Following a dramatic end to the regular season, the XFL playoff field is set. The Arlington Renegades will meet in Saturday’s South Division championship, with the Seattle Sea Dragons and D.C. Defenders set to square off Sunday in the North Division final.
The two semifinal winners will advance to the inaugural XFL title game on May 13 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
Before the games get underway, let’s break down the XFL semifinals odds.
Arlington Renegades at Houston Roughnecks
Date & Time:
Location: TDECU Stadium; Houston, Texas
Following a loss in Week 10, Arlington gets another crack at Houston, this time with much more on the line: a trip to the XFL finals. The Renegades are the only sub-.500 playoff team at 4-6, and they were beaten by multiple scores in both regular-season matchups. Houston is comfortably favored by 6.5 points in Saturday’s South Division championship, with the over/under set at 41 points.
Houston finished with the best record in the South Division at 7-3, though it took a rather circuitous route. The Roughnecks started 4-0, lost their next three games, then rounded out the regular season with wins against San Antonio, Vegas and Arlington.
Quarterback Cole McDonald was nearly perfect in a 25-9 victory over the Renegades, completing 10-of-11 passes for 120 yards. He also ran for 66 yards and a touchdown. Jeremy Cox added 120 yards and a score on 21 carries, while Tavante Beckett had a 45-yard pick-six on defense. Luis Perez went 22-for-36 for 205 yards through the air for Arlington.
Houston also beat Arlington 23-14 in Week 2. Brandon Silvers threw for 173 yards and two touchdowns on 14-of-28 passing.
Arlington is the XFL’s lowest scoring team, averaging only 13.6 points per game. They scored 10 or fewer points three times. Now comes a rematch with defensive mastermind Wade Phillips and the Roughnecks.
Seattle Sea Dragons at D.C. Defenders
Date & Time:
Location: Audi Field; Washington, D.C.
Seattle locked up an XFL North playoff berth on the final day of the regular season, defeating Vegas 28-9. The Sea Dragons improved to 7-3 in the process, including 7-1 over the last eight weeks. Next up is a showdown with D.C., which went an XFL-best 9-1 with a pair of victories over Seattle. The Defenders’ only loss came in Week 7 to Orlando, 37-36.
The XFL semifinals odds list D.C. as a 3.5-point favorite, with the over/under at 48.5 points.
The reason behind Seattle’s turnaround is no secret: quarterback Ben DiNucci threw for a league-leading 2,671 yards and was second in touchdown passes with 20, trailing only A.J. McCarron of St. Louis (24). Jahcour Pearson, Blake Jackson and former NFL All-Pro Josh Gordon all finished top 8 in receiving, combining for 143 receptions for 1,650 yards.
D.C., meanwhile, was the XFL’s top scoring team, averaging 29.8 points per game. Led by Abram Smith, who ran for a league-best 791 yards (5.0 yards per carry) and seven touchdowns, the Defenders scored 30 points or more five times.
The Defenders opened their season with a 22-18 victory over the Sea Dragons, then beat them again 34-33 in Week 8. In the most recent matchup, Jordan Ta’amu lit up Seattle for 247 yards passing and four touchdowns. One of those scores went to Chris Blair, who had five catches for 148 yards. DiNucci, meanwhile, threw for 301 yards and three touchdowns, plus one interception.
With an XFL finals berth on the line, another shootout may be in store.Follow us on Twitter
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