XFL 2023 Playoff Image: Sea Dragons Earn Last Spot by Tiebreaker; Here’s a look at both playoff semifinals
The XFL’s 40-game regular season — four games a week for 10 weeks — ended Sunday night, and it took all 40 to decide which team earned fourth and last place in the playoffs.
The Seattle Sea Dragons went into their duel with the Vegas Vipers Sunday night knowing they had to at least win to match the St. Louis Battlehawks’ 7-3 record. The Sea Dragons clinched the win, 28-9, as well as last place in the playoffs, with the deciding factor surprisingly dropping to fifth spot on the XFL’s list of playoff tiebreakers.
The Sea Dragons, who went 7-1 after a 2-0 start in the last eight, have had a difficult week. Defensive lineman Chris Smith, who also played for five different teams in eight seasons in the NFL, died last Monday at the age of 31. Seattle wore Smith’s No. 42 on their helmets and had his jersey on the sidelines.
Seattle’s win knocked out the Battlehawks, who got an absolute monster performance from AJ McCarron on Saturday (more on that below). First, let’s dive into the playoff matchups.
XFL playoffs are set
|PLAYOFF SEMIFINALS||APPOINTMENT TIME||TV|
Arlington Renegades with the Houston Roughnecks
Saturday, April 29 at 7 p.m. ET
Seattle Sea Dragons at DC Defenders
Sunday, April 30, 3 p.m. ET
The championship game will feature the winners of those two encounters, with play beginning at 3:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 13 on ABC.
Here’s a look at the week 10 results (Check out the final XFL regular season rankings here).
St Louis Battlehawks 53, Orlando Guardians 28
DC Defenders 29, San Antonio Brahmas 28
Houston Roughnecks 25, Arlington Renegades 9
Seattle Sea Dragons 29, Vegas Vipers 9
Sea Dragons lead Vipers, knock Battlehawks out of playoffs
Seattle was only leading 6-0 at halftime, perhaps feeling a little nervous in a game desperate to win. But after that it was all Sea Dragons. Seattle scored a touchdown on four consecutive drives from the end of the second quarter through the beginning of the fourth quarter.
Sea Dragons quarterback Ben DiNucci threw for 339 yards with 3 TDs and 2 INTs. Former NFL reception leader Josh Gordon led Seattle with nine catches for 115 yards. Juwan Green had five catches for 88 yards.
Two of Seattle’s three losses this season came to the DC Defenders – 22-18 in Week 1 and 34-33 in Week 8 – and they will now face each other in the playoffs for the third time.
McCarron sets XFL’s all-time TD record
AJ McCarron might not have been an NFL star, but he was an absolute beast in the XFL. The Battlehawks quarterback threw SIX touchdown passes Saturday and went 28 of 35 for 420 yards. McCarron seems to be the front runner for XFL MVP. In a game that could have a playoff spot at stake, St. Louis scored just 53 points.
Granted, it came against the Orlando Guardians, who have won a game all season – which inexplicably gave the DC Defenders their only loss.
McCarron’s six TDs gave him 24 for the year. It’s the most thrown by an XFL quarterback in any of the league’s three seasons — the other two being the 2020 season, which was abandoned after five games due to COVID-19, and the original 2001 season, when Tommy Maddox threw 18 touchdown passes.
The question to McCarron: Could he return to the NFL?? The Bengals’ fifth-round pick in 2014 — he also played briefly with four other teams totaling 6 TD passes and 3 INTs in the NFL — would be eligible.
A look at who’s in
- DC defenders
- Seattle Sea Dragons
- Houston bullies
- Arlington Renegades
Holders of the XFL’s best record, DC (9-1), won another thrill last weekend, defeating the San Antonio Brahmas 29-28.
The Brahmas’ loss knocked them out of playoff contention, meaning the Arlington Renegades are in it — despite a 4-6 record and more points than they had after Sunday’s loss. Not only did the Renegades and the Roughnecks play in Sunday’s regular-season finals for both teams (the Roughnecks won 25-9), they’ll also face off again in the South Division Championship playoffs next Saturday — in case you’re up would love to watch some football as the third and final day of the NFL Draft wraps up.
A look at who’s outside
- Vipers of Las Vegas
- Orlando Guardians
- San Antonio Brahmas
- St Louis Battlehawks
The Vipers couldn’t play a spoiler against the Sea Dragons on Sunday night, but Vegas was more competitive in the second half of the season. Rod Woodson’s team clinched their second win of the season in convincing fashion against the Brahmas in Week 7 and continued that performance with close losses to St. Louis and Houston.
The Battlehawks led the league in viewership, showing that St. Louis definitely still wants a football team. Of their three losses this season, two were to the DC Defenders and one to the Sea Dragons.