The Houston Roughnecks have established themselves as the team to beat in the early going of the XFL season, and the West Division leaders will be heavily favored in their Week 5 matchup.
The Roughnecks come into the home game vs. the Seattle Dragons as a 12.5-point favorite according to FanDuel Sportsbook – about two touchdowns, in a league where extra points are far from guaranteed.
Seattle Creates Quarterback Controversy
Houston faced their toughest test of the season last week, when they traveled to Dallas to take on the Renegades. The Roughnecks escaped with a 27-20 win, moving the team to 4-0 on the season and giving Houston a two-game lead in the West.
Seattle comes into Week 5 facing a quarterback controversy. Brandon Silvers has taken most of the snaps for the Dragons, but was benched at halftime last week against the St. Louis BattleHawks after leading the offense to just three points and two first downs in the first half.
B.J. Daniels entered the game in the second half and led a comeback that came up just short, as the Dragons lost 23-16 to fall to 1-3 on the season.
“We needed to get a bit of a spark and B.J. did a wonderful job of using his legs and his arms to help us score,” Seattle head coach Jim Zorn told reporters. “I hate the idea that we have a quarterback controversy, but at that time of the game, it warranted making a chance. All of it wasn’t necessarily on Brandon, but we had to move the ball.”
Zorn said that he could envision using both Silvers and Daniels in Week 5, and acknowledged that the Roughnecks will pose a serious problem for his squad.
“They are a very good team and they’re opportunistic and steady,” Zorn told reporters. “I’m happy for them. I would be more happy for us if we were in their situation, but we’re not and we’ve due ourselves a hole.”
St. Louis Drawing Fans and Winning Games
The BattleHawks (3-1) lead the East Division, and have proven to be one of the biggest success stories in the XFL. The football-starved fans of St. Louis have shown up in droves to watch their new local team, with the team’s first two home games drawing two of the three largest crowds in the league so far.
The BattleHawks are responding to that demand by opening up the upper deck of The Dome at America’s Center for their Week 7 game against the Los Angeles Wildcats. But first, St. Louis will travel to DC in Week 5 to take on the reeling DC Defenders (2-2). The BattleHawks are a four-point favorite in the contest.
XFL Week 5 Odds
- Seattle Dragons (+12.5) vs. Houston Roughnecks
- New York Guardians (+8) vs. Dallas Renegades
- St. Louis BattleHawks (-4) vs. DC Defenders
- Tampa Bay Vipers (+2) vs. Los Angeles Wildcats
Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Meanwhile, XFL officials say they are “closely monitoring” the coronavirus outbreak. Los Angeles hosts the Tampa Bay Vipers on Sunday, and the city has already declared a local emergency related to the outbreak.
While there are no plans to bar fans from the game, as has been done for some soccer matches in Italy, the XFL says it will take all necessary steps to respond to the virus.
“The health and safety of the entire XFL family is of the utmost importance,” the XFL told Pro Football Talk via email. “We are in regular contact with our Medical Advisory Board, as well as health and public safety officials on a national and local basis. Additionally, we have connected with other professional sports leagues to share information and best practices. Consideration of this input, a fact-based perspective, and our priority for safety will guide our decisions going forward.”