Have we just seen the true colors of the Los Angeles Wildcats? That’s an extremely good question, but they are fully prepared to answer it. Aren’t they? It looks like they had all the pieces in place as they fashioned a masterful effort last week to beat one of the XFL’s better teams.
Now, after a rough first couple of weeks where they jettisoned their defensive coordinator and defensive captain, they can even up their record at 2-2 as they take on the New York Guardians in a game that will kick off at 2 PM ET on Saturday at MetLife Stadium, which – news flash – isn’t expected to fill up for this contest.
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The Wildcats looked sieve-like in their opener, losing by 20 points to Houston and prompting the exits of a couple of Johnsons. Pepper, the defensive coordinator, got fired, and Anthony, linebacker and captain, was shipped out as requested; traded to the DC Defenders.
Head coach Winston Moss took a little more control over the situation and the stop unit made a real comeback last week by chewing up DC’s Cardale Jones and spitting him out. They intercepted the former Charger four times and simply did not let the Defenders in the game at all. The final was 39-9, and they had things going on offense as well, with Martez Carter making a name for himself with three touchdowns.
The Guardians are looking to make a comeback of their own. They have met with a lot of speed bumps with Matt McGloin at quarterback, and he has complained in public about the game plan and play-calling – something that has drawn the ire of head coach Kevin Gilbride. McGloin injured his thorax in last weekend’s 29-9 loss to the St. Louis BattleHawks, and that leaves Gilbride with a choice between having to use Marquise Williams, who would provide the possibility of a run-pass option, and Luis Perez, who is more conventional.
For a team that has been outgained by 256 yards over the first three games, any possible solution may be welcomed.
In the XFL betting odds placed on this game by our friends at BetAnySports, the Wildcats are considerable favorites:
Los Angeles Wildcats -8
New York Guardians +8
Over 39 points -110
Under 39 points -110
The Wildcats have gone from being 9.5-point underdogs at home to being eight-point favorites on the road. That’s quite a shift, and we’re not so sure that they are ready to carry that. There are a number of variables that may not work in their favor.
One of those, naturally, is the coast-to-coast trip, which has them playing, in effect, a morning game. But there’s more. As much progress as we think Josh Johnson (114.7 QB rating) has made, it’s not the best state of affairs for him to be going into this game without his most reliable receiver, Nelson Spruce, who has been declared out with a knee injury.
On top of that, Carter is considered to be doubtful with a hip injury. We understand that running back Elijah Hood is expected back this week, and wide receiver Tre McBride had 109 yards in his first real action against DC. But you’d kind of like to see all hands on deck if you’re going to lay this kind of number.
Under McGloin, the Guardians’ offense has been listless at best. And pointing fingers at your staff in front of a national television audience is never a good sign, even if it made for “good TV.” The combination of Williams and Perez, both of whom saw action in the AAF last year, should, at the very least, shake things up a little and give the Wildcats some other things to prepare for. I’m on board with taking the points here.
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