CFL Beat: Week 8

The Maestro
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The Maestro

The Maestro is a mystical Canadian internet user and New England Patriots fan; when the weather is cooperative and the TV signal at his igloo is strong enough, he enjoys watching the NFL, the Ottawa Senators & REDBLACKS, and yelling into the abyss on Twitter. He is somehow allowed to teach music to high school students when he isn’t in a blind rage about sports, and is also a known connoisseur of cheap beers across the Great White North.
The Maestro
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I’m recovering nicely from the surprise appendectomy that happened midway through last week for me. While it’s a bummer to not be allowed to be active as I regularly am throughout the summer, with a stable of bikes and a canoe gently whispering my name, the medical permission I have been given to sit on my duff and allow my body and brain to atrophy in tandem is… actually, no, it’s shit. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It sucks ass. Go out and explore for me. I’ll be here, on the couch, performing my public service to y’all. Yes, writing is a public service. Shut up.

In league news this week:

  • JFF is officially starting in MTL this week against his old team, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. This’ll be his first regular-season action at any level since December 2015… so I expect that the media will be in a frenzy about things. Is he ready yet? Probably not… but when your team is 1-5 and literally can’t start a quarterback two games in a row, changes need to be made!
  • The Argonauts are apparently going to be starting a law firm at quarterback this week? McLeod Bethel-Thompson gets his first CFL start against the REDBLACKS; despite James Franklin being the “heir apparent” to Ricky Ray, for whatever that’s worth, since he’s gone 1-3 over the last month, I suppose the Argos also feel a shakeup is in order. Curious to go with this guy though, considering he’s 30 and has literally never started a game at either the NFL or CFL.
  • In transaction news, Toronto trades one of their top DBs in TJ Heath to Montreal in exchange for OL Ryan Bomben, who is now on his third roster this season. Bomben was traded in the pre-season from Hamilton to Montreal, and now returns to Ontario in this swap. Montreal is getting a 2016 and 2017 All-Star in the transaction, as their secondary still definitely needs some work, while Toronto gets some much-needed pass protection in Bomben, himself an East Division All-Star from 2015-17.
  • Saskatchewan running back Jerome Messam was released for a criminal charge of voyeurism on Monday, stemming from an incident in November 2016. Commissioner Randy Ambrosie has said that he won’t sign any future contracts for Messam unless the charges in court reveal him to be not guilty; however, the fact that charges have been brought forward seem to indicate that the matter is very serious indeed.
  • In other Saskatchewan news, Duron Carter is being moved back to receiver in hopes of providing some additional offensive spark; QB Zach Collaros is also off the 6-game injured list and will be ready to start this week. With Chris Jones showing little trust in backup Brandon Bride, the Riders will need Collaros to show off some arm strength right away, and if he can show some chemistry with Carter, then even better.

Onto the games!

WEEK 7 RECAPS

Edmonton 44 vs. Montreal 23:  Mike Reilly more than earned his First Star of the Week, racking up 415 passing yards on 24-32 attempts and five total touchdowns against the Alouettes, including four through the air. While fans had been bracing to see Johnny Manziel in his first game action since being traded from Hamilton, they were instead treated to Vernon Adams., Jr.; filling in as a spot starter due to his prior knowledge of the Als’ offensive systems, Adams went 15-28 for 217 yards and a pick, but also rushed the ball 8 times for 72 yards and a touchdown. Despite an increased offensive output from Montreal, this game was all Edmonton from the second quarter onwards; the Green & Gold offensive machine is now fully operational, and ready to do some major damage.

PICK: Edmonton

RESULT: Edmonton

Toronto 14 vs. Winnipeg 40: The Blue Bombers finally cracked the .500 mark on the season and swept the season series against the Argos, winning both matchups in the home-and-home competition. Matt Nichols, continuing to shake off the rust after an early-season knee injury, was sharp, throwing for 253 yards and two touchdowns, while slotback Nic Demski had a stellar game, racking up five catches for 82 yards and a touchdown, and added 3 rushes for 34 yards and another score on the ground as well. The Winnipeg defence, which had looked fairly human through the first third of the season, looked much more stout against Toronto, with LB Jovan Santos-Knox leading the way, earning Third Star of the Week honours with three sacks of Boatmen pivot James Franklin. Franklin had a very tough night indeed, throwing three interceptions to 236 yards passing on 20-31 attempts. Were it not for the play of James Wilder, Jr., who had been missing from the Argos’ playcalling in recent weeks, this game likely would have looked even more lopsided – Wilder ended with 81 yards rushing and a TD on 15 carries, and also added four catches for 51 yards through the air.

PICK: Winnipeg

RESULT: Winnipeg

Ottawa 21 vs. Hamilton 15: Thanks to the seven – SEVEN! – field goals kicked by the REDBLACKS’ rookie kicker, Lewis Ward, who tied an Ottawa CFL record with the feat, the REDBLACKS now have a two-game cushion on the rest of the East Division. Despite not finding the end zone, Ottawa still had seven succesful scoring drives, and the defence stepped up when it mattered most; when Jeremiah Masoli threw a late touchdown to Jalen Saunders, the Ti-Cats pulled to within three. After Ward’s seventh field goal, Hamilton got the ball back, needing a major and a convert to win – and the game ended with two consecutive quarterback sacks. Despite it not being their best game, Ottawa will be grateful for the victory all the same, and hope to open up a further divisional lead this week against Toronto.

PICK: Ottawa

RESULT: Ottawa

Calgary 34 vs. Saskatchewan 22: The good news for the Riders? 22 points is the most any team has scored against the Calgary defence this season. The bad? It still wasn’t nearly enough to win against the league’s top team. With little faith in Brandon Bridge, still filling in for the concussed Zach Collaros, Saskatchewan dinked and dunked down the field, and couldn’t keep pace with the numerous big plays that the Stampeders pulled out through the game; Bo Levi Mitchell threw three touchdowns, and returner Terry Williams added a 78-yard punt return TD as well. The win moves Calgary to 6-0 and keeps their lead on the rest of the league by two games.

PICK: Calgary

RESULT: Calgary

RESULT: 

BYE: BC (2-3)

WEEK 8 PREVIEWS

Ottawa (4-2) vs. Toronto (1-5), Thursday, August 2nd, 7:00 PM EST: The REDBLACKS have a two-game lead on the East, and are three up on the Argos, who aren’t remotely resembling last year’s Grey Cup championship squad. With McLeod Bethel-Thompson getting his first career start, let’s hope he can serve up some offence for Toronto, rather than the subpoenas suggestive of a man with a name like his… While Lewis Ward had a fantastic game last week with seven field goals, let’s hope the rest of the offence can step up to help him out. The Ottawa running game, which was effectively neutralized by a strong front seven last week, will hopefully be able to do more against the Argos, who are still without top ILB Bear Woods after back surgery in the offseason.

PICK: Ottawa

Saskatchewan (3-3) vs. Edmonton (4-2), Thursday, August 2nd, 10:00 PM EST: The Roughriders got booed off the field last week after their poor offensive showing against the Stamps, and they’ll really need to open things up and not be afraid to go for the big play if they want to keep pace with the juggernaut that is the Eskimos’ aerial attack. Fortunately, getting Zach Collaros back will hopefully help in that department, but hopefully he won’t have too much initial rush since his last game action back in Week 3. For the Eskimos, Running back CJ Gable also gives Edmonton a serious two-way threat, and that’s something that the now two-headed Riders RB tandem of Marcus Thigpen and Tre Mason can’t replicate as easily.

PICK: Edmonton

Hamilton (2-4) vs. Montreal (1-5), Friday, August 3rd, 7:30 PM EST: Johnny Manziel gets to start against his old team, where he couldn’t unseat Jeremiah Masoli for the starting job. After Masoli’s hot start to the season, he’s cooled considerably as of late, with just one touchdown thrown in the last three games; it would be quite poetic indeed if Manziel, seeing his first real game since December 2015, could be the one to make the Tiger-Cats regret trading him away in the first place. If not, well, then he’s an even less successful Tim Tebow. I dunno. Yes, the Als are terrible, but considering the price they paid for JFF, he truly needs to be a saviour in order for this trade to be worthwhile for Montreal; Kavis Reed bet the house and the future of the franchise on getting him in the first place…

PICK: Hamilton

BC (2-3) vs. Calgary (6-0), Saturday, August 4th, 9:00 PM EST: BC is coming off the bye week hopefully feeling rested, but their reward for it is going against the league’s top team in the Stampeders. Travis Lulay has done well for himself since winning back the starter’s job he held from 2011-2015, but this is still not a complete team – at least, not anywhere near as complete as the one they’re going up against this week. For Calgary, they’ll have rookie RB Don Jackson back in action after missing last week’s game against the Riders; Jackson has had a fantastic year for Calgary, and they’ll lean on him if he’s fully good to go once again. Elsewhere, it’ll be business as usual for the Big Red Machine.

PICK: Calgary

BYE: Winnipeg (4-3)

STANDINGS AND STATS

East Division Standings

Team Games Wins Losses Ties Points For Points Against
Ottawa 6 4 2 0 135 126
Hamilton 6 2 4 0 131 136
Toronto 6 1 5 0 95 179
Montreal 6 1 5 0 92 192

West Division Standings

Team Games Wins Losses Ties Points For Points Against
Calgary 6 6 0 0 179 68
Edmonton 6 4 2 0 172 148
Winnipeg 7 4 3 0 239 147
Saskatchewan 6 3 3 0 132 149
BC 5 2 3 0 108 138

Passing Yards

  1. Reilly, EDM – 2063
  2. Masoli, HAM – 1914
  3. Mitchell, CGY – 1517

Passing TDs

  1. Reilly, EDM – 13
  2. Mitchell, CGY – 12
  3. Harris, OTT – 6

Rushing Yards

  1. Harris, WPG – 638
  2. Powell, OTT – 469
  3. Jackson, CGY – 442

Receiving Yards

  1. Williams, EDM – 672
  2. Sinopoli, OTT – 552
  3. Saunders, HAM – 536

Sacks

  1. Hughes, SSK – 8
  2. Boateng, EDM – 5
  3. Johnson, CGY – 4

Interceptions

  1. Fogg, WPG – 3
  2. Randle, WPG – 2
  3. Bighill, WPG – 2

Field Goals

  1. Ward, OTT – 20
  2. Lauther, SSK – 18
  3. Medlock, WPG – 16

PICK POOL

BEERGUYROB BLEEDS. HE IS MORTAL. Looks like there’s plenty of time yet to narrow the gap; we’re also clumped tightly from 3rd through 6th place on the table!

Remember to submit your picks here! http://www.pooltracker.com/join.asp?poolid=148402

Rank Total Points Weekly Score Win Percentage
Beerguyrob 23 2-2 85.19%
Game Time Decision 21 4-0 77.78%
Spanky Datass 19 3-1 70.37%
Ballsofsteelandfury 19 3-1 70.37%
SonOfSpam 19 3-1 70.37%
The Maestro 19 4-0 70.37%
Litre_cola 17 3-1 62.96%
Wakezilla 15 3-1 55.56%
Dolph Ucker 4 0-4 14.81%
blaxabbath 2 0-4 8.70%
nomonkeyfun 0 0-4 0.00%

Enjoy the games, everyone.

The Maestro
The Maestro
The Maestro is a mystical Canadian internet user and New England Patriots fan; when the weather is cooperative and the TV signal at his igloo is strong enough, he enjoys watching the NFL, the Ottawa Senators & REDBLACKS, and yelling into the abyss on Twitter. He is somehow allowed to teach music to high school students when he isn't in a blind rage about sports, and is also a known connoisseur of cheap beers across the Great White North.
https://www.doorfliesopen.com/index.php/author/the-maestro/

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Moose -The End Is Well NighThe MaestroRikki-Tikki-DeadlyblaxabbathGame Time Decision Recent comment authors
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Rikki-Tikki-Deadly

Saskatchewan running back Jerome Messam was released for a criminal charge of voyeurism…

Wait, voyeurism is illegal?

[pours an entire gallon of bleach onto the part of the computer that contains browser history]

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh

I’d have to just burn my hard drive.

Hehe, hard drive.

Speaking of which; if I dies unexpectedly someone should do that for me. I’d take out a life insurance policy to compensate for the trouble.

blaxabbath

WIN has got some real ball hawks in that secondary, eh?

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh

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Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh

A colleague just had one; the surgery is a lot less invasive than it used to be. Glad you didn’t get a ruptured one.

Game Time Decision
Game Time Decision

Yikes, i hope you’re well on the way to recovery.