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D.C. Defenders Look to Keep Control of Their Playoff Future

D.C. Defenders secondary celebrate play
© UFL | DC Defenders 2024

The D.C. Defenders are still in contention and vying for control of the final playoff position but a week 8 rematch with the hottest team in the conference threatens both. The Defenders can shake up the XFL conference while seizing control of their playoff run, and step one is to win on Sunday.

The Rematch

The D.C. Defenders (3-4, 2-2) met the St. Louis Battlehawks (5-2, 3-0) in week 5 and sans the second quarter, the game was completely one-sided. The offense struggled to find their identity and quarterback Jordan Ta’amu struggled to find his targets, throwing 3 interceptions. The Defenders’ secondary had no answers for Hakeem Butler who recorded 6 receptions for 147 yards and 2 touchdowns in a 33-point route by the Battlehawks.

The Defenders face a big undertaking in this weekend’s rematch. They are facing the second-place MVP candidate in AJ McCarron and will be led by their third-starting QB Jalan McClendon. McClendon has seen limited action on the field this season and will have to adjust quickly if the Defenders stand any chance to win. The defense will again have their hands full with 6-foot-6 WR Hakeem Butler. Butler is leading the UFL with 38 receptions, 567 yards and 5 touchdowns.

Defenders Playoff Picture

The Defenders are tied in conference play with the San Antonio Brahmas (5-2, 2-2) and ironically both are facing very different foes this weekend. The Brahmas are facing the bottom-dwelling Arlington Renegades (1-6, 0-3) who at this point are only looking to spoil someone’s season. With a Defenders win and a Brahmas loss the Defenders would take over the second playoff spot in the XFL conference and maintain control of their playoff destiny. If both teams lose, miracles do happen, then the playoff scene for the Defenders will come down to their week 10 outcome and tie-breaking scenarios. Essentially, win and stay in.

Game Prediction

Last week’s game versus the Michigan Panthers left the Defenders battered and bewildered.  Losing QB Jordan Ta’amu will prove vital to an offense that has lacked identity all season. McClendon will show signs of light, just as he did last week, but the Battlehawks top passing defense will dominate the skies. Making the Defenders depend on a less-than-stellar running attack. AJ McCarron and Hakeem Butler will continue to hone their connection as no one has been able to slow down the sure-handed WR.

D.C. Defenders QB Jalan McClendon
© UFL | DC Defenders 2024

There is no reason to expect a much different outcome than that of week 5 in this rematch. The Defenders have had a season that often seems to be spinning in the mud. They will need to find traction this Sunday or this season is likely to spin out of control.

Final Score: St. Louis Battlehawks 35 - D.C. Defenders 10

Broadcast Information

  • Date/Time: Sunday, May 19 @ 12:00 PM EST

  • Location: The Dome at America’s Center (St. Louis, MO)

  • TV: ABC

  • Radio: ESPN Xtra | SiriusXM


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