East-Leading Rage Host West-Leading Las Vegas Outlaws Saturday; Orlando May Enter Showdown Without Injured Starting QB Jeff Brohm
STAMFORD, CONN. – The undefeated Orlando Rage will look to clinch the first XFL playoff spot this weekend when they host the West-leading Las Vegas Outlaws on Saturday night at the Citrus Bowl (8:00 p.m. ET on NBC). An Orlando win, coupled with losses by the Chicago Enforcers and New York/New Jersey Hitmen, would guarantee the Rage one of the two playoff spots in the Eastern Division.
Orlando enters the game as the only XFL team to score more than 100 points this season (128) and leads the league with 25.6 points per game; while Las Vegas defense has allowed the least points in the league (39 total for a 7.8 per-game average).
But the Rage (5-0) will probably face the tough defense of the Outlaws (3-2) without the services of starting QB Jeff Brohm. Brohm suffered a slight concussion when he was knocked out of last Sunday’s win in Memphis in the first quarter. He was replaced by Brian Kuklick, who proceeded to rack up 207 yards and a TD pass in three quarters of work.
Whoever gets the nod at quarterback, the Outlaws defense will need to worry about a Rage running attack which averages a league-best 132.8 yards per game, despite the fact that RB Derrick Clark’s 69 yards last Sunday marked the single-game high by a Rage player. Clark has also scored a rushing touchdown in each of Orlando’s five games.
Things will be just as interesting when “He Hate Me” and the Outlaws’ offense has the ball. Despite the undefeated record, Orlando’s defense is dead last in the XFL, having given up 1,515 yards on the season, nearly 100 yards more than any other XFL team.
Las Vegas RB Rod “He Hate Me” Smart has proven he is more than just a catchy nickname, as he is now third in the XFL in rushing yards on the season with 302, and is averaging 3.8 per carry. Saturday in Orlando is his homecoming, as Smart is a native of nearby Lakeland.
The Outlaws, entrenched in a three-team tie for first place in the Western Division, do have a question at QB, with early-season starter Ryan Clement eager to return from a shoulder injury which has sidelined him since week two. Newcomer Mark Grieb has started the last two games, but threw for only 98 yards and had two interceptions in last Sunday’s loss to the Chicago Enforcers at Soldier Field. Coach Jim Criner will make the decision late in the week.
Whoever takes the snaps, Orlando will have to keep an eye on explosive WR Yo Murphy, who caught two touchdowns for Vegas last Sunday in his first game in an Outlaws uniform.
DAY - TIME (ET) - NETWORK - MATCH-UP
Saturday - 8:00 p.m. - NBC - Las Vegas Outlaws at Orlando Rage*
Sunday - 4:00 p.m. - TNN - NY/NJ Hitmen at San Francisco Demons
Sunday - 7:00 p.m. - UPN - L.A. Xtreme at Birmingham Thunderbolts
* NBC will also feature cut-ins of the Chicago Enforcers at Memphis Maniax game
WEEK SIX – WILD WEST ANYBODY’S GAME HALFWAY THROUGH:
As Orlando runs away with the East, the West is a wide-open affair, with three teams tied for the top spot and Memphis nipping at their heels. A look at the XFL standings and schedule:
Saturday, March 3rd
Los Angeles 22, NY/NJ 7
San Francisco 39, Birmingham 10
Sunday, March 4th
Chicago 15, Las Vegas 13
Orlando 21, Memphis 19
OUT: C Justin Burroughs (Back), DE Kendrick Burton (Back), DT Eric Kerley (Tricep), WR Damon Gourdine (Fibula). QUESTIONABLE: C Matt Hogg (Concussion), TE Nicky Savoie (Shoulder), C Ryan Thomassie (Shoulder).
OUT: LB Casey Dailey (Knee), G Paul Janus (Hand). DOUBTFUL: OL Chris Perez (Ankle and Knee). QUESTIONABLE: WR Luke Leverson (Concussion). PROBABLE: RB John Avery (Quad), DE Jason Chorak (Ankle), DB Quincy Coleman (Toe), LB Chike Egbuniwe (Shoulder), G Bryan LaBelle (Shoulder), G Rob Murphy (Knee), T Tony Ramirez (Knee).
LAS VEGAS OUTLAWS
OUT: C David Diaz-Infante (Knee). QUESTIONABLE: OL Jon Blackman (Knee), DE Kelvin Kinney (Ankle), DT Ty Parten (Back). PROBABLE: S Chris Bayne (Concussion), DT Adriano Belli (Bicep), TE Rickey Brady (Thumb), QB Ryan Clement (Shoulder), LB Kurt Gouveia (Groin), DE Michael Mason (Knee), S Brandon Sanders (Hip), DE Michael Mason (Knee).
LOS ANGELES XTREME
QUESTIONABLE: DT Curtis Eason (Quad), WR Larry Ryans (Hamstring). PROBABLE: G Chris Brymer (Hand), T Jerry Crafts (Neck), TE Frank Leatherwood (Finger), RB Ken Oxendine (Ankle), S Ricky Parker (Wrist), LB Shawn Stuckey (Shoulder).
OUT: WR Kevin Prentiss (Knee). QUESTIONABLE: OL Jesse James (Hamstring). PROBABLE: QB Marcus Crandell (Foot), WR Keith Crawford (Hamstring), WR Charles Jordan (Calf), FB Roosevelt Potts (Foot), LB Patrick Sapp (Finger), C Earl Scott (Back).
DOUBTFUL: LB Tyrell Peters (Groin). QUESTIONABLE: WR Anthony DiCosmo (Bicep), LB Haven Fields (Neck), RB Dino Philyaw (Foot), LB Bernard Russ (Leg), G Troy Stark (Knee). PROBABLE: LB Michael Barber (Wrist), CB Butler B’ ynot’e (Concussion), G David Camacho (Knee), LB Ben Hanks (Knee), LB Ron Merkerson (Concussion).
DOUBTFUL: QB Jeff Brohm (Neck). QUESTIONABLE: DT Ben Huff (Shoulder), TE Terrance Huston (Neck), S Hassan Shamsid-Deen (Shoulder). PROBABLE: DL Bill Duff (Ankle), T Dan Goodspeed (Finger), OL Garin Patrick (Finger).
SAN FRANCISCO DEMONS
OUT: WR James Hundon (Neck). DOUBTFUL: DE Jomo Cousins (Rib), C Curtice Mcfarlane (Knee), QB Mike Pawlawski (Neck). QUESTIONABLE: RB Juan Johnson (Ankle). PROBABLE: WR Travis Moore (Quad), CB Terrell Sutton (Hamstring).
The full match-ups on -
Vegas Outlaws at Orlando Rage
Saturday, March 10th 8pm ET; NBC
Enforcers at Memphis Maniax
Saturday, March 10th 8pm ET
York/New Jersey Hitmen at San Francisco Demons
Sunday, March 11th, 4pm ET; TNN
Angeles Xtreme at Birmingham Bolts
Sunday, March 11th, 7pm ET; UPN