Location: The Dome at America Center, Saint Louis, Missouri

Game Date: Sunday, June 9th, 2024

Time: 7:00 PM EST

Channel: FOX

Streaming: UFL games are available on the Fox Sports app.

DraftKings Odds: San Antonio Brahmas(+3 ), Saint Louis Battlehawks(-3 ), O/U 44.5 points

Mark your calendars for Sunday, June 9th, at 7 pm EST, as the San Antonio Brahmas and the Saint Louis Battlehawks clash for the third time this season. This showdown is not just any game but the XFL Conference championship game, a battle for the right to play in the first UFL Championship game next week. The Battlehawks have the upper hand, having defeated the Brahmas in the first two games, including a nail-biting 31 to 24 victory in Week 3 in the Alamodome and a close 13 to 12 win in Saint Louis in Week 10.

The Battlehawks’ triumph over the Brahmas in Week 10 secured them the home-field advantage for the XFL Conference championship game. In a strategic move, the Brahmas rested six of their starters, prioritizing their players’ health for the conference championship game. Both teams are entering the playoffs with relatively healthy rosters, setting the stage for a high-stakes game where they can showcase their best football.

The Brahmas and Battlehawks matchup features seven All-UFL players, including five Battlehawks and two Brahmas. Along with five All-UFL players, the Battlehawks also feature wide receiver Hakeem Butler. Butler is the 2024 Offensive Player of the Year. With only two players selected to the All-UFL team, Brahmas head coach Wade Phillips mentioned in an interview on “Wednesdays with Wade” that his team felt slighted and disrespected only to have two players honored as All-UFL players despite wide receiver Jontre Kirklin being one of the top receivers in the UFL and the Brahmas defense leading the UFL in quarterback sacks for the 2024 season.

Let’s examine the key areas crucial in determining whether the Brahmas or Battlehawks will punch their ticket for the upcoming UFL Championship game.

Keys to Victory

Key to Victory #1 – Control the Line of Scrimmage

A considerable factor determining the outcome of the XFL Conference championship game will be whether or not the Brahmas or Battlehawks can control the line of scrimmage. During the first two matchups this season, the Battlehawks and All-UFL running back Jacob Saylors have dominated the running game against the Brahmas defensive front seven. In Week 10, the Brahmas felt that their ability to establish their running game was affected by the absence of running backs John Lovett and Anthony McFarland Jr. This week, Lovett and McFarland Jr. expect to play, which should give the Brahmas a chance to establish their running game and neutralize the Battlehawks advantage.

Both the Brahmas and Battlehawks offensive lines should be at full strength. The difference in the game could be the ability of the Brahmas running backs to be multi-dimensional threats on offense by not only being able to run the ball effectively, but both running backs have also made an impact in the passing game for San Antonio. The team that can run the ball effectively has the best opportunity to extend drives on offense and play physically in short-yardage situations and on the goal line.

Key to Victory #2 – Protect the Passer

The Battlehawks and Brahmas have both struggled with quarterback injuries. Last week, Battlehawks quarterback AJ McCarron returned to the field after missing two games due to an ankle injury suffered while playing against the Birmingham Stallions. San Antonio has struggled with quarterback injuries to Chase Garbers and Quinten Dormady this season.

Both teams will need to have a game plan that allows them to protect their quarterbacks against an intense pass rush with bad intentions. Pass protection by the Battlehawks and Brahmas offensive lines will be essential in determining which offense can find a way to make the plays needed to pull ahead of the other team to secure a win. The Brahmas have the advantage of having two quarterbacks who have started several games successfully this season compared to the Battlehawks, which look significantly different on offense based on whether AJ McCarron or Manny Wilkins is leading the offense for Saint Louis. The Brahmas defense comes into this game with the most quarterback sacks in the UFL during the regular season, with 32 quarterback sacks.

Key to Victory #3 – Win the Turnover Battle

Another factor that will determine the winner of the XFL Conference championship game will be each team’s ability to win the turnover battle. Coming into this game, the Battlehawks have limited their turnovers, which has allowed them to be in position to win most weeks during the UFL regular season.

The Brahmas have struggled with turnovers, especially in interceptions; coming into this game, San Antonio quarterback Quinten Dormady has thrown six touchdowns and six interceptions, while Chase Garbers has thrown six touchdowns and two interceptions. AJ McCarron for the Battlehawks has thrown 15 touchdowns and only four interceptions. Fumbles in the running game or special teams would significantly impact this game, and it will be critical for both teams to avoid those fundamental mistakes. The team that can successfully avoid turning the ball over will have a significant advantage in this game.

Injury Report

Game Analysis and Prediction

The first matchup between the Brahmas and Battlehawks was an offensive shootout, and the second was a defensive fight. The Brahmas have one of the best defensive units in the UFL, but last week showed that they need to be ready to play aggressively on offense and score touchdowns rather than settling for field goals. Saint Louis has found success managing games during the season and will most likely look to complete high-percentage passes, run the ball, and grind out their third win over the Brahmas by limiting their mistakes. If the Brahmas intend to upset the Battlehawks, they must come ready to take chances and find explosive plays to put points on the scoreboard.

Game Prediction: San Antonio Brahmas 25, Saint Louis Battlehawks 23

Follow me on X: @AaronSauter7

author avatar
Aaron Sauter
Aaron Sauter is a 23-veteran high school football coach that is also an fan of all levels of football. He is especially interested in alternative football leagues like the CFL, UFL, and IFL. Aaron enjoys analyzing innovative schemes on offense and defense during his free time.

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