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Brahmas vs. Battlehawks, One to Secure the XFL Title

San Antonio Brahmas wide receiver Jontre Kirklin (13) celebrates a touchdown.
© Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

Will the third time be a charm for the San Antonio Brahmas on Sunday night? The Brahmas (7-3) will face the St. Louis Battlehawks (7-3) for the third time this season and the second week in a row in St. Louis. The Brahmas narrowly lost to the Battlehawks last week, 13-12, after a 51-yard game-winning field goal attempt by Ryan Santoso was unsuccessful late in the fourth quarter.

Do the Battlehawks simply own the Brahmas, given their 3-0 record all-time against them? Who will move on to the UFL Championship Game next week? Let's review the key players for each team and make a prediction for this playoff game.

What Is at Stake?

The stakes are clear: the winner will be crowned the XFL Conference champion and move on to the UFL Championship game next weekend. Meanwhile, the losing team will see their season end and spend the offseason reflecting on "shoulda, woulda, and coulda" scenarios that might have changed the outcome.

An interesting subplot has arisen this week regarding San Antonio defenders potentially targeting Battlehawks quarterback A.J. McCarron's injured ankle during last week's game. Brahmas cornerback Teez Tabor addressed the topic head-on, admitting he told McCarron, "I'm trying to inflict bodily harm on you." While Tabor's comments reflect the violent nature of football and may be receiving more attention than they should, athletes are always looking for bulletin board material, and this could provide extra motivation for the Battlehawks.

Key Players for the Brahmas

  • Jontre Kirklin, WR: Kirklin had his best game of the year against St. Louis last weekend, posting season highs in catches (7) and receiving yards (127). He is now second in the league in receiving yards (614) and will need another dominant performance for the Brahmas to win, given injuries are decimating San Antonio's skill positions. The Brahmas are trying to overcome key injuries to quarterback Chase Garbers, tight end Cody Latimer, and running backs John Lovett and Anthony McFarland.

  • Tavante Beckett, LB: Beckett and the top-scoring defense in the UFL will need to be at their best to hold the Battlehawks significantly below their scoring average of 26 points per game, as they did last weekend when St. Louis scored only 13 points. Beckett, named to the All-UFL defensive team this week, is third in the league in total tackles (72) and tied for second in tackles for loss (9).

Key Players for the Battlehawks

  • A.J. McCarron, QB: McCarron needs to improve his performance against the Brahmas' defense after finishing last week's game 10-for-24 for 115 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. With San Antonio's offense expected to struggle, McCarron must manage the game by quickly getting the ball to his playmakers and limiting turnovers. St. Louis had four players named to the All-UFL team on offense, so the talent is there to do a better job lighting up the scoreboard.

  • Willie Harvey, LB: Harvey, named to the All-UFL defensive team and a contender for the Defensive Player of the Year award, leads the league in total tackles (78) and is tied for second in tackles for loss (9). Over the past four games, Harvey has been a tackling machine with 37 tackles and 4 sacks. Expect him to have another double-digit tackling game with several opportunities to generate a turnover.


The Brahmas defense will once again demonstrate why it is the top unit in the league, keeping San Antonio in the game until halfway through the fourth quarter. However, the offensive injuries will ultimately be too much to overcome, and the Battlehawks will make more key plays to secure a spot in the UFL Championship Game.

Final score: St. Louis Battlehawks 21, San Antonio Brahmas 17.

Broadcast Information

  • Time/Date: 7 p.m. EST, Saturday, June 9

  • Location: The Dome at America's Center, St. Louis, Missouri

  • TV: Fox

  • Radio: Fox Sports on SiriusXM

Betting Information

  • Betting Spread: Brahmas +3, -115

  • Betting Money Line: Brahmas +140, Battlehawks -165

  • Over/Under: 44

Note: Betting information is provided per FanDuel Sportsbook.


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