2023 XFL Championship Game: Renegades vs. Defenders Preview, Prediction
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A wildly entertaining inaugural season of the revamped XFL is finally drawing to a close, and all that’s left is to crown a champion.
Following the division championship games that took place over the weekend, the Arlington Renegades are set to face off against the D.C. Defenders for the title.
It’s one of the most unlikely title game matchups you’ll see in any sport.
The Renegades were the only team to enter the postseason with a losing record at 4-6 but finished second in the South Division. They had the upset of the season as they took down the Houston Roughnecks—a team that beat them twice during the regular season—26-11 on Saturday to advance to the final.
Meanwhile, D.C. has been the wire-to-wire best team in the XFL, losing just one game in the regular season and dominating a talented Seattle Sea Dragons team in the North Division Championship.
With the title game two weeks away, here’s a quick preview of what to look for when the two teams face off.
The key for Arlington and head coach Bob Stoops will be its defense, which managed to hold Houston to just a season-low 11 points in Saturday’s win.
But it’ll have its hands full against a dominant D.C. rushing attack spearheaded by Abram Smith. Smith led the XFL in rushing yards with 741, helping the Defenders rush for a league-best 1,408 yards.
D.C. also has a strong passing game led by quarterback Jordan Ta’amu, who had 1,894 yards in the regular season, the third-most in the XFL. He does a great job of taking care of the ball, as he has just three interceptions.
It’s the least of any signal caller with at least 200 pass attempts.
Another obvious key for the Renegades is the play of quarterback Luis Perez, who was excellent against the Roughnecks, throwing for 289 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.
Perez has been a bit turnover prone with seven interceptions, third-most in the league. So, it’ll take another flawless performance if the Renegades have any shot of beating D.C.
As great as Arlington’s upset was, the Defenders just have too many weapons and too much talent not to finish off their phenomenal season with a title.
Prediction: Defenders 34, Renegades 17
The XFL Championship will take place May 13 at 8 p.m. ET at the Alamodome in San Antonio.