- The Houston Roughnecks are the overwhelming 12.5-point chalk against the Seattle Dragons Saturday at 2 pm EST in Week 5 of the XFL season
- The 4-0 Roughnecks are the XFL’s last unbeaten team. Can 1-3 Seattle pull off the upset?
- The moneyline, spread and total on this game are listed below
The Houston Roughnecks keep on rolling. The Seattle Dragons keep on flailing.
These two teams are headed in opposite directions as they reach the midseason mark of the XFL schedule.
At 4-0, the Roughnecks are left standing as the XFL’s lone unbeaten squad. Instead of breathing fire, the 1-3 Dragons are barely breathing. One more loss and they can probably forget about the playoffs.
According to the oddsmakers, that next loss will come Saturday in Houston, and it will arrive in lopsided fashion. The Roughnecks opened as 13-point favorites over Seattle. That line has barely moved to Houston -12.5.
Seattle Dragons vs Houston Roughnecks Odds
|Seattle||+12.5 (-105)||+385||O 45.5 (-110)|
|Houston||-12.5 (-115)||-550||U 45.5 (-110)|
Odds taken March 5th.
Houston is also +180 chalk to win the 2020 XFL Championship.
Roughnecks Come to Pass
No team in the XFL has found a way to slow down the pass and catch combo of Roughnecks quarterback PJ Walker and wide receiver Cam Phillips. Walker has passed for a league-leading 987 yards and 12 touchdown passes. Phillips leads the XFL in receptions (21), receiving yards (333) and TD catches (7).
Cam Phillips is your BACK to BACK Star of the Week! pic.twitter.com/l7DCLGWiHn
— XFL Football Official (@BarstoolXFL_) February 26, 2020
That doesn’t bode well for a Dragons defense that is seventh in the XFL team stats in the eight-team league at defending the pass. On average, Seattle allows 226.5 yards per game through the air.
Houston Defense Causing Problems
While the Roughnecks offense is getting most of the publicity for their unbeaten start, an opportunistic defense is also contributing in a big way. In last week’s 27-20 win over the Dallas Renegades, they forced five turnovers. Four of them were by Dallas QB Landry Jones (three interceptions and a fumble).
Cornerback Deatrick Nicholls (three) and safety Cody Brown (two) are 1-2 in the XFL in interceptions. Linebackers Beniquez Brown (29) and DeMarquis Gates (28) both rate among the top five in the league in tackles.
Quarterback Issues Plague Dragons
Dragons QB Brandon Silvers is seventh in the XFL in passing yardage (539) and 10th in completion percentage (52.0). He’s thrown for six TDs and been picked off five times. Given those hellish numbers, perhaps it’s appropriate that his passer rating is 66.6.
BJ Daniels drew the defense in and then dumped it right over for the HUGE gain
— XFL (@xfl2020) March 1, 2020
Dragons head coach Jim Zorn had finally seen enough last week. Trailing St. Louis 17-3, he benched Silvers in favor of backup BJ Daniels.
Daniels provided a bit of a spark for Seattle. He completed 5 of 10 passes for 100 yards and a TD. Daniels also ran seven times for 84 yards. However, he also threw a late-game, defeat-sealing interception.
Zorn has yet to name a starting QB for Saturday but it has to be Daniels. Seattle has scored just 64 points in four games. The Dragons haven’t scored 20 points in any game so far this season.
It’ll Be Closer Than You’d Think
Yes, Houston is 4-0. But the Roughnecks haven’t roughed any team up en route to that perfect record.
Their last three wins were all one-score decisions. They could only beat Dallas by seven points despite forcing five turnovers.
Houston’s defense has allowed 11 TDs. That’s second-highest in the league. Offensively, the Roughnecks have scored 126 points. That’s at least 26 more than any other team.
Roughnecks vs Dragons Stats
|3-1||Against the Spread||2-2|
|319.25 (4)||Total Offense||265.50 (7)|
|79.25 (7)||Rushing Offense||109.50 (3)|
|225.00 (3)||Passing Offense||226.25 (2)|
|334.25 (6)||Total Defense||337.50 (7)|
|109.25 (4)||Rushing Defense||111.25 (5)|
|240.00 (3)||Passing Offense||156.00 (7)|
|-1 (T5)||Takeaways||+2 (2)|
|31.50 (1)||Points Per Game||16.00 (7)|
|22.00 (T7)||Points Per Game Allowed||21.75 (6)|
Seattle’s defense struggled last week to deal with the run/pass threat posed by St. Louis QB Jordan Ta’amu. They’ll get an even better version of that type under center in Walker. Besides his passing fancies, Walker has rushed for 104 yards, averaging 6.1 yards per carry.
It’s a bit surprising that this line hasn’t moved more toward the Dragons. Seattle is better this season against the spread (2-2) than straight up.
Last week, the Dragons went to St. Louis also as 12.5-point underdogs. Seattle didn’t win but did cover while dropping a 23-16 decision.
The Roughnecks will be 5-0 at the end of this game. But the Dragons will keep the final margin on the scoreboard closer than 12.5 points.
Pick: Seattle Dragons (+12.5)