The XFL is scratching the itch of football fans far and wide. Here’s everything you need to know about the Week 5 Thursday Night Football XFL game, including start time, channel, live stream option, and game analysis.
XFL Games Today: Is There Thursday Night Football?
The first four weeks of the 2023 XFL season saw some teams look like title contenders and others look like … well, not quite title contenders. Here’s where you can watch tonight’s action, as well as some insights on what we might expect from each team.
Seattle Sea Dragons (2-2) vs. Houston Roughnecks (4-0)
- Date: Thursday, March 16
- Start Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
- TV Channel & Live Stream Options: ESPN, ESPN+
Bring on the Sea Dragons! Exactly a month ago, I briefly walked through predictions for each XFL team. Admittedly, the betting lines influenced some (but not all) of my thinking. Also, in fairness, I was partial to teams that were loaded at RB or at QB/WR.
My thinking was straightforward: In a newly reassembled leagued featuring more unknowns than knowns (in terms of player talent), I recommended betting on teams with the most concentrated “knowns.”
That’s why I veered away from the universally favored Arlington Renegades, despite my bullishness about TE Sal Cannella. There wasn’t enough “there” to make a championship run.
Unfortunately, I also poo-pooed the Houston Roughnecks’ chances, mostly because I didn’t trust that any of their QBs could elevate their aerial attack. More on that in a moment.
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Back to the Sea Dragons — one of my two preseason favorites (along with the St. Louis Battlehawks) for winning this year’s title. Seattle has one of the league’s top offenses. Period. Turnovers have proven costly, including Ben DiNucci’s goal-line fumble that resulted in their Week 1 defeat.
But when they’re on, they’re on. DiNucci is in sync with his three top receivers: Josh Gordon, Jahcour Pearson, and Blake Jackson. Statistically, they’re three elite producers who happen to be teammates. More than that, they make it nearly impossible for defenses to shut them down.
Because while most XFL teams — including those Houston has faced — have one alpha receiver and perhaps one decent secondary option, Seattle is loaded. The Roughnecks haven’t faced a passing attack remotely as talented and deep as this one.
Additionally, Morgan Ellison has run away with Seattle’s starting RB job after technically beginning the season behind Brenden Knox on the depth chart. Knox has been hobbled, forcing the team to put their faith in Ellison, who now leads the league in rushing yards. Incredible.
Just as the Roughnecks have not faced a passing attack as tough as this one, so too with Ellison. Seattle can beat teams on the ground and through the air. Arguably, only Houston and St. Louis can (convincingly) make the same claim.
Now, let’s not get carried away. Houston leads the league in scoring and scoring differential. Their defense is top-notch — plain and simple. Even without bell cow Max Borghi last weekend, they crushed the Orlando Guardians.
That should concern Seattle, whose defense is middling at best. Also concerning is how Houston has the second-best WR trio (second only to Seattle’s aforementioned WR trio). Jontre Kirklin, Deontay Burnett, and Travell Harris have posted fantastic numbers. Kirklin, in particular, has dominated with 15 receptions on 18 targets.
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Even No. 4 receiver Cedric Byrd is a name to watch, as he’s caught all 15 of his targets. How the heck can the Sea Dragons hold their own against such a diverse collection of playmakers?
Whether you’re new to the XFL or have been following the league for a while, this is (so far) the game of the year, featuring arguably the two best offenses. Seattle started 0-2 but has been coming on strong lately. Houston is 4-0, and if we include their abridged 2020 campaign, this franchise remains undefeated at 9-0.
The stakes are huge. A Roughnecks win will push them closer to securing a playoff spot only halfway through the season. A Sea Dragons win will keep them firmly in postseason contention in what has become the more competitive XFL division.
And if the start time is a bit late for you, remember that we just set our clocks forward one hour. So in your mind, it might still be an hour earlier. Use that to your advantage. Stay up late. It should be worth it.