We’ll be 75% of the way through the 2017 CFL season once this week wraps up, though judging by the weather throughout the Northeast and Ontario this past week, one could easily be forgiven for thinking summer had somehow just started. With the heat wave finally breaking today, we’re now back to our regularly scheduled programming, with much cooler temperatures and some CFL ball filling your Friday and Saturday night gaps waiting for your next Sunday afternoon binge.
In CFL news this week, Johnny Manziel met with CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie to determine his status for playing moving forward; while the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, who had previously been forced to make a decision thanks to Manziel’s agent enacting the 10-day clause as part of belonging to a CFL negotiation rights list, did not offer him a contract, he will be eligible to sign in 2018 or beyond. Apparently it was a “very positive” meeting between Manziel and the league, for whatever that’s worth; I still feel like it’s a terrible decision to make, regardless of your need for depth at quarterback, which appears to be a growing issue for a number of teams moving forward. However, I’m just a #content miner. Not much I can do down here as I hack away at the word ores and wait for the ideas to trickle out. (It’s 12:30 AM when I’m writing this. Can you tell I’m exhausted?)
Onto the games!
WEEK 14 PREVIEWS
Ottawa 9 vs. Winnipeg 29: In a wet and windy game at Investor’s Group Field, the REDBLACKS came up looking mostly inert on offence; the Blue Bombers pretty well dominated this one from start to finish. Ottawa’s third-string QB Ryan Lindley, with his first career CFL start due to Trevor Harris and Drew Tate both banged up in previous weeks, had a tough night, limited to just 152 yards passing, no TDs and an interception, though his performance was due in part to the terrible weather that lasted for pretty well the entire game. Pretty well the only solid part of Ottawa’s offense was RB William Powell, who racked up 107 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, good for an average of 7.6 yards per play. Other than that, it was all Blue Bombers for this one; Matt Nichols threw for 319 yards on 23-33 attempts and two touchdowns, RB Andrew Harris had 11 carries for 83 yards and a touchdown, plus 6 catches for 49 yards, while WR Darvin Adams racked up 195 yards on 7 catches, plus a touchdown as well.
Hamilton 24 vs. BC 23: Despite coming into this game last overall in the league, the Ti-Cats managed to get their shit together for once, and pulled out a gutsy, last-minute win capped off by the go-ahead field goal from Sergio Castillo with 10 seconds to go. It was a back-and-forth match all night, with both teams using their ground game well; Lions QB Jonathon Jennings had his best start in ages, with no turnovers at all in the game; he had 345 yards passing on 22-33 attempts, plus a rushing TD as well. For the Ti-Cats, Jeremiah Masoli rebounded well from previous sub-par outings to lead his team with 226 yards on 23-35 attempts plus two touchdowns; they also did a good job mobilizing their ground game, with RB Alex Green, starting in place of an injured CJ Gable, racked up 140 yards on 13 carries.
Montreal 19 vs. Toronto 33: For the second week in a row, Argos running back James Wilder Jr. was the story of the game. Once again, he led the Argos offense both on the ground and through the air, racking up 141 yards rushing and 77 yards receiving, for a total of 218… in two games, he’s racked up 475 total yards, good for an average of 15.8 yards per play. To virtually nobody’s surprise, Toronto won handily over the sad-sack Alouettes, who now find themselves in a complete tailspin having lost six consecutive games. Virtually nothing is going right for Montreal; Darian Durant threw three picks and no touchdowns on just 231 yards from 25-38 passes, while the Als’ leading receiver from this game, former NFLer Tiquan Underwood, had just 45 yards on 3 catches. The lone bright spot for Montreal? Running back Tyrell Sutton, who had 105 yards on 15 carries; shame for him he’s stuck on a team that has absolutely zero plan moving forward.
Calgary 15 vs. Saskatchewan 9: The Stamps won their ninth game in a row, clinching a playoff spot once again. Barring some miracle, the West Division was already theirs weeks ago, but this latest victory proves to show that Calgary can continue to find ways to win no matter what the order of the day calls for. Riders QB Kevin Glenn was sacked five times – two by DE Ja’Gared Davis and three by All-Star Charleston Hughes, who continues to add to his season stats; while neither starting QB was stellar in this game – Glenn and Bo Levi Mitchell combined for no touchdowns and one interception – Calgary did managed to mobilize their ground game well. Jerome Messam, available to play after suffering what looked like a big hit to the head last week against BC, racked up 127 yards on 23 carries, helping to ground-&-pound the way to victory once again. Brandon Bridge, in 4th-quarter duty, tossed Saskatchewan’s only touchdown, a 14-yard strike to receiver Devon Bailey.
BYE: Edmonton (7-5)
WEEK 15 PREVIEWS
Saskatchewan (6-6) vs. Ottawa (5-8-1), Friday, September 29th, 7:00 PM EST: Despite a .500 record and 4th place in the West, it’s hard to not feel that Saskatchewan is a far more complete team than Ottawa, who, despite holding down a playoff spot, are coming in at 5-8-1 and dealing with a lot of injuries, most notably to their quarterbacks. Who’s starting for Ottawa? Your guess is as good as mine. Ryan Lindley didn’t look great last week – although weather definitely played a factor – and while Drew Tate says he’s ready to go if called upon, #1 Trevor Harris is apparently progressing much faster in his recovery from a separated shoulder than what the team had initially predicted. Still no word as of yet during writing time, so this may be a game-time decision. Saskatchewan also added NFL castoff Trent Richardson to their roster on Wednesday; while I don’t expect him to see action this early on yet, he may well be on the field as soon as next week depending on the depth situation at running back for the Roughriders.
Montreal (3-10) vs. Calgary (11-1-1), Friday, September 29th, 9:30 PM EST: Somehow, Montreal has handed Calgary their only loss of the year this year. Nobody’s quite sure how exactly that happened, to be fair, and it’s fair to not expect that to happen again, either. Montreal has crashed hard while the Stamps have just continued to grind out wins in all varieties of ways this season – and with Calgary playing at home, where they haven’t lost a game since October 2015, it’d be a foolish thing to bet on the Alouettes for this. That said, weirder stuff has already happened… but at the same time, they also say lightning never strikes the same place twice. I’m just full of clichés this week, apparently. Did I read a MMQB column recently? MAYBE.
Toronto (6-7) vs. Hamilton (3-9), Saturday, September 30th, 6:30 PM EST: Hamilton picked up their first win of the year at home on Labour Day Weekend to this same Argo team, which was a bit of a shocker… one key difference this time around? Running backs. CJ Gable was injured last week, while Alex Green performed admirably in his absence; regardless of who gets the start, the running game will be in decent shape for Hamilton. For Toronto, though, the emergence of James Wilder Jr. is an incredible late-season revelation; his incredible play the last two weeks could very well be the key to tipping the scales back in Toronto’s favour this time around. Having pass rushers Victor Butler and Cleyon Laing will also be a help to the defense, too; they need to get Masoli fast and hard to prevent him from scrambling out of the pocket, as he’s proven adept at time and time again these past two seasons.
Winnipeg (9-3) vs. Edmonton (7-5), Saturday, September 30th, 9:30 PM EST: Yes, Edmonton’s coming off a bye week, but the fact of the matter is that this has been a very Jekyll-and-Hyde season for the Eskimos; they’ve lost five straight after starting the season 7-0. Winnipeg had an excellent outing last week, though the defence was definitely aided by playing against an inexperienced Ottawa QB in Ryan Lindley and with the awful weather in Manitoba. While it was an overall strong defensive game for the Bombers, typically, the D still tends to give up a lot of yardage, and are subsequently bailed out by the league’s top offence. If anyone can pick apart the Blue Bombers, it’d be QB Mike Reilly and his deep, deep receiving corps; but if the Eskimos’ D can’t respond in kind, this one could very well turn into a shootout.
BYE: BC (6-7)
STANDINGS AND STATS
East Division Standings
|Team||Games||Wins||Losses||Ties||Points For||Points Against|
West Division Standings
|Team||Games||Wins||Losses||Ties||Points For||Points Against|
- Reilly, EDM – 3949
- Ray, TOR – 3749
- Harris, OTT – 3724
- Nichols, WPG – 24
- Harris, OTT – 23
- Glenn, SSK – 21
- Messam, CGY – 897
- Johnson, BC – 752
- Harris, WPG – 739
- Ellingson, OTT – 1186
- Green, TOR – 1053
- Zylstra, EDM – 982
- Hughes, CGY – 8
- Butler, TOR – 8
- Johnson, CGY – 8
- Gainey, SSK – 8
- Randle, WPG – 4
- Heath, WPG – 4
- Paredes, CGY – 39
- Medlock, WPG – 39
- Hajrullahu, TOR – 36
I, an idiot, forgot to put 3/4 of my picks in for this past week, so clearly I’m not winning this year. And now, the gap is starting to open up…
Remember to submit your picks here! http://www.pooltracker.com/join.asp?poolid=138425
|Rank||Total Points||Weekly Score||Win Percentage|
|Game Time Decision||38||3-1||66.67%|
|Joliet Jake Delhomme||26||0-4||45.61%|