The bad news is the St. Louis Battlehawks (7-3) easily defeated the Orlando Guardians (1-9) by a “Greatest Show on Turf” type of scoreline. The good news is the Battlehawks’ 53-28 romp over hapless Orlando does not eliminate the Seattle Sea Dragons (6-3) from the XFL playoff hunt, and indeed Orlando’s offensive output may be a huge boost for the Sea Dragons heading into Sunday’s game against the Vegas Vipers (2-7).
Much like in the NFL (but buried underneath more tiebreakers), the XFL has a tiebreaker that comes down to combined ranking in points for and points against. The team with the lower number in a two-team tiebreaker advances to the postseason. Here’s how things stand at the moment:
Battlehawks points for/points against: 249 (2nd in division)-202 (2nd in division)
Sea Dragons points for/points against (with one game to play): 215 (2nd)-168 (1st in division)
Seattle’s combined divisional ranking is 3, while St. Louis is 4. This is as advantageous as it gets for Seattle knowing what they need to do against the Vipers.
The Sea Dragons clinch a playoff spot if...
They score at least 34 and hold Vegas to under 34, as they’ll have superior rankings for points for and points against. It is impossible for the Sea Dragons to fall behind St. Louis in both categories in a win.
If the Sea Dragons win, score at least 34 but allow more than 34...
The next tiebreaker is “Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed in all games,” aka league-wide rankings. Seattle still has the edge with a combined league-wide ranking of 5 to St. Louis’ 7.
There is no realistic scenario in which St. Louis can have a higher combined PF/PA ranking than Seattle, but they can have equal rankings.
Update: With the Houston vs. Arlington game finishing 25-9 Houston, there are scorelines for Seattle to win but still miss the playoffs based on league-wide points for/points against:
31-30, 31-29, 31-28, 31-27, 30-29, 30-28, 30-27, 29-28, and 29-27 all put Seattle out.
BREAKING: The @XFLBattlehawks have a puncher’s chance at making the playoffs even with an @XFLSeaDragons win.,— Matty Fresh (@MattyFreshTV) April 23, 2023
It is NOT via the scenario ESPN laid out.
If Seattle wins 31-27, 30-27, 29-27 or 28-27, STL is in.
It would have to be those 4 EXACT scores. Awaiting XFL to confirm pic.twitter.com/JnnLQBRKLL
If the Sea Dragons win and combined points for and points allowed are equal for Seattle and St. Louis...
Then the next tiebreaker is point differential. Seattle wins that by default. St. Louis finished the season at +47, Seattle is at +47 right now.
If the Sea Dragons lose...
They miss the playoffs, plain and simple.
All of this is to say that the Sea Dragons are pretty much nailed on for the playoffs if they win tomorrow afternoon. Join us in our game thread at 4 PM PT on Sunday! The game will be on ESPN2 and ESPN+.