St. Louis Battlehawks (1-0) vs. Seattle Sea Dragons (0-1): Thursday, Feb. 23 @ 9PM ET on FX & ESPN+
Odds (via FanDuel Sportsbook, hour before kickoff): Battlehawks -4.5; Battlehawks +150, Sea Dragons -175; O/U: 37.5
The Battlehawks and Sea Dragons are set to square off in Seattle for tonight’s XFL Thursday Night Football showdown, in what should be an exciting start to Week 2. Last week, the Battlehawks had trouble moving the football on offense for majority of the game. While trailing the Brahmas 13-3 with under 2 minutes to go, their offense suddenly miraculously woke up and scored 15 unanswered points to comeback and win 18-13.
The complete opposite happened last week for the Sea Dragons – as they played well in the first half, but then they completely fell apart during the second half. The momentum of the game simultaneously shifted – as soon as the Defenders fans started protesting the Beer Snake by throwing lemons on the field. Seattle was never able to recapture any momentum and eventually blew the lead to the Defenders 22-18.
Battlehawks Offense: While they did win last week, the offense did not look good by any means.. McCarron led an impressive 2-minute comeback, but before that the offense was struggling to get a first down or even get a pass off. McCarron was sacked 5 times, but on the positive note, when he did have time to throw, he had some quality receivers to target. Austin Proehl is extremely effective in the slot, scoring the game winning TD last week. Darrius Shepherd, Marcell Ateman and Hakeem Butler are all solid receiving options. RB Brian Hill is OUT for this game, he rushed for 54 on only 6 carries, highlighted by a 40-yard carry along with 3 receptions for 26 yards, his replacement starter is expected to be Mataeo Durant.
Battlehawks Defense: The looked very impressive last week stuffing the run with 8 TFL, led by run stuffing defensive linemen, linebackers who fly around to the ball and a talented safety in Ben DeLuca. The key for the Battlehawks is they need to play well in the secondary and make sure they have someone who can guard Josh Gordon and the rest of Seattle’s receivers.
Sea Dragons Offense: Quarterback Ben DiNucci had some highs and a lot of lows in first start last Sunday against the Defenders. If he does not turn it around, something to keep an eye on would be them switching to backup Steven Montez, who is talented enough to step in and take the job from him. Josh Gordon appeared to be shaking off some rust, but he demonstrated that can still make an impact and be a top receiver in the league. He scored his first XFL TD, along with 6 REC-74 YDS. Jahcour Pearson is definitely someone to keep an eye on, he led the team last week with 12 REC-95 YDS. Seattle has an opportunity to win this game through their passing game, but it’s also key for them to establish the run game around their RB Brendan Knox.
Sea Dragons Defense: St. Louis’s offensive line struggled a ton in Week 1, QB A.J. McCarron was barely able to get the ball out of his hands. Seattle’s pass rush could be the key to this game, while they didn’t have a sack in Week 1, there should be plenty of opportunities for edge-rushers such as Tuzar Skipper, Elijah Ponder and Shareef Miller to make an impact
Final Score Prediction: Seattle Sea Dragons 29-St. Louis Battle Hawks 22
Analysis: Seattle has to feel disappointed with how their last game ended, would expect them to be motivated to turn it around tonight in front of their home crowd. This game has a chance to be very close and potentially high scoring, but it could also end up becoming lopsided if either one of their offensive lines gets exposed. St. Louis proved they are very capable of defending the run, but the difference tonight will be Seattle winning through their passing attack.