Orlando Guardians at Houston Roughnecks 2/18/23 - XFL Picks & Predictions

Last Updated: 02/15/2023 at 1:23 PM ET

Orlando Guardians at Houston Roughnecks 2/18/23 - XFL Picks & Predictions

On Saturday, the Orlando Guardians will visit the Houston Roughnecks at TDECU Stadium in Houston, Texas in the opening game of the 2023 XFL regular season. Orlando's head coach is Terrell Buckley, who played 13 years in the NFL. Buckley has spent the last 15 seasons as a position coach at the college level. Payton Lynch, who formally played for the Denver Broncos was recently signed by Orlando to compete with Quinten Dormady and Deondre Francois for the starting quarterback position. Kelvin Taylor is expected to be the top running back for Orlando, while the wide receivers will be led by Eli Rogers and Dontez Byrd. 

On defense, the Guardians will be led on the front line by Ja’QUain Blakely, Nick Coe and Jacoby Jones amongst others, while the linebackers unit will led by Terrance Plummer and Tegray Scales, while Jeremiah Gemmel, DeCalon Brooks and Errol Thompson will see plenty of action. The secondary will be led by Matt Elam, while Josh Harvey-Clemons has played both linebacker and defensive back and will line up in the secondary for Orlando. Baylen Buchanan, Javaris Davis and others will see plenty of action in the Orlando secondary. 

The Houston Roughnecks will be coached by Wade Phillips, who has one of the most recognizable names in football. Phillips has been the head coach for the Bills, Broncos and Cowboys while also the defensive coordinator for NFL teams. Cole McDonald, Brandon Silvers and Kaleb Eleby will all battle for the starting quarterback position. McDonald has experience in the Run-and-Shoot offense for his playing days at Hawaii and offensive coordinator AJ Smith is a proponent of the Air Raid and Run-and-Shoot.

Max Broghi is expected to be a starting running back but will see plenty of passes out of the backfield. The wide receiver corps will be led by Cedric Byrd, Travel Harris, Jontre Kirklin and Deontay Burnett. With Phillips as the head coach, expect Houston to have one of the league’s best defenses beginning with a tough front line, talented linebacker corps against both the run and pass and a more than capable secondary. The Houston defense will help carry the team until its Run-and-Shoot offense comes up to speed.

Orlando is expected to be one of the worst XFL teams this season and is still unsure of who will start under center but expect Payton Lynch, who struggled last season in the USFL with five touchdown passes and four interceptions. Houston is expected to have one of the best defenses under head coach Wade Phillips, while Brandon Silvers is expected to get the starting nod at QB, although Cole McDonald has plenty of experience with Houston’s Run-and-Shoot after playing for Hawaii during his college days. Look for the Roughnecks to open with a victory. Final Score Prediction, Houston Roughnecks win and cover ATS 24-10.

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