Breaking down the new league

XFL to feature unique set of rules

The rules for XFL are intended to make the game more exciting for us as fans to watch and safer for the players on the field. As you'll see, they are set up to make this league an offense heavy league. Be prepared for a fast-paced game, speedy players and some exhausted defenses. For the full list of rules, you can check out the XFL homepage. I'll list a few of the main ones below.

The season opens for the Houston Roughnecks on Saturday at TDECU Stadium. Here is what you can expect:

PUNT

The most talked about rule that the XFL has is the kickoff/punt rule. How is this better for us at home? Less commercial time! No, but really… Players are not allowed to leave the line of scrimmage during a punt until after the kick. Out of bounds or kicks that end up in the end zone will be marked at 35yd line or the spot the ball went out of bounds at. This would essentially lead to more excitement, better known as… GOING FOR IT ON FOURTH DOWN.

DOUBLE FORWARD PASSING

This rule is one of my personal favorites that the XFL has tweaked. It's pretty self-explanatory. If your team completes a forward pass behind the line of scrimmage, they may attempt a second forward pass. Of course, the ball cannot cross the line of scrimmage. Hi, insert trick plays here.

POINTS

After a touchdown, the team has three options. A potential 1 point from the 2yd line, 2 points from the 5yd line or a ballsy 3 points from the 10yd line. The best part? No kicking an extra point. Are you having fun yet?

TOE DRAG SWAG

We can kiss this goodbye. The XFL is taking us back to college ball. Players only have to have one foot in bounds. This league should really be fun, especially for Saints fans… less ways for officials to "mess up."

TIME

XFL's play clock has 24 seconds versus the 40 seconds we're used to in the NFL. The pressure to call plays will be more intense. I can name a few NFL coaches/players who would not succeed in this league but that's unimportant. Each team's timeouts will be limited to 2 one minute timeouts per half making that 1 less than NFL and college. Halftime will also be shortened to 10 minutes versus the NFL's 12 minutes. These small changes affect the game more than you think. This gives you, as fans, more actual field action.

OVERTIME

This one is a little more confusing. Probably because we've never seen this in football. There will be five rounds. Yes, rounds… Teams will alternate single play possessions. Each round will display one offensive play per team. Possessions will start at the opposing teams 5yd line. The offense will have one shot to score. You guessed it, the guys with the most points after all five rounds win. Simple, right? Eh… I highly suggest reading more on the team's website.

For the full list and explanations of the new rules you can visit the XFL's homepage



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The Twins have lost 16 consecutive playoff games. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

The Houston Astros 2020 redemption tour – better known as the Major League post-season - starts today with a quicky best-of-three series against the Minnesota Twins, kings of the American League Central division.

All games will be played at Target Field in Minneapolis. While the Twins had baseball's best home record, 24-7, and the Astros were roadkill with a disastrous 9-23 mark away from Minute Maid Park …

I'd still rather be us than them, and there are sweet 16 reasons why.

It's a hard-to-believe stat, but the Twins have lost 16 consecutive playoff games, the Major League record for post-season futility. You can look it up, the Twins were bamboozled 13 times by the Yankees and three times by the A's since 2003.

A more important date, however, is 1991, the last time the Twins sniffed the World Series. Most of the Twins' regulars, including Miguel Sano, Jorge Polanco, Eddie Rosario. Byron Buxton, Max Kepler weren't even born yet when the Twins last played in the Fall Classic. You know Newton's First Law, right? An object in motion stays in motion. With even a little effort, the Twins will extend their playoff losing streak to 18.

In the Astros dugout, all you have is experience under pressure. The Astros have seen the World Series from both sides – winning in 2017 and losing in 2019, sandwiched around another playoff appearance in 2018. The Astros succeed under the gun.

OK, this season the Astros are a rare playoff team with a losing record, 29-31, successfully managing to lose less than the Angels and Mariners. But thanks to an expanded playoff scheme concocted by commissioner Rob Manfred, 29-31 was good enough for second place in the American League West and automatic entry to the post-season. Hey, the Astros didn't make the rules, don't blame them.

The Twins are a heavy favorite to smack the Astros this week thanks to their regular-season record. That was then, this is now. It's a whole new ballgame, everybody's starting 0-0.

Look at today's starting pitchers (1 p.m. on ABC 13). The Twins are throwing Kenta Maeda, a pretty good pitcher for sure. We'll have Zack Greinke, a future Hall of Famer, with a lifetime 208-126 record. He's the winningest active pitcher and would have 209 wins if a certain bonehead manager left him in Game 7 of last year's World Series. And I say bonehead with love and admiration for dearly departed (from Houston) manager A.J. Hinch.

I like our chances in Game 2, too. The Twins will have Jose Barrios on the mound, the Astros are starting TBD. It's practically impossible to prepare for that guy TBD, so the Astros could wrap up the series in two games.

I'm sticking with the Astros in 2020. More important, the Astros are +150 on the money line today. The over/under is 7.5 runs. In the words of the world's greatest gambler, Cosmo Kramer, that's some sweet action.

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