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D.C. Defenders vs. Memphis Showboats: Best of the Worst

D.C. Defenders
© Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

The D.C. Defenders (3-5, 2-3 XFL Conference) are back on the field Sunday and although their playoff drive came to an abrupt end last week, the Defenders hope to end the season on an upward trend. Standing in the way this week are the Memphis Showboats (1-7, 0-4 USFL Conference), who come into the game trying to find a way to halt their seven-game losing streak. Will the Defenders stand tall and finish this season with pride or will the Showboats finally decide to play a complete game?

D.C. Defenders: Saving Face

The Defenders came into the season with high expectations and plans to follow up an XFL North Division Championship. Unfortunately, the season has instead been lackluster at best. After last week’s 27-12 loss to the San Antonio Brahmas eliminated the Defenders from playoff contention the only thing fans and players can look forward to is winning the last two games of the season. The Defenders come into the game confident that they are the better team but confidence does not score touchdowns or get stops on defense. The very two things that have plagued the Defenders this season.

D.C. Defenders
© Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

The Defenders enter the game with the sixth-ranked defense in the United Football League. There are only two teams worse defensively and ironically one of those teams is the Showboats. The Defenders season has been ripe with inconsistency on both sides of the ball oftentimes leaving fans bewildered about the game plan.

Fortunately, this week’s opponent has been plagued with a season of even worse football. The Defenders need a convincing win this weekend to begin separating themselves from the basement dwellers of the UFL. Finishing with a .500 record is the only way the Defenders can salvage anything from this ho-hum season. 

Memphis Showboats: Season-Long Struggles

The Showboats began the season with an 18-12 victory over the Houston Roughnecks. They then lost a heartbreaker to San Antonio (6-2, 3-1 XFL Conference) by one point. The rest of the Showboats season has been reminiscent of the 2008 Detroit Lions who forgot how to play football for an entire season, finishing 0-16.

The Showboats’ offense and defense are ranked last in the UFL. There has not been much to rave about when it comes to the Showboats’ season but their lone standout star could prove a game-changer in Sunday’s matchup. Wide receiver Daewood Davis has been a problem for every secondary he has faced.

Davis is currently sitting second in receiving yards behind Hakeem Butler (St. Louis Battlehawks) and tied for first in touchdowns with 5. If the Showboats have plans for an upset Sunday it is going to have to first start on defense. The Showboats will have to slow down Defenders’ quarterback Jordan Ta’amu, one of the UFL’s most electric signal callers. 

Memphis Showboats
© Chris Day/The Commercial Appeal/USA TODAY NETWORK

The Showboats are at home for Sunday’s contest and will be honoring educators, healthcare professionals, first responders and veterans. The weekend-long celebration, "Hats Off to Heroes," will donate $5 from every ticket sold to the aforementioned groups.

D.C. Defenders’ Keys to the Game

The Defenders will need to lean on star QB Ta’amu to continue his stellar season and continue carving up UFL secondaries but regardless of how well Ta’amu and the offense play, the defense will have to stack up against the threat of Showboats’ star WR Davis. The Defenders’ defense ranks last in stopping the run and the Showboats are last in rushing yards, ultimately creating a push in the running game. The Defenders’ secondary will need to game plan the passing attack of the Showboats and shade to the side of the standout receiver.

Game Prediction

The Defenders have a strong team that often finds itself in less-than-ideal situations especially on third down with an abysmal 34 percent success rate. If the Defenders continue to find themselves in third down and long situations, Sunday’s game will be tedious. If that is the case the Defenders’ chances of winning will decrease but this Showboats’ team has not proven a formidable foe to any opponent all season and it should be much of the same this weekend as the Showboats continue to do their best to find their second win on the year.

Fans should expect an exciting first half, but in this battle of attrition, the second half will be dominated by the more talented team. From the top of the roster to the bottom, sans the WR position, the Defenders’ talent will overwhelm the Showboats.

Final score: D.C. Defenders 27, Memphis Showboats 13

Broadcast Information

  • Time/Date: 2:30 p.m. EST, Sunday, May 26

  • Location: Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium (Memphis, Tenn.)

  • TV: FOX

  • Radio: FOX Sports on SiriusXM


Michigan Football
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