Photo provided by Blake Jackson/courtesy of Seattle Sea Dragons
It has been seven years since Blake Jackson played in a playoff game, his last coming with UMHB in the 2016 Stagg Bowl, but on Sunday afternoon, he will take the field for his first professional playoff game as a starting wide receiver for the XFL’s Seattle Sea Dragons.
The Sea Dragons are set to play for the North Division Championship against the DC Defenders at 2 p.m. CT on ESPN, coming off a 28-9 victory over Las Vegas a week ago. The winner will play the South Division Champion–either Arlington or Houston–in San Antonio on May 13 for the 2023 XFL title.
Jackson’s first year in the league has been nothing short of tremendous, playing on one of the XFL’s top offenses. Seattle quarterback Ben DiNucci leads the league in passing yards (2,671), having completed 64.7 percent of his passes. He has been aided by a strong receivers room that includes Jahcour Pearson (League-leading 60 receptions) and former NFL veteran Josh Gordon (38 receptions, 550 yards), in addition to Jackson.
“Head to toe, this is probably the best receivers room I’ve ever been in,” DiNucci said on ESPN’s “Player 54: Chasing the XFL Dream”. “It’s a group of guys who come to work every single day, wanting to get better, asking questions. Everyone comes together for a common goal in the locker room.”
Jackson has more than done his part in contributing to that offensive success, with 45 catches for 440 yards and two touchdowns in 10 games. He has reeled in 75 percent of the passes thrown his way, and ranks fifth in the XFL in total receptions.
The triple-threat nature of the Seattle offense is poised to make for a long day for DC’s defense, though the Defenders might just have the best pass coverage in the eight-team league. Led by defensive back Michael Joseph, who formerly saw action with the NFL’s Chicago Bears, DC has returned four interceptions for touchdowns this season, intercepted a total of nine passes, and recovered eight fumbles. A showdown is looming on Sunday.
How to follow the action:
TV: ESPN/ESPN+/ESPN Deportes
Radio: ESPN Xtra on Sirius/XM
Live stats will be available via the XFL Game Center at kickoff