XFL Week 4 power rankings: Roughnecks continue to lead pack

XFL head coaches can rest easy. There are no longer any winless teams in the league.

The Tampa Bay Vipers pulled off a surprising upset with a dominant shutout against the DC Defenders – who are in full free fall – and earned their first victory in franchise history. Still, the Houston Roughnecks remain the team to beat after they won another game and improved to 4-0 as the league’s only undefeated squad.

And while a pack of teams in the middle continue to alternate spots, the St. Louis BattleHawks have been a consistent presence near the top of the rankings, thanks in large part to quarterback Jordan Ta’amu.

Here are the Week 4 power rankings:

1. Houston Roughnecks (4-0)

It was a positive sign that quarterback P.J. Walker didn’t have the cleanest performance and that receiver Cam Phillips was held to just one catch for 9 yards, but the Roughnecks still prevailed 27-20 on the road against the Dallas Renegades. An even better sign was that a defense that has allowed the league’s second-highest touchdown total of 11, generated five turnovers to stifle Dallas.

Last week: No. 1

Houston Roughnecks quarterback P.J. Walker is interviewed by a Fox sideline reporter after a three-point conversion against the Dallas Renegades. (Photo: Richard Rodriguez, Getty Images)

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2. St. Louis BattleHawks (3-1)

There’s a new leader atop the XFL East, the four-team conference. With the DC Defenders continuing to tumble, the BattleHawks suddenly look like the second-best team in the XFL. And it’s not just a dominant rushing game, St. Louis can thank. Quarterback Jordan Ta’amu has played efficiently and posted his best game of the year. He has showed touch and accuracy and power on his throws. He has this offense humming.

Last week: No. 2

3. Dallas Renegades (2-2)

Even though they lost, the Renegades move up. That says more about how bad D.C. has been – more on that in a bit – than it does about Dallas. The Renegades have committed 12 turnovers in four games after their five against Houston doomed them. Quarterback Landry Jones has been far too inconsistent, and after he appeared to aggravate a left knee injury late in the game, his status moving forward could be in doubt.

Last week: No. 4

4. DC Defenders (2-2)

No team has been more disappointing over the last two weeks than the Defenders, who have been outscored 64-9 in that span after they lost 25-0 to the previously winless Vipers. That’s now two teams who entered their games against D.C. winless coming away with their first victory in franchise history. Quarterback Cardale Jones looks uncomfortable in the pocket and looks like he has lost confidence in his receivers. He needs to turn things around quickly.

Last week: No. 2

5. New York Guardians (2-2)

With starting quarterback Matt McGloin out with a rib injury, backup Luis Perez managed the game efficiently enough to give New York its second home victory, this one, 17-14 against the Wildcats. McGloin may still be the starter once he heals, but Perez’s performance should at least make McGloin’s leash shorter if he continues to struggle to run coach Kevin Gilbride’s offense.

Last week: No. 7

6. L.A. Wildcats (1-3)

One week after they earned their first victory in franchise history against the Defenders, the Wildcats sputtered against New York. And a familiar issue was why. Los Angeles has shown it has enough offensive talent with quarterback Josh Johnson running the system, but the Wildcats went just 2-for-12 on third-down attempts and could not stay on the field. Between that and some issues in converting red zone trips into touchdowns, and Wildcats offensive coordinator Norm Chow has some work to do.

Last week: No. 5

7. Tampa Bay Vipers (1-3)

For the first time all year, the Vipers have clawed out from dead last in these rankings. Not only did they stomp the Defenders in a 25-point shutout, but they ran for 266 yards, which is the most a team has earned in a single game all season. There hadn’t been a player to rush for 100 yards or more in an XFL game all season long until Sunday. Tampa Bay had two. This may be the path for success for coach Marc Trestman.

Last week: No. 8

8. Seattle Dragons (1-3)

And this means that we have a new team in the cellar. No one deserves more blame than coach Jim Zorn, who drew criticism on Saturday for making a baffling decision to attempt a three-point conversion after a touchdown put his team down four. Zorn later doubled down on the decision, even though his explanation made no sense, saying that the conversion would have put Seattle “one touchdown away.” First things first, Zorn needs to give backup quarterback B.J. Daniels serious consideration to start.

Last week: No. 6

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