Saturday the XFL version 2.0 kicks off. The New York Guardians open their 2020 season Sunday, at home, against Tampa Bay. Here’s what you need to know.
Welcome to the rebooted XFL. It’s an eight-team spring league that will play 10 regular-season games. Four teams make the playoffs and the championship game is scheduled for Sunday, April 26. Locally, the New York Guardians will play their home games at MetLife Stadium, home of the Giants and Jets.
The Guardians season kicks off Sunday as they host Tampa Bay. Whether you are seeing them play live or on television EWB has what you need to know to enjoy the game.
Who: Tampa Bay Vipers at New York Guardians
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
When: Sunday, February 9, 2020, 2:00 pm EST
Weather: Temperature in the low 40s. Steady light rain should last through the day making for wet field conditions. (accuweather.com)
TV: FOX, Announcers: Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olson
Line: Guardians +2, Over/Under: 48.5 (actionnetwork.com)
What to watch for
Two creative offensive minds coach these two teams. The New York Guardians are led by former Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, a disciple of the “Run and Shoot.” On the other sideline, Marc Trestman will lead Tampa Bay, he is a former NFL (Chicago) and CFL (Montreal and Toronto) head coach. He has won three Grey Cups and was the CFL Coach of the Year in both 2009 and 2017. Needless to say, both squads should be entertaining.
New York’s offense will be run by Penn State and Oakland Raiders alum Matt McGloin at quarterback. He will have maybe the top running back corps in the XFL with big Tim Cook (250-pounds) as the primary ball carrier. Injuries to receivers DeAngelo Yancey and Tanner Gentry will hurt but not stop the Guardians offense. McGloin still has wideouts Mekale McKay, Colby Pearson, and Teo Redding as well as some big tight ends, E.J. Bibbs and Jake Sutherland to work with.
The Guardians defense overall is inexperienced at the professional level. Linebacker Ben Heeney is the leader of New York’s D. Jamar Summers, one of the top cover corners in the league, and safety AJ Hendy will lead the secondary. They will have their hands full with Trestman’s offense.
Tampa is generally regarded as having the best offensive personnel in the XFL. Former Georgia star Aaron Murray will call the signals under/behind center. He is the Bulldogs all-time leader in touchdown passes. Their talented skill position players are headlined by receivers Jalen Tolliver, Reece Horn, and running back De’Veon Smith.
There will be some subtle differences in the XFL over NFL and college football. The main ones are about pacing, extra points, and overtime. XFL commissioner Oliver Luck has stressed that their game will be played at a much faster pace.
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- Games are played with a running clock until the final two minutes of each half, coaches only have two timeouts per half. Any replays will come from an official in the booth.
- There are no kicked extra points. Teams will have the option to run a play from one of three different locations for one, two, or three points depending on the distance.
- Overtime will work somewhat like a soccer shootout. Each team will have five attempts from the two-yard line. The team that converts the most wins. If a game is still tied. The teams will do the same thing but in a sudden-death situation.
- Also, look for changes to kickoffs and punts.
Our partners at The Action Network like Tampa by a field goal in this one. However, even they acknowledge that picking games this early in a new league is hard due to so many unknowns.
** For today’s game, if you’re unable to watch on television, please check out a free 7-day trial by Fubo.TV since they’ll have this game on air and ready to stream live for your viewing pleasure. Keep in mind that Fubo also works on all portable devices from cell phones, tablets, laptops, and even on your personal computers at work or home.