XFL Power Rankings – Week 4 edition

By Matt Johnson
Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports

The XFL wanted to deliver fans with thrilling action and plenty of surprises, that’s exactly what we saw this weekend. After two weeks of the favorites coming out on top, Week 3 provided plenty of surprises that created for some exciting shakeup in this week’s power rankings.

When the Houston Roughnecks traveled to Tampa, many thought the Vipers would get steamrolled in blowout fashion. Instead, the Vipers delivered some unexpected excitement and battled until the end when the Roughnecks came out on top. Meanwhile, the Dallas Renegades responded in Seattle’s hostile environments to pull out their second consecutive win.

Sunday’s XFL action delivered even more entertainment for football fans. Between the St. Louis BattleHawks putting on a show in front of an incredible crowd to the Los Angeles Wildcats delivering the biggest upset of the season, this weekend had everything XFL fans could hope for.

Now coming off a wild slate of games, let’s dive right into our latest XFL Week 4 power rankings with plenty of movement on display as we prepare for upcoming weekend of the XFL season.

1. Houston Roughnecks – (3-0)

There’s only one undefeated team left and they grab the top spot in this week’s power rankings. We’re beyond talking about quarterback P.J. Walker as the clear frontrunner for XFL MVP – he needs to be a coveted NFL free agent this offseason. While he might be on the short side as a 5-foot-11 quarterback, there’s nothing small about his gaudy 748 passing yards and 12 total touchdowns.

Walker is playing at an absurd level right now and he’s got a defense that is capable of creating pressure and forcing turnovers when this team needs them most. The XFL is meant to be a high-scoring league, but Houston’s defense is a bit like the Kansas City Chiefs in its ability to turn it on in the biggest moments. Credit to head coach June Jones for bringing together the right pieces to execute this offense. If Walker and receiver Cam Phillips keep making plays, with running back James Butler hitting his stride, this team will ride to the XFL Championship Game.

2. St. Louis BattleHawks – (2-1)

The BattleHawks are impressive, but their fan base is even better. Professional football returned to St. Louis on Sunday and everyone in the city came together to show their passion for the game and to rip Stan Kroenke for stealing their beloved Rams. The fans showed up in waves hoping to watch their team put on a show, that’s exactly what they got.

After running back Christine Michael powered his way into the end zone to give the BattleHawks an early lead, the BattleHawks’ offense went quiet to finish the first quarter. So, they brought out the trickery on special teams and took it to the house for the XFL’s first kickoff return touchdown. While 12 points is all this defense needed, they kept adding on with a 23-3 lead at halftime. This team is already tough to beat with a strong defense and outstanding running game, but the crowd in St. Louis takes this team to a whole new level.

3. Dallas Renegades – (2-1)

It’s starting to come together for the Renegades. CenturyLink Field is a hostile environment with an incredible fan base and the Renegades came out of there with a win. There are a few crucial areas this team must improve, specifically on offense.

Quarterback play is king in the XFL and Landry Jones has the talent to win a championship. He must make better decisions with the football, an issue that has led to him throwing four interceptions in his first two starts. If he can eliminate his turnover woes and this offense locks in, the Renegades have a shot at an upset next weekend against the Roughnecks. If they can pull that off, Dallas might shoot back up to the No. 1 spot in the power rankings, where they started when the season began.

4. DC Defenders – (2-1)

That was ugly. Everything that could go wrong did and every player completely underwhelmed on Sunday against the Wildcats. After looking like an MVP candidate in Week 1 and making enough plays in Week 2, everything came apart on Sunday for Cardale Jones. Frankly, it reminded us of the player we saw in the NFL and that’s not what DC needs.

Of course, allowing the Wildcats to score at will with deep plays thanks to perfect passes by Josh Johnson didn’t help. We thought the Defenders might have something on defense, but it appears that was the result of Matt McGloin being horrific. This team clings to the No.4 spot in the power rankings because of their early dominance and they should rebound next week against the Vipers. However, we’re starting to question if the Defenders are capable of competing for a title.

5. Los Angeles Wildcats

This is what the Wildcats are capable of. In a game where most expected this team to get wiped out, Johnson and Co. took out the Defenders with an aerial attack and some truly incredible defense. Johnson looked like an NFL quarterback, averaging 11.1 yards per attempts with three scores and some sensational dimes deep down the field. After missing the team’s season opener and then looking rusty in his XFL debut, Johnson brought out the best of the Wildcats.

Credit also goes to Winston Moss. He received criticism for firing Pepper Johnson after Week 1, even more so after the defense didn’t improve the following week. But adjustments take time and we saw the benefit of the change with four interceptions. If the Wildcats bring this same consistency in Week 4 with the Guardians in town, they’ll be in the playoff race and moving up the power rankings.

6. Seattle Dragons

The XFL champion will be determined by quarterback play and that’s the Dragons’ Achilles heel. It’s unfortunate for football fans in Seattle because this team has the defense and offensive playmakers to win a title.

We can’t look past Brandon Silvers continuing to struggle and hurt this team. He threw another interception, missed easy throws and he limits this team’s ceiling on offense. It would be great if the Dragons could trade for another quarterback, but there’s no viable option available. It could get ugly for Silver and the Dragons on the road Week 4 in St. Louis.

7. Tampa Bay Vipers

We finally saw glimpses of excitement and a few trips to the end zone. Fittingly, it came with Quinton Flowers at quarterback and the fans standing on their feet supporting him. Just when Flowers started clicking, the Vipers went back to Taylor Cornelius and the decision even baffled Houston’s coaches.

The Vipers at least deserve credit for putting up a fight against the Roughnecks. A few mistakes, mostly by Cornelius, did this team in. Marc Trestman is sitting at 0-3, starting Flowers might be his only shot at staying employed. At the very least, football fans deserve to see some exciting football.

8. New York Guardians

There must be something about New York sports teams that creates dysfunction. After McGloin threw everyone in the locker room under the bus, the Guardians looked like a team without any direction or leadership. Because there always seems to be even worse news for sports fans in New York, its defense is terrible and that complements its atrocious offense.

It’s time for the Guardians to start fresh. Keep Luis Perez, who showed glimpses of talent on Sunday and in the AAF, as the starting quarterback to see if it provides a spark. As for the defense, all they can do is hope a humiliating loss sparks something within the locker room. If it doesn’t work out, the Guardians can get comfortable at the bottom of the power rankings.