DC Defenders vs. New York Guardians: What to watch for in XFL Week 2

Ethan Cadeaux
NBC Sports Washington

During the opening weekend of the revamped XFL, both the DC Defenders and New York Guardians came out victorious in convincing fashion.

Both squads will put their undefeated records to the test on Saturday when the Guardians travel to the nation's capital for a 2 p.m. kickoff against the Defenders at Audi Field.

Here are three things to watch for...

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1. Will the Guardians' defense be able to slow down Cardale Jones and the DC offense?

The New York defense put on a show in Week 1, holding the Tampa Bay Vipers to just three points.

The Guardians sacked Tampa quarterback Aaron Murray five times and intercepted him on three different occasions, as the former Georgia Bulldog struggled significantly in his XFL debut.

Defenders' signal-caller Cardale Jones is a significant upgrade over Murray and will give New York is a tough test in Week 2. Jones finished 16-26 for 235 yards and two touchdowns in DC's victory over Seattle. Jones'  116.7 passer rating was the highest of any XFL quarterback during the opening weekend.

The Guardians tweeted out a friendly warning to the Defenders ahead of Saturday's matchup. We will see how it all plays out.

2. Will either team be able to get its rushing attack working?

During the XFL's opening weekend, no team had a rusher reach 100 yards on the ground. In fact, St. Louis' Matt Jones currently leads the league in rushing yards with just 85. 

Both DC and New York struggled on the ground in Week 1. The Guardians' leading rusher was Darius Victor, who amassed just 32 yards on nine carries. Defenders' back Jhurrell Pressley was no better, as he recorded just 31 yards on 12 carries.

The Defenders backfield duo of Pressley and Donnel Pumphrey was supposed to be the strength of their offense, yet neither did much of anything in Week 1. Head coach Pep Hamilton will need to establish a working ground attack against New York in order for the team to stay undefeated.

3. What will the crowd atmosphere be like?

Defenders fans showed up in Week 1, as over 17,000 filled Audi Field to see the inaugural game of the relaunched XFL.

But a week later, with the league not as much of an unknown anymore, it'll be interesting to see the turnout. The fans definitely played a factor for DC in Week 1, and Jones and co. would greatly appreciate another stellar showing this Saturday.

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DC Defenders vs. New York Guardians: What to watch for in XFL Week 2 originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

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