THREE TEAMS BATTLING FOR ONE PLAYOFF SPOT IN THE EAST
STAMFORD, CONN. – First place and the inside track on the Western Division title will be on the line Saturday night when the streaking Los Angeles Xtreme and its top-ranked passing attack host the Las Vegas Outlaws and its top-ranked defense at the Los Angeles Coliseum (8:00 p.m. ET on NBC).
With just three games remaining in the regular season, the first-place Xtreme (5-2) lead the second-place Outlaws (4-3) by just a single game in the Western Division. But the West is more than a two-team affair, as just one more game back at 3-4 are both the San Francisco Demons and the Memphis Maniax, who lock up Saturday night as well.
A win by the Xtreme on Saturday night would clinch one of the two playoff berths in the West. The race for both playoff spots is still wide-open, as Western Division teams will play only intra-division games for the final three weekends.
Los Angeles comes into the game winners of three straight and led by reigning XFL Offensive Player of the Week QB Tommy Maddox, who has thrown seven touchdown passes without a single interception during the win streak.
Las Vegas will counter with its “Dealers of Doom” defense, which is easily the stingiest in the XFL, having given up an average of only slightly more than 11 points per game. The Outlaws are led by current XFL Defensive Player of the Week DT Carl Simpson.
Saturday marks the second and final regular-season meeting between the two clubs, after Los Angeles edged the Outlaws, 12-9, on a last-second field goal by Jose Cortez at Las Vegas’ Sam Boyd Stadium in Week Three. Despite the win, L.A. was unable to score a touchdown against the Vegas defense, with all twelve points coming on Cortez field goals.
WEEK 8 TV SCHEDULE
DAY TIME (ET) NETWORK MATCH-UP
Saturday 8:00 p.m. NBC Las Vegas Outlaws at Los Angeles Xtreme*
Sunday 4:00 p.m. TNN New York/New Jersey Hitmen at Orlando Rage
Sunday 7:00 p.m. UPN Birmingham Thunderbolts at Chicago Enforcers
* NBC will also feature cut-ins of the Memphis Maniax at San Francisco Demons game
EASTERN UPDATE – HITMEN FINDING NEW LIFE, BOLTS MUST REDISCOVER THUNDER
Despite their first loss of the season, a 31-6 blowout last weekend at the hands of the Los Angeles Xtreme, the Orlando Rage (6-1) remain the only team in the XFL to have clinched a post-season berth. In addition, the Rage can lock up first place in the East and assure themselves of hosting an XFL semifinal with a win this weekend over the New York/New Jersey Hitmen (4:00 p.m. ET on TNN).
The Hitmen (3-4) are in sole possession of second place, having won two straight games heading into this weekend. Trailing the Hitmen are the Birmingham Thunderbolts and Chicago Enforcers, both at 2-5, who battle each other Sunday in Chicago (7:00 p.m. ET on UPN). The loser of that game will still not be eliminated from playoff contention.
Struggling Birmingham has lost four straight games and done so by an average margin of 21.5 points.
RAGE MUST REBOUND FROM FIRST LOSS WITHOUT INJURED QB JEFF BROHM
The first-place Rage must not only rebound from the shock of their first loss of the season, but must do so without the services of their starting quarterback and the XFL’s top-rated passer, Jeff Brohm. Brohm was knocked out of the Los Angeles game in the second quarter on a sack by LB Juan Long. The Rage QB is expected to be sidelined 2-4 weeks with a separated right shoulder.
Stepping in to try to lock up a division title will be QB Brian Kuklick, who is 25-42 for 435 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions on the season.
XFL ADJUSTS SCHEDULE FOR FINAL WEEKEND
The XFL this week announced a schedule change for the final weekend of the regular season. Following is the new schedule of games for the final weekend.
Saturday, April 7
San Francisco Demons at Los Angeles Xtreme 8:00 p.m. ET
Memphis Maniax at Las Vegas Outlaws 8:00 p.m. ET
Sunday, April 8
New York/New Jersey Hitmen at Birmingham Thunderbolts 4:00 p.m. ET
Orlando Rage at Chicago Enforcers 7:00 p.m. ET