Game Preview: Memphis Showboats at Arlington Renegades, Saturday 11 May, 2024

  • Memphis Showboats (1-5) at Arlington Renegades (0-6)
  • Saturday, May 11 at 12:00 PM CT (1:00 PM ET)
  • Choctaw Stadium, Arlington, TX
  • Tickets: Ticketmaster and Stubhub
  • Network: ESPN (Streaming)
  • Announcers: Jorge Sedano (Play-by-play), Kirk Morrison (Analyst), Eric Mac Lain (Sideline Analyst), Ian Fitzsimmons (Field Reporter)
  • Odds: Arlington -3, O/U 45 (DraftKings)

The Memphis Showboats and Arlington Renegades will both be looking to stop losing streaks when they clash at Choctaw Stadium on Saturday. Memphis has lost five in a row since an opening-day victory over Houston, while Arlington is still searching for its first victory this season. This game will be the first and only matchup between Arlington and Memphis this season.

Arlington currently sits in last place in the XFL Conference, while Memphis has the same record as the Houston Roughnecks; at 1-5, they are tied for last place in the USFL Conference. The Showboats need a win to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.

What do we know?

In the Showboats game against the powerhouse Birmingham Stallions, the decision was to start Case Cookus, who completed 15 passes on 23 attempts for 115 yards and one touchdown. Before his removal from the game in the third quarter, he threw no interceptions but fumbled twice. Troy Williams came in and completed six passes on 13 throws, including one touchdown and one interception. Both quarterbacks had meager running stats, with Cookus carrying once for 4 yards and Williams carrying twice for 11 yards.

Doug Martin, the offensive coordinator for Memphis, remarked that the reason to insert Williams into the game was to attempt to give the Showboats a spark on offense. The coaching staff must have liked what they saw, since the current depth chart for the Showboats has Williams as the starter for the upcoming game. Williams was the starter in week five against the Michigan Panthers, but turnovers and an anemic offense were part of a Showboats loss.

Every starting pivot for the Showboats has faced defensive pressure this season, as the Memphis offensive line has struggled to keep the quarterback safe. For the Showboat’s sake, hopefully they have made the necessary adjustments this week.

Memphis’ offense features Daewood Davis, Jonathan Adams, Vinny Papale, and Sage Surratt, but Papale and Surratt have been nursing lower body injuries this week. If they do participate in this game, they may be playing wounded.

Defensively, Memphis should be able to apply pressure to Arlington’s Luis Perez, as he shouldn’t be able to escape the pocket as well as Stallion’s quarterback Martinez did last week. Instead, look for Perez to combat a Memphis pass rush by making quick passes and good decisions.

In a week six interconference matchup, the Arlington Renegades suffered their sixth consecutive loss on Sunday afternoon versus the Michigan Panthers. Arlington placekicker Jonathan Garibay hit a 48-yard go-ahead field goal with just under a minute remaining in the game, only to be matched by Michigan placekicker Jake Bates, as he hit a walk-off field goal from 42 yards out.

The Renegades, the kings of demoralizing losses, have lost three games on field goals as time expired or with less than five seconds left. In the Renegades’ six losses, the average margin of defeat is just six points. Four of their six losses brought them within one score at the final whistle.

Arlington’s quarterback Luis Perez leads the UFL in passing yards, throwing for 1,330 yards. Only A.J. McCarron (STL) and Jordan Ta’amu (DC) have both hit the 1,000-yard plateau this season. Statistically, the Renegades are stronger than the Showboats, as they boast the No. 2 total offense in the UFL, while Memphis is No. 8. Defensively, the two squads are more equal, with Arlington and Memphis being Nos. 7 and 8 in scoring defense, respectively.

Arlington features some of the UFL’s best receivers, with Perez spreading out passes to the cadre of Sal Cannella, Tyler Vaughns, Deontay Burnett, and Javonta Payton. On the ground, running back De’Veon Smith is banged up this week but is still likely to play. We may see a newly acquired Devin Darrington this week if he is ready at game time. Memphis has allowed 570 rushing yards so far this season, and Arlington might be able to take advantage of this weakness.

What should we expect?

Arlington came so close to their first season victory last week, if not for Jake Bates’s amazing leg.

With the Renegades allowing an average of 315 yards and 25.5 points per game and Memphis allowing an average of 340 yards and 28.5 points per game, Arlington has a slight edge. This, plus a home field advantage, appears to be one of the differences between these two squads in this game.

Oddsmakers agree, giving the Renegades a 3-point edge in the final score. Could this be the 2023 XFL champions’ first win of the season? If not this week against the hapless Showboats, then there will be doubt that Arlington will ever notch the win column in 2024.

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