett fumble, which he recovered at the two-yard line. Unfortunately, what followed in the fourth quarter was not the high standards that Jackson holds himself to.

For starters, he was completely outrun on a 33-yard pass from ex-Giant Geno Smith that Lockett was unable to secure for what would have been a walk-in touchdown. The Giants survived, and Seattle settled for a field goal. Lockett, however, made sure he had his revenge on the next Seattle drive. He hit him with a double move and breezed into the endzone, but this time he secured the ball for the go-ahead touchdown.

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Return to the Field

If there was one heart-warming moment from Sunday’s game, it was the return of Giants offensive lineman Nick Gates. Early in the 2021 season against Washington Gates suffered such a horrific leg break that NFL refused to show any replays of it. What followed was a grueling 410 days in which Gates would go through seven total surgeries due to complications and would even be told that he could end up facing amputation. Once he was passed that even his gritty determined attitude shone through as he vowed to return to the field this season and he stuck to his promise.

Though Gates only suited up for five snaps across the total sixty-five taken by the offense you could see that the former captains’ hunger had not wavered in the slightest. Due to the length of time, he has been out, there was bound to be some “field rust” so the Giants were clever using his only as a jumbo tight end to assist with blocking.  He did make one key block however in the touchdown run by Saquon Barkley and despite ending up on his back celebrated by kicking and punching the air like an excited turtle. Redemption achieved.

Gano and Gillan

With the special teams unit having a nightmare with the two fumbles as well as poor coverage on both kick and punt returns (when it was returned), the offence not really clicking in the ground or air game and the defence struggling with the Seahawks wide receivers despite being able to sack Smith three times, you would be hard pressed to find any players that shone, but there were and it’s likely to be the two players you want to see the least.

Graham Gano continued to be pretty much automatic with his field goal attempts as he made both his attempts, one from 31 yards and the other from 45 yards. Gano this season has made 17 of his 19 attempts and is a perfect 4 for 4 kicking from over 50 yards.

His kicking buddy Jamie Gillan had what was probably his best punting game this season as he punted for an average of 53.7 yards on six punts, including downing two inside the 20 and one 69-yard boomer that was almost downed at the one.

The Tomonator

With the injuries piling up for the Giants, the rookie class from this year has been thrust into the limelight, and luckily for the Giants, most of them have been able to make plays when called upon. Although there were slow days for Wan’Dale Robinson and Kayvon Thibodeaux, there were two such rookies that had stellar days.

Fifth rounder Micah McFadden had slowly seen his snap count decrease over the last three weeks to the point where he had made none in the last two, but he had a breakout game here, recording his first career sack along with four tackles (one for a loss). However, there was one rookie that stood above all the others.

Tomon Fox, the Georgia native who went undrafted as a free agent, was tied for the team lead on tackles with eight and had to two tackles for a loss despite only playing 27 of the 64 snaps the defense faced. It’s extremely likely that if he continues to play this way, his role will increase dramatically.

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Five Things: Week 7 – New York Giants at Jacksonville Jaguars

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For the third week in a row, the Giants overturned a 4th quarter deficit to find a way to win and improve their record to 6-1. Let’s take a look at five things that stood out this week:

Coming of Age

Although Saquon Barkley finished yesterday’s game with 110 yards rushing, he made 40 of those yards in the clock-churning final offensive drive that ended in a field goal. For the rest of the game, the Giants’ offensive fortunes rested on one man’s shoulders: Daniel Jones. 

Multiple times this season, Jones has shown the grit, determination, decision-making, and game management that many Giants fans have been waiting to see since he stepped into Eli Manning’s shoes, and it’s not too farfetched to say that this season Jones looks very much like Manning in his breakout season. 

Yesterday, Jones looked the part in both the passing game and the rushing game. Despite six drops from his wide receivers, he completed 19 passes from 30 passing attempts for 202 yards and a touchdown and repeatedly took advantage of open space as he ran for a career high of 107 yards and a touchdown, becoming the first Giants quarterback to rush for over 100 yards in 76 years  

Close Out the Game! 

One concerning part of the game that hopefully isn’t the start of a trend was the inability to close out the game due to lapses in concentration. On both offence and defense, we made avoidable mistakes that would have either settled the game or at least made it much more comfortable than it was. 

The first one was a bizarre play call from our offence on 3rd down that saw Barkley run out towards the side-line. In what should have been an opportunity to run the clock down to 25 seconds before making a field goal attempt, Barkley was pushed out of bounds, which stopped the clock at 1:07, plenty of time for the Jaguars to attempt a comeback  

The refs (more on them later), intent on driving the heart rate of Giants fans through the roof, found two questionable calls that negated two huge plays from the defence and that led to the Jags being able to extend their drive toward the crazy final play of the game. 

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The Final Play(s) 

In what felt like the longest minute and four seconds ever, it all came down to one last set of downs. 

After a long completion on 4th down, coupled with a roughing the passer call, the Jags quarterback, Trevor Lawrence, took his position on the Giants’ 17-yard line and, with sixteen seconds on the clock, had ample time to break Giants fans’ hearts. His first throw thrown towards Zay Jones was broken up by Adoree Jackson, and his second sailed over Marvin Jones’ head. 

With seven seconds left, it all came down to one play, and it almost paid dividends. Lawrence, with an empty backfield, took the ball and almost immediately threw a dart to Christian Kirk. Kirk secured the ball in the air and seemed destined to fall into the endzone before Fabian Moreau, who was having another outstanding game, stopped him dead on the one-yard line. Xavier McKinney and Julian Love both smothered Kirk to keep him out of the endzone as time expired. 

Come On Ref! 

In what seems to be a weekly occurrence in the NFL, the referees decided that they wanted to be a bigger part of the action, and it was the Giants’ turn to see some questionable calls and no calls both for and against them. 

Mistakes were rife throughout the game, but nothing highlighted how inconsistent the officiating crew were more than a pair of hits on the quarterbacks that ended up yielding differing results. In one drive, Daniel Jones, albeit awkwardly slid down and was clearly hit late by the Jags’ Cisco; no flag. Yet earlier in the half, Dexter Lawrence slightly pulled on Trevor Lawrence’s jersey, causing him to stumble to his hands and knees; flag thrown. 

As previously mentioned, there were also questionable calls in the Jags’ final drive, but the worst of the day was the horrendous face mask and eye poke on Daniel Bellinger that was not deemed worthy of a flag despite Bellinger having to leave the game on the cart  

Beyond a Joke 

I feel like this point has been copied and pasted from week to week, but yet again, in what seems to be the norm for the Giants, the injuries are piling up again. 

In the first half alone, we had offensive linemen Evan Neal and Ben Bredeson and tight end Daniel Bellinger leave the game and not return, whilst in the second half, Adoree Jackson briefly left the game for a concussion check that came back negative. 

As mentioned in my previous point, Bellinger had his eye poked, which ended with the rookie heading to the nearest medical facility. After the game, it was revealed that he would have to visit an ophthalmologist and would likely need surgery. Luckily, both Neal and Bredeson seem to have avoided season-ending injuries, but both are being evaluated for MCL sprains that will keep them out for a few weeks at the very least. 

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Five Things: Preseason Game 2 – Cincinnati Bengals at New York Giants

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Preseason game two is in the books and another win for Big Blue this time over the Cincinnati Bengals. Here are five things to mull over:

Decisive Daniel

Brian Daboll kept his cards close to his chest this past Friday, refusing to say whether Daniel Jones would play in the preseason game against the reigning AFC champions, but he will be pleased with the performance of his much-maligned quarterback after deciding to start him.

After multiple weeks of inconsistent practises and an up and down showing last week against the New England Patriots, Jones produced an assured performance, albeit against the Bengals’ 2nd string team as the starters were held out.

Jones was under centre for most of the first two quarters before Tyrod Taylor replaced him on the Giants’ fourth possession. During those three possessions, Jones played 24 snaps, completing 14-of-16 passes for 116 yards. The only mark on his stat sheet will be the interception. Nevertheless, Daboll was keen to express though that he thought rookie Tight End Daniel Bellinger should have caught the ball that ricocheted into the hands of Bengals rookie Safety Daxon Hill.

Fourth-Quarter Comeback

As the fourth quarter got underway last night, the Giants were 16-7 down and heading towards defeat. However, a quick field goal after a stalled drive that started in the 3rd quarter was converted, and the game was suddenly closer at 16-10.

The Bengals’ next drive ended around midfield when Evan McPherson missed a 58-yard field goal. This meant Davis Webb found himself with great field position, knowing that the team needed a touchdown. Nine plays later, Webb would connect with Alex Bachman for a 22-yard touchdown. He then followed it up with a run of his own to convert the two-point conversion, and suddenly it was 16-18.

The Bengals would answer that with a touchdown of their own, but a failed two-point conversion would give the Giants an opportunity to seal the game. In a drive that took just over two minutes, Webb would find Bachman again for the go-ahead touchdown, and Jamie Gillan converted the extra point. The final play of the game would come after undrafted rookie free agent Tomon Fox smashed into Trenton Irwin to cause a fumble that was recovered by newly signed Olaijah Griffin.

Injury Ravaged

The Giants entered Sunday’s game with EIGHTEEN players unavailable due to injury. For the stats people out there, that’s 21% of the roster and it doesn’t include the five players either on injured reserve or the physically unable to perform list.

It was due to these issues that the Giants had to start their sixth player at Centre Max Garcia, which subsequently put Daboll in two minds on whether to play his starters.

Most of the players did play, and unfortunately, things only got worse. In the first half alone Wide Receiver C.J. Board injured his ribs, Kicker Graham Gano suffered a concussion as a result of having to make a tackle on a returned kick, and rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux was almost carted off with a knee injury but luckily only strained his MCL. Nothing changed in the second half as last week’s standout, Darrian Beavers, left with a knee injury, which has now been confirmed as an ACL tear, ending his season.

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Take a Punt

As alluded to in my previous point, Graham Gano left the game in the first half with a concussion, leaving the Giants in the precarious position of not having their standout kicker available for the rest of the game. Normally, in a situation like this, you would start going for two-point conversions, but preseason allows opportunities for experimentation. 

Punter Jamie ‘The Scottish Hammer’ Gillan took over kick-off duty and, on the whole, performed well, but the real experiment started early in the 4th quarter with the Giants facing a 4th and 9 on the Bengals’ 12 yard line. Gillan and versatile Safety Jullian Love trotted out to become Place Kicker and Holder respectively, and they connected with a 31-yard field goal. The pair returned late in the 4th to secure the XP that gave the Giants a 3-point lead.

Bach to Bach(man)

Wide Receiver Alex Bachman has been on the roster bubble the last two preseasons for the Giants, and he’s been a mainstay on the practise squad. He has seen game time with the Giants, but opportunities have been scarce, with a combined 56 snaps on Offense and Special Teams in four games. Last night, however, may have just shown exactly what Bachman can do.

In a breakout performance, he finished yesterday’s preseason game with 11 catches for 122 yards and two touchdowns, both from Quarterback Davis Webb. When asked prior to the game, Brian Daboll was complimentary about his attitude: “He showed up in the spring and worked as hard as he possibly could and got better each day. He’s one of the first guys in the weight room each day. He was down, down on the depth chart, rep chart if you will, and all he does is compete and play hard. And I appreciate guys like that. I think his teammates do, too. It was good to see him have some success out there. He’ll get more chances.”

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Betting Preview – NFC East

By Tim Monk

Hello darkness, my old friend.

The NFC East isn’t synonymous with making profit. You wouldn’t have had many accumulators including teams from this division last year. Well, if you did you’d be in the poor house.

Ante post wise and the division title, its been nearly 2 decades since a team retained the division title (2004), form book usually goes out of the window and is a scrappy division and throw in the injuries, you have yourself a betting nightmare. Washington won the division after going 1-5 last year, hope you all got on. Its always a candidate for worst to first, the only advice usually to heed is to avoid the favourite or last year’s winner.


Before we get in to the markets, just to let you know we have an affiliation this year with Redzone betting. If you aren’t signed up to them yet and want to take advantage of decent overround books on the NFL, sign up here!

Content wise, we will have a weekly podcast throughout the season so be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel. We will also look to bringing you a weekly look at the best Request a bet’s out there as well as our best bets on all the common markets in written form.

You can also find more betting previews in our NFL season guide, which you can buy from our shop.

Prior to the season, we will have ante post previews on divisions, outrights, team totals, season awards and a whole lot more if ante post is your thing.

Odds taken end July 2021

That bet is Washington Football Team to retain, yes RETAIN the NFC East. Sitting at around 2/1, they have the best defence on paper, on the field on the stat sheet by a country mile.

I could reel off the heavy investment that front 7 has received over the past couple of years from the NFL draft including Chase Young, Montez Sweat, Daron Payne, Jonathan Allen to name just a couple from the 1st round.

They gave the eventual Super Bowl champs, the Tampa Bay Bucs the biggest scare in the post season last year, and that was with Taylor Heinicke. No disrespect to the guy, especially after his dive to the pylon in said game, but if they have an average Quarterback playing the position in that game, things may be looking a lot different.

It’s the 2nd season for Ron Rivera in Washington, and despite his discontent at the vaccination status of the team, they just have to be a lot shorter than the current 2/1 they find themselves at. They have brought in Ryan Fitzpatrick, who isn’t to be trusted for a whole season and there is a reason why he has never played in a playoff game. They have also acquired the services of WR Curtis Samuel to go with Terry McLaurin. Added to that Adam Humphries is a signing that has gone under the radar and also selected a couple of wideouts from the draft including the potentially exciting Dyami Brown.

The defence is enough to win them a few games this season and can account for any of Fitzpatrick’s erratic episodes. The talented RB Antonio Gibson should continue to produce behind a competent Washington offensive line, backed up by JD McKissic.

For me the reason the prices are how they are is because this screams “bookies dont want to take any money” on Dallas.

Sometimes in gambling, you’ll find what is called “false favourites”. This usually means the bookies cripple the price of a certain selection, not because they think it will win or they think they are the best, it’s because they dont want to be on the wrong side of that selection or they want a “green” line on it, meaning they want the favourite to be a winning selection for the house.

That, for me my friends, is the Dallas Cowboys in 2021. Hard knocks team, hype around the star and now particularly wealthy Quarterback Dak Prescott. Happy to debate whether Dallas are worthy favourites, however i will not have that the Washington Football Team aren’t at least closer in the betting to them.

Dallas are horrendous on defence and there isn’t too much they have done in the offseason to think that they’ll be anything than just below average. The signing of Malik Hooker looks good on paper, but 1st round draft pick Micah Parsons has character questions, the Cornerback group have a lot of question marks and the linebackers have more than a point to prove with Jaylon Smith coming off a poor season, Leighton vander Esch struggling to stay healthy, taking over that mantle from Sean Lee.

Even if they shave a couple of points of the 30 pt average they gave up in 2020, they’ll still struggle to get to double digit wins. You can’t even mark them up confidently for 3-4 divisional wins, let alone 10 for the season.

Do they have the best offence, yes, and it’s by a country mile, especially if the offensive line stays healthy, but even that is a coin flip these days. They had 12 different offensive line combinations in their 16 games last season, #NotGreatBob.

Even with all of the above guaranteed and having a number one scoring offence, it’s hard to cover up all the cracks on a pourous defence. Dallas even with Dak struggled in their first 4 full games last year and were only a successful watermelon kick away from an 0-4 start as they had seemingly more double digit deficits than you have had hot dinners. This is despite averaging 31.5pts through those first 4 games.

The division will likely go down to the wire as it usually does and in all honestly, will likely hinge on the head to head matchups between Dallas and Washington, which come in week 14 and 16. Going head to head, Washington’s defence absolutely mauled Dallas last year including an humiliation on Thanksgiving. Yes, Dak was missing, but you could have had Tom Brady or Peyton Manning behind center and it still would have been a bloodbath.

Dallas have a tough start to the season with the opening kickoff cameras on them at Raymond James Statdium as they face the defending champs, Tampa Bay Buccaneers before travelling to the Chargers in week 2. 3 winnable games follow at home before a potentially pivotal game at New England in week 6 before their bye. They’ll need to be 3-3 going in to that.

Making a case for the other 2 teams in the division. Well, it’s the NFC East.

The Philadelphia Eagles (seemingly) have given the keys to Jalen Hurts for a year. There are continuous rumours swirling that Deshaun Watson could pull on the Eagles jersey in 2021 and if that move comes to fruition, Philadelphia’s odds will come crashing down.

They employ 1st year rookie Head Coach Nick Sirianni and you can expect a lot of “Hey, Siri” jokes plastered across social media. He’ll look to improve on the 4-11-1 record from last season in a season where they waited until week 4 to record their first win and went 1-7 after their bye week.

Similar to Dallas, Philadelphia need an offensive line that is healthy for Hurts to have a chance (less so if Watson comes through the entrance) to make things happen. That being said Hurts is a mobile QB, which is any leveller for poor offensive line play. Drafting his teammate in the 1st round will help too as Devonta Smith, WR from Alabama joins a particularly poor group of players the position.

Zach Ertz seemingly couldn’t find a new home and miraculously is “sorting through” the problems he seemingly had with the Franchise. He was underwhelming in 2020 and Dallas Goedert may still have more playing time in 2021 at the position, but expect both to be on the field for the most part, especially if the aforementioned poor O-line play or injuries rears it’s ugly head.

The much maligned Cornerback group of the Eagles was bolstered by Steven Nelson, who comes over from Pittsburgh and joins Darius Slay, one of the premier corners. Anthony Harris was also added to the secondary of the Eagles which may make them a bit closer to the average. They’ll look to improve the 26th ranked defence in the redzone and 22nd in terms of points allowed per drive on average.

The Eagles probably are in too much tumult to cause a stink but as it always is with the NFC East, they all love playing party poopers when it comes to the divisional games.

Moving over to the New York Giants, already had some fun and games as Daniel Jones found himself at the bottom of a big Giant pile, much to the dismay of Joe Judge who then sent them running for a little while. Kelvin Benjamin and Joe Judge if you believe some reports, have had a few back and forths, leading to Benjamin’s release only after 1 day in New York. Saquon Barkley looks unlikely to be ready for week one. Oh, and Jason Garrett is still around.

A shaky offensive line has not had much attention given to it in the offseason and fully expect that to be part of their troubles again this season.

Kenny Golladay and eyebrow raising 1st round WR selection Kadarius Toney join a middling set of WR in Slayton, Shepard and TE Evan Engram. Golladay has injury troubles in the past year and there are already whispers that Toney has not been the most focused or motivated since being drafted and participating in camp.

The defence should be competent enough after re-signing Leonard Williams and acquiring Adoree Jackson at Cornerback.

That being said, it’s just feels like an absolute mess in New York, something which the New York media should have fun with in 2021 and I do not see them troubling for the division title or a playoff spot.

It’s likely that only 1 team progresses to the post season from this division, so as a Washington backer, i have no interested in any of them at the prices.

Other Markets:

Finishing Positions

Dallas – 1st – 5/4 , 2nd – 2/1 , 3rd – 4/1, 4th – 13/2

Washington- 1st –2/1 , 2nd – 2/1 , 3rd – 11/4 , 4th – 4/1

Philadelphia – 1st – 11/2, 2nd – 4/1, 3rd – 9/4, 4th – 5/4

New York – 1st – 9/2, 2nd – 3/1 , 3rd – 19/10, 4th – 2/1

Selected prop bets:

Just to remind you that there are 17 regular season games this year, which is why you might find the lines a bit higher than you normally would if you are cross referencing previous year’s totals. On first glance, Ryan Fitzpatrick’s number looks quite high. He has only played a full season 3 times and his highest total is 3,905, which was for the Jets. However, i think that they’ll be a defensive side and I am not sure how gunslinger happy he will be in this team. Dak Prescott on the other hand could smash 5,000 yards. he was on course for a million of them through 5 games (had 1875) and still ranked 32nd in passing yards in 2021 despite playing less than a third of the season. The defence is not that much improved and could see the same pattern as last year. Difficult to gauge Jalen Hurts’ line as they’ll likely be behind a lot this year but Hurts, like myself is a leg man. Daniel Jones has barely reached 3,000 in the either of his first 2 seasons. His line of 3,800.5 looks fairly inflated. Of the props below, the absolute standout bet is Dak Prescott over 3.5 rushing TDs. He had 3 last year in just over 4 games. He did have 3 the year before but i would be shocked to see this go under. He had 6 in each of the first 3 seasons in the NFL.

Passing Yard lines: Ryan Fitzpatrick – 3,900.5, Jalen Hurts – 3,650.5, Dak Prescott – 4,795.5, Daniel Jones – 3,800.5

Passing TDs: Fitzpatrick – 23 , Hurts – 20.5, Prescott – 32.5, Jones – 24

Rushing Yard lines: Antonio Gibson – 1,025.5, Ezekiel Elliott – 1100.5, Miles Sanders – 1000.5

Rushing TDs: Gibson – 9.5, Elliott – 9.5,Prescott – 3.5, Hurts – 7.5, Sanders – 7,

Receiving Yard lines: McLaurin – 1,180.5, Cooper – 1,175.5, Lamb – 1,050.5, Golladay – 1000.5

All in all, the division is always a tough one to bet on, however it seems to be a tale of two halves. the top 2 being Washington and Dallas, Philadelphia and New York being the bottom 2. Redzone are offering 7/5 on Dallas and Washington in the top 2 positions come January, which appeals considering the state of the franchises. Is also a nice security blanket of sorts if you are betting Washington to win the division

Favourite bets:

  • Washington Football Team to win NFC East – 23/10 (07/08/21)
  • New York Giants under 7 wins – 11/10 (if you can find 7.5 wins line take that)
  • Dak Prescott over 3.5 rushing TDs – 10/13
  • Dallas / Washington Dual forecast – 7/5



“When the fun stops, stop”


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XFL Week Five Preview

By Michael Lavery (@MichaelLavery98)

We have reached the half way point folks. Week five this weekend and we can slowly start to see the playoff picture taking place. Teams who looked like high flying certs at the start of the year have now fallen, and those who got off to slow starts look to be on the rise.



A game which is heavily favoured for a Houston win is also a must win for the 1-3 Dragons. The Roughnecks sit atop all rankings with a 4-0 perfect start to the season and they can thank their star Quarterback for getting them there. PJ Walker has shone brightest of anybody in the league so far and having thrown for 987 yards and 12 TD’s he leads the way for Quarterbacks in the league. 

Last week Seattle made a change at QB. Brandon Silvers was benched in favour of BJ Daniels who entered the game against St. Louis and gave the Dragons a bit of life. I don’t think he has what it takes to get them over the line against Houston this week but I do think moving forward he will be a better fit for the offense. Seattle need to figure out a solution for their run game. The three headed rushing monster they had been attempting to go with just isn’t working. It’s time they place their trust in Kenneth Farrow and build an offense around him and Daniels.

Expect to see a lively hometown crowd cheer on their undefeated Roughnecks in a game which I expect will result in a double digit win for the home side.

Prediction: Seattle 15 – 32 Houston



This game is going to come down to whichever backup quarterback steps up to the plate best. Luis Perez and Philip Nelson will suit up for the Guardians and the Renegades respectively. Two 2-2 teams facing off in Dallas, where the Renegades are yet to register a win this season, will both be hoping to get on the right side of the win/loss scale.

New York had an important bounce back win against the Wildcats last weekend in the meadowlands after losing their two previous games. As for Dallas, well they were on the wrong end of the score line in last weeks “Texas Throwdown” when they lost to the Roughnecks.

Both teams will need to help their QB’s the best they can, scheming easy throws and perhaps looking towards their run games. Dallas may rely heavily on the work of Cameron Artis Payne or TE Donald Parham who have both been producing well on offence over the past couple of weeks.

I favour the Renegades at home in this one, but will say that if either team opens up a two possession scoring advantage, I don’t see them being caught.

Prediction: New York 20 – 24 Dallas



The sudden collapse of D.C from 2-0 to 2-2 over the last two weeks caught the attention of just about everyone. Cardale Jones’ perfected recorded as a starter was shattered and the overall on field product turned to dust. Two games on the road in a row resulted in two losses and now DC returns to Audi Field to face a Battlehawks team who has been on the ascendency since week one.

St Louis have won their last games convincingly, bouncing off the home town energy in the Dome. Its obvious St Louis has missed their pro football and they are showing a passion toward the Battlehawks and they have ever so gracefully repaid them. Jordan Ta’amu has been consistent at a high level for pretty much the whole season and based on both teams current form, it is going to take one hell of a performance from DC to stop St. Louis.

 It will be interesting to keep tabs on how D.C perform being back at home as opposed to being on the road. They were perfect at home before losing two straight while on their travels. Similarly it will be telling of the commitment of the XFL fan bases to see how they turn out to support a struggling Defenders team.

If Ta’amu and the Battlehawks hit their rhythm early then I can see this becoming a runaway victory.

Prediction: St. Louis 29 – 15 D.C



A defining game in both teams seasons. The opportunity to move to 2-3 after both earned their first victories of the season against the aforementioned Defenders. The crazy yard gaining Tampa offence will hope to keep their winning formulae going as they travel cross country to face the Wildcats.

400 yards offence has become somewhat of a benchmark for the Vipers despite only having one win but it is fair to assume they are one or two pieces away from everything falling perfectly into place for them and allowing them to rack up more wins. As for LA, well the waters are slightly murkier. The team’s identity is still not clear after their opening losses, a shock win against D.C and then a somewhat disappointing loss against a struggling Guardians team.

Winston Moss will have to “Give it to his players RIGHT NOW!” (See week 4 sound bites to get that reference) if he has any hope of them getting something out of this game. Better play calling will be required this week as the Vipers will almost certainly try to lock down Tre McBride knowing full well he’ll be the main target with Nelson Spruce still out.

A tough one for the home team and a golden opportunity for the road team.  

Prediction: Tampa 30 – 24 LA

Hope you enjoyed this shortened format. How do you see this week’s games panning out? Let me know on twitter @MichaelLavery98

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Following an exciting opening weekend of football, the XFL train rolls into week two and it’s time to break down each of the games one by one. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out or brand new XFL Podcast with myself and Shaun from the Full10 Yards family where we talk all things XFL breaking it down for you in audio form!  

Last week’s predictions got off to an average start, guessing 2/4 winning teams correctly. As always I will have my predictions at the end of segment. Disagree with any? Let me hear it on twitter @MichaelLavery98


The first game of week two is between two teams who were able to secure a win in week one and it provides an opportunity to open up the season 2-0 and taking an early stronghold on the Eastern Conference.  

The Defenders will want to build on an impressive opening week, carrying on dominant play across all three phases of play. Quarterback Cardale Jones will be hoping to maintain his perfect record as a starter as they welcome in Matt McGloin and the New York Guardians.

Carrying on from last week, it will be interesting to see if Defenders HC Pep Hamilton steps up his aggression levels when it comes to some of the calls he has to make mid game. Last week the Defenders were successful on 1/3 1PAT tries and went 1/1 on 2PAT tries. Perhaps something that the DC staff will want to look into and adjust going forward and as a result we may see more 2PAT attempts from the Defenders.

They will be coming up against a strong Guardians defense who last week won the turn over battle against a poor Tampa Bay Vipers. I can’t imagine this will in any way deter the Defenders and their air attack which worked seamlessly last week, but we may see DC return to the run game. Last week the team rushed for only 68 yards and 28 of which were provided through by the quarterback. 40 yards total rushing for a game indicates a very on dimensional offence and I think we will see Pep Hamilton trying to scheme open some bigger run plays.

As for New York, they will be hoping Matt McGloin can continue on from their opening weekend victory and keep the team playing at an efficient level. One thing worth noting, in terms of travelling as a “road” team this week, the Guardians will have significantly less distance to travel than all other teams on the road this week, something which will undoubtedly benefit them when it comes to game time and how fresh they feel. This is in comparison to the Dragons who last week had to fly cross country to face a Defenders team who benefited from being at home. The Defense in New York will be hoping for similar production turnover wise but will want to clamp down on the amount of yards they allowed against them as Cardale Jones and the Defenders will not be as incompetent in the redzone as the Vipers were last week.

These two teams combined for over 50 points last week and would indicate in every way that we are in for an offensive battle. D.C averaged 5.3 yards per play where New York averaged 5.0. Neither team was overly successful on 3rd down last week – NY going 1/10 and D.C converting only 5/15 but both had 100% records on 4th down. How will the teams adjust for that this week?  

Prediction: Guardians 21 – 26 Defenders


Both of these teams had disappointing losses in week one but for different reasons. Seattle were unfortunate not to stay in the game with a chance to tie or go for the win in the 4th quarter. Tampa however, were just very poor when it came to redzone efficiency and didn’t manage to get into the redzone.  They will hope to bounce back this week but will face a difficult task travelling cross-country to play in Seattle – a notoriously difficult city to play in as a visitor.

During the week, Seattle announced they had already sold 25,000 tickets for this week’s opener and after an additional 1,000 tickets were put on sale this week they were reported to have “Sold out very quickly”. Typically raucous and intimidating, it will be insightful (in terms of league interest levels) to see what kind of crowd shows up to CenturyLink Field on Saturday.

As for the on field product, Seattle will be hoping to benefit from similar production levels from wideout Austin Proehl. Last week Proehl had 5 receptions for 88 yards and 2 touchdowns and by all accounts had a decent game. His quarterback, Brandon Silvers will hope to cut down on the turnovers and have a cleaner performance. He threw 3 touchdowns but also had two picks in the loss against D.C.

Tampa will need to get on the board early this week and quiet the crowd if they want to get anything from this game. Benefiting from the league’s leading receiver, Daniel Williams, he had 123 yards receiving and will hope to produce similar numbers this week but the team as a whole failed when it came to redzone production. Yes they had nearly 400 yards of offensive (394 total) but as the saying goes “Drive for show and putt for dough”. Last week the Vipers couldn’t finish and that’s the difference between winning and losing.

As of Friday it was announced that quarterback Aaron Murray would not start week two due to injury, but the team made no official announcement whether Quinton Flowers or Taylor Cornelius would assume the starting role this Saturday.

Prediction: Vipers 17 – 29 Dragons


Frustrating results in week one for both the Renegades and Wildcats will test their strength as a team when it comes to week two.

Dallas were the only team to lose at home in week one, perhaps a damaging result in terms of team moral, but, a welcome boost will have come this week in the form of the announcement that Landry Jones will start at quarterback for the Renegades this week having spent last week on the side lines. His professional calibre will be a welcome addition to the huddle this week as they look to take advantage of a Wildcats team who have had defensive problems this week with the announcement that their defensive coordinator Pepper Johnson had been fired.

The Wildcats will be hosting the game at the Dignity Health Sports Park – an arena we are used to seeing filled with opposing team supporters when it’s the Los Angeles Chargers playing at home. Will we see a different side to the LA football fandom this week as the Wildcats prepare to host their home opener?

Neither side was able to get the ball moving with any meaningful rhythm last week as their offenses stalled out on numerous drives. The Wildcats were shut out in the second half against the Roughnecks – a tough look on a team where fuses seem to be short in regards to personnel shifts. Both teams did however start with their back-up quarterbacks and this week we will hopefully be treated to the full spectacle of QB1’s. Chad Kanoff missed practice due to injury and Josh Johnson was upgraded to limited.

I expect this to be a surprisingly fun watch and based on their quarterback status will give the edge to the visitors.

Prediction: Renegades 31 – 22 Wildcats


The final instalment this week comes from TDECU stadium in Houston. Both teams riding high of the momentum of impressive opening weekend games, they will hope to take the next step on Sunday by securing another win.

St. Louis successfully navigated a road win in a tricky victory against Dallas, and Houston flexed their muscles beating the Wildcats by 20. Roughnecks quarterback, PJ Walker will be eager to prove that last week wasn’t just a one off and that he is talented and capable enough to perform at such a level, week in, week out. As for the Battlehawks, it is the hope of team Head Coach Jonathan Hayes that his quarterback, Jordan Ta’amu, can continue to get it done under centre. We also saw a clear commitment to the run game last week as the Battlehawks stuck with it and tried to wear down the Renegades defence. 191 yards on the ground last week, including 77 from Ta’amu.

It was announced during the week that the first ever XFL Championship game will be played at TDECU stadium, perhaps a somewhat motivational and inspiring announcement for the Roughnecks players as they hope to gain home field advantage in the biggest game of the year.

The Battlehawks will be hoping to get through this week with a win and return home to St. Louis with a perfect record and hopefully play to an electric fan base who will be more than ready to have a hometown team once again.

In my opinion I think this will be the game of the week, a tough job for the Battlehawks on the road and a proud Roughnecks team looking to defend home turf, I’ll give the edge to the team who displayed the most star power and flare in week one.

Prediction: Battlehawks 22 – 35 Roughnecks

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By Michael Lavery (@MichaelLavery98)

Football is BACK!

That’s a sentence you’re not used to hearing in February, right?

This time of year is usually the beginning of a seven month drought which sees us clutching on to any form of relevant and somewhat interesting football news. Hypothetical trades, mock drafts, and record predictions for teams in the new season, which we all know doesn’t always go to plan (I’m talking to you, Adam Rank).

But finally, after a lot of build-up, exciting rules announcements and the occasional familiar name being thrown into the mix… It’s time for the XFL.

The following is a preview of each of the opening four games followed by my own personal predictions for the games which at this point are complete stabs in the dark but worth a go anyway.

Seattle Dragons @ D.C Defenders

The opening game of the second installment of XFL football comes from Audi Field in Washington D.C where the Dragons take on the Defenders. Both of these teams are the second professional football team in their respective cities, something which could be worth looking into regarding attendance and fan support.

The Defenders are being led by Cardale Jones at quarterback, someone who is already being touted as the potential league MVP before it even kicks off. Jones spent a short time in the pro’s, mostly as a backup or a third stringer. He was drafted 139th overall by the Buffalo Bills in 2016 but has never played more than a half of professional football.

His career stat line: 6/11 98yds, 0TD, 1INT 46.0QBR

D.C Head Coach Pep Hamilton is more than qualified to lead this team to multiple victories this year. He has years of experience working as a positional coach in the NFL for several teams and was the Colts Offensive Coordinator for two years from 2013-15. The significance of this is that during that time he worked closely with Andrew Luck, someone who he also coached during his time at Stamford.

Why exactly is this important? Well for the success Luck had in his short NFL career, I don’t think it would be a bad idea for Cardale Jones to pick the brain of his new HC. Luck and Jones also have extremely similar measurables, something Hamilton might hope to take advantage of and craft Jones into a Luck style player.

Comparison: Luck v Jones
 HeightWeight40 Yard DashHand Size
Andrew Luck6’ 4”234lbs4.6710”
Cardale Jones6’ 5”250lbs4.819 ¾”

The Seattle Dragons signal caller goes by the name of Brandon Silver. Silver has no NFL in game experience despite trying out at the New Orleans Saints rookie minicamp and spending a month as a member of the New York Jets. He did however play for the Memphis Express in the short while that the AAF existed. He sat behind Johnny Manziel as a backup before taking over the starting job after a Manziel injury.

His AAF Stat line: 80/125 799yds, 4TD, 2INT, 86.1QBR

Despite not being the most decorated player at his position, he is at least being coached by someone who knows how to lead a franchise. Former Seattle Seahawks lefty QB; Jim Zorn.

Zorn was the Seahawks quarterback for the first eight years of the franchise’s existence. He made it a weekly habit of finding NFL Hall of Famer Steve Largent in the end zone and now they are both members of the Seattle ring of honour.

In his professional coaching career he has been an assistant and also spent one year has the Head Coach of the Washington Redskins (08-09). Jim Zorn Washington revenge game, anybody?

What is key is that Zorn will know exactly what the city of Seattle will want to see from their Dragons. He knows the city, he knows the fans, he knows the seriousness and with that I think he will have the Dragons performing at a high level all year.

This should be a great game to kick off the season, the fireworks and hoopla of the rebirthed XFL will no doubt add to the festival like occasion and hopefully there will be fireworks on the field too. Explosive plays, new kick offs and extra point rules all to be seen this weekend.

Prediction: My week one stab in the dark prediction is for Seattle to win a crowd silencer on the road in D.C with a final score of 34-17.

Los Angeles Wildcats @ Houston Roughnecks

The late slot on Saturday takes us to TDECU stadium in Houston where the Roughnecks will host the Los Angeles Wildcats. The 40,000 seater arena is the battleground for the first primetime matchup of the season.

Houston Quarterback P.J Walker, who played is college ball at Temple, is, by his own admission an undersized quarterback. At 5’ 11” and only 214lbs he draws the pro sized comparison to Russell Wilson and a quick look at his tape shows his footballing ability is similar too. Walker has excellent escape ability when he feels pressure and can get the job done either by rushing or make accurate throws on the move. Despite having this ability to avoid pressure, he doesn’t force early departures from the pocket and when complimented by good protection has the time needed to step into throws and successfully complete the long ball. Something ex-Texans receiver Sammie Coates will be happy about as he makes his return to pro football in Houston. But, when Walker does take off running he has the talent to make defenders look stupid.

The Roughnecks will be running a “Run N’ Shoot” style offence. A pass heavy scheme, it is hoped that Walker can find his receivers deep down field often and force teams to meet their high scoring targets if they have any hopes of winning.

Fronted by Head Coach June Jones, a former NFL QB and HC for the Atlanta Falcons, Houston will be hoping to deliver key blows early in this game and take advantage of playing at home. Jones won the CNN/Sports Illustrated National Coach of the year award back in 1999 before going on to take on several roles as an assistant in both college and pro teams.

Something to watch in the future: Jones stepped in as interim Head Coach of the San Diego Chargers after the now New York Guardians HC Kevin Gilbride was fired. Perhaps something to keep an eye on in the week 6 fixture between Houston and New York.

The visiting Los Angeles Wildcats have a veteran NFL journeyman at the helm. Josh Johnson has been a member of 13 teams since being drafted by the Bucs in the 5th round of the 2008 draft. A cousin of Marshawn Lynch, he played college football at San Diego. Perhaps an indication of his pedigree at his position, the Detroit Lions attempted to resign Johnson in November 2019 but the XFL denied this request.

Wildcats Head Coach Winston Moss was a professional linebacker for the Bucs, LA Raiders and Seahawks. He worked up 20.5 sacks and 3 interceptions during his career. A defensive minded coach, he will undoubtedly have his hands full this weekend but will be hoping to lean on the talents of his players to execute his game plan and slow down the Roughnecks attack.

Prediction: I think this will be one of the closer games of the weekend but I see the home team coming out on top. Houston wins it: 26-21.

Tampa Bay Vipers @ New York Guardians

Moving into the early slot on Sunday and we will get to see the first instalment of the Tampa Bay Vipers and the New York Guardians. Being played at MetLife this game is sure to have all the feelings of a regular football Sunday.

Guardians Head Coach Kevin Gilbride will be hoping to get his team off to a fast start in the league. Overseeing operations in New York as a play caller he will be hoping his team leave their mark as a smash mouth, run you over style football team, something which is always associated with teams playing in the meadowlands.

He will no doubt be confident that his team can pile up the wins, the Guardians start the season with seasoned pro, Matt McGloin under centre. A former raider who knows all about playing tough.

His Career Stat line: 13 Games Played 7 Started 161/277 1868yds, 11TD, 11INT 75.3QBR

I’m not entirely confident in McGloin’s ability to shine as the star of this league, but I do believe he will be more than capable of managing in-game situations at an effective and professional level and guiding this team to victory. That said, if he doesn’t perform, the New York fans will have no problem in letting him hear it.  

Making the trip up the east coast is the green and yellow of the Tampa Bay Vipers. Spearheaded by Head Coach Marc Trestman and Quarterback Aaron Murray, the team travels to New York in the hope of returning to Florida with a season opening win.

Murray, a former Georgia Bulldog was a 5th round pick in the 2014 NFL draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. After bouncing between teams for a number of years, he took up a role as the QB for the Atlanta Legends of the AAF before coming to Tampa in the hope of being the cities best quarterback (30INT Jameis Winston shouldn’t be too hard to beat).

His Head Coach, Trestman, has an impressive history of coaching. Over 39 years he’s been with 10 NFL teams as either an assistant or a coordinator and has had his fair share of coffees elsewhere too coaching in both college and the CFL.

This should be a gritty game, with both teams trying to make some noise in the early Sunday window and gain some attention before week 2. A tough one to call so I’ll give the benefit to the team with a QB who has NFL experience and are playing at home.

Prediction: Guardians 27-20 Vipers.

St Louis Battlehawks @ Dallas Renegades

Potentially the best game of the weekend slot, aptly left to the primetime Sunday evening slot. A city left in the lurch without pro football since 2015, St. Louis fans were beyond hurt when the rams left them and have been crying out for football since. The Battlehawks fans will have to wait until week 3 to see their team play at home but I don’t think that will stop them from travelling to Dallas show support to their team.

Dallas is a footballing hub, the Cowboys have been calling themselves America’s team for what feels like forever and the entire city of Dallas lives for the sport. The Renegades will count as the State of Texas’ 4th pro football team, but they will have no intentions of being known as such. They want to be number one and behind quarterback Landry Jones they are in great shape to do so.

Jones is the forefront of this offense and he will hope to lay down a marker for the standard at which other teams aspire to be at. He was the first player to be selected for the XFL at the start of the team’s allocation process.

Jones’ professional career saw him drafted by the Steelers with the 115th overall pick in the 3rd round of the 2013 draft. A competent backup, he even saw some playing time in the playoffs, relieving an injured Ben Roethlisberger in the 2015 wild-card game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Roethlisberger would eventually return to the game but it is a credit to Jones and his work as a backup that he was ready to go when called upon. I think we can expect to see a great player coach chemistry with the Renegades. Jones and HC Bob Stoops worked together during his time in college. They will need to bring their “A” game in order to stop a resurgent St. Louis side who will be wanting to prove the point that pro football belongs in their city.

The Battlehawks are entering this game with quarterback Jordan Ta’amu and Head Coach Jonathan Hayes. Wanting to implement their status as winners from the start they will have to lean heavily on the knowledge of their HC and the veterans in the team with pro experience such as ex-Seahawks running back Christine Michael. In his career, he amassed over 1,000 rushing yards off 254 carries over a period of 4 years.

First special teams mention of the day, Marquette King, ex-Raiders punter makes his return to football for the Battlehawks in the hopes of re-igniting his career.

A primetime showdown to round out week one of the new XFL season, a game I think will come down to wire. Fourth quarter plays will be crucial and coaches aggression strategies on their PAT attempts will be important in determining a winner. I’ll side with the home team in this one but wouldn’t be surprised to see the visitors get a win.

Prediction: Renegades 28-26 Battlehawks.

So there you have it, the week 1 preview is at a close. Let us know your thoughts on the XFL by tweeting us @full10Yards on Twitter. Whether you love it, hate it or aren’t even going to watch it, we want to know!