ST. LOUIS – It was only last month that football fans packed the dome for the St. Louis Battlehawks home opener. But time moves fast, and only three weeks remain in the regular season.
The Battlehawks just completed the road portion of their 2023 schedule, so they will be rewarded with three home matchups to end their first full XFL campaign.
Right now, the Battlehawks hold a 5-2 record that’s good for a share of second place in the XFL North Division. If the season ended today, the Battlehawks would hold a spot in the XFL playoffs. That said, there’s some work to be done to secure that playoff spot for good.
The XFL playoffs will follow a 10-week regular season. The top-two seeded teams in the North and South divisions will qualify for the playoffs. The No. 1 seed will host the No. 2 seed in each division round before the XFL Championship.
Essentially, the Battlehawks will need the best or second-best record in their division to qualify. A potential path to the playoffs might be hard to determine until the final week of the regular season, given a tight race in the division and the possibility of tiebreakers.
The Battlehawks are currently tied with the Seattle Sea Dragons for the North division’s second-best record of 5-2. Both are only one game behind the DC Defenders for first place.
Based on scheduling, there are four standings scenarios still in play…
- All three finish the regular season with different records and unique spots in the standings, in which case no tiebreakers would be needed.
- Two of the three could finish in a first-place standings tie, which would lead to a tiebreaker for seeding purposes.
- Two of the three could finish in a second-place standings tie, which would lead to a tiebreaker to determine who is in and who is out.
- All three teams could end up 7-3 to force a three-team tiebreaker.
The XFL has a procedure in place in the case it comes down to any tiebreaker scenarios. The main one, in two-way and three-way tiebreakers, is head-to-head record.
The Battlehawks have only been defeated twice this season, but both times to DC. That means the Defenders will edge St. Louis in all tiebreaker scenarios.
The opposite scenario could be the case for a tiebreaker with Seattle. The Battlehawks won their first game against Seattle this year, and the two are set to play again in Week 9.
If the Battlehawks improve to 2-0 against Seattle, they would hold that tiebreaker edge for a playoff push. If not, it’s 1-1, and the XFL goes to the next set of criteria in the tiebreaker, which starts with best/win loss percentage in division.
If even after several more tiebreakers, it could potentially come down to a coin flip, according to the XFL standings page. That scenario, however, is very unlikely given some of the stats for tiebreakers, though it’s stated in the XFL rules just in case.
Given the XFL tiebreaker system, two wins in the final three games, especially if one comes against Seattle, should put St. Louis in a good position to qualify for the XFL playoffs. The Battlehawks could potentially earn a one-seed if they win two or three more games and DC doesn’t win more than one on its remaining regular season schedule.
The push for playoffs is a developing situation, but one that should become more clear ahead of the regular season finale.
The first round of XFL playoffs will be held from April 29-30. The championship will be May 13. Host locations and times are TBD.