The opening week of the 2020 XFL Schedule is set to arrive with a four game lineup that includes the Tampa Bay Vipers heading to Met Life Stadium to take on the New York Guardians. In the inaugural season of the revamped football league, many questions are still left to answer as these two teams continue to build their roster to compete for the XFL Championship. Entering the XFL season openers, the odds have the Guardians as a +400 favorite to win the championship sitting just behind the Dallas Renegades (+300). Meanwhile the Vipers sit tied with the Los Angeles Wildcats at +500 odds to win the championship.
As you look at the New York Guardians, the team is coached by former New York Giants quarterback coach Kevin Gilbride. With Gilbride running the team, the Guardians have a solid roster led by former NFL quarterback Matt McGloin who is expected to be the leader of the team’s offense. In addition the team has a very talented wide receiver corps led by DeAngelo Yancey and Demarcus Ayers. On the defensive side of the ball the team is led by safety A.J. Hendy who has been around the ball a lot during both minicamp and training camp.
As you look at the Tampa Bay Vipers, the team is coached by former NFL head coach and offensive guru Marc Trestman. Trestman will be in charge of leading a Vipers offense that will be built around former Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray. Murray who was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs, battled injuries after being drafted and failed to land with a team. Despite not finding the field, Murray was a playmaker while in college throwing for at least 24 touchdowns and 3,000 yards in all four seasons. Meanwhile on the defensive side of the ball the Vipers are led by cornerback Jalen Collins, Arrion Springs and Ricky Walker.
Here is an XFL Game Preview and XFL Pick and Prediction for the upcoming matchup between the Tampa Bay Vipers and New York Guardians at Met Life Stadium.
Matt McGloin Must Protect the Football
The former Penn State Nittany Lion quarterback has the talent to be a very successful quarterback for the Guardians as he showed during his time in college he can make plays. Despite the talent, McGloin had issues protecting the football over his short time in the NFL. Over the course of five seasons in the NFL in just 13 games (7 starts), McGloin threw 11 interceptions over 211 pass attempts while also losing two fumbles. If the Guardians want to have success in week 1 and during the 2020 XFL season, McGloin will need to protect the football while giving the team the opportunity to put points on the score board.
Run the Football
With Aaron Murray under center the expectations are high on the Vipers passing attack heading into the 2020 XFL season. That said, for Murray and the offense to have success against the Guardians they must establish the run early to force the Guardians defense into looking into the backfield. One weapon that may be the leader in the backfield is former South Florida Bulls star Quinton Flowers. Flowers possesses the speed and athletic ability to take the ball to the end zone on any run. In addition, the early success will allow the Vipers to use the play action pass while getting Murray outside of the pocket.
Tampa Bay Vipers vs. New York Guardians XFL Pick and Prediction
As these two teams get set for an exciting 2020 XFL season, each team has the talent on both sides of the football to contend for the XFL championship. Despite the early odds leaning towards the Guardians (+400) to win the championship, the playmaking abilities of the Vipers will be just too much for the Guardians defense to slow down in this matchup. Take the Vipers on the road as your XFL pick for Week 1 of the 2020 XFL schedule.
Tampa Bay Vipers vs. New York Guardians
Sunday February 9th, 2020
2 pm ET @ Met Life Stadium
Pick & Prediction: Tampa Bay Vipers