CFL Beat: Week 10

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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We’re now approaching the halfway mark of the CFL regular season! With 21 weeks in all thanks to an added third bye week for all teams, the real halfway mark falls somewhere around… uh… next Tuesday or something. I dunno. Close enough. Suffice it to say that since this is the CFL, weird stuff always happens in the second half of the season. Will we get to see a franchise announced for Atlantic Canada? Will the Calgary Stampeders lose a game? Will people remember in Montreal that the Habs’ prospects don’t look much better than the Alouettes’ this season? So many questions… and so much time to figure it out.

In league news this week:

  • In a surprising but also not entirely surprising move, Duron Carter was released on Saturday night by the Saskatchewan Roughriders due to lack of a culture fit; as of writing this, he hasn’t signed anywhere else yet. This is the third time in his career this has happened; after washing out with the Indianapolis Colts in 2015 and the Montreal Alouettes in 2016, there’s a noticeable trend happening… incredible athletic talent, but the work ethic to go along with his natural abilities and ability to be a team player isn’t always readily apparent. Further complicating matters are the salary rules bargained into the league’s CBA; as a veteran player, if he’s on a CFL roster past week 10 of this season, his full salary – roughly about $130,000 CAD – has to be guaranteed by that team, and will count in full against the $5.2 million salary cap. Hard to say if a team would be willing to take a gamble on him at the current rate he would be making in 2018.
  • To replace Carter, the Riders signed veteran slotback and longtime Rider Robb Bagg; he was cut at the end of 2018 training camp along with Bakari Grant and a few other veterans, but his experience in the CFL and ability to help both in the locker room and with the national-international player ratios will hopefully come in handy for Saskatchewan moving forward. The team definitely needs a shakeup – but Bagg is a positive addition, in my opinion.
  • Four days after he was absolutely drilled on the goal line in a game against Ottawa, Johnny Manziel was placed in the concussion protocol after symptoms continued to linger. This is concerning, on a number of levels; if Manziel had concussion symptoms, why was he allowed back on the field and permitted to finish the game for Montreal? And not only that, why did it take for him missing two days of practise for the team to finally admit to the fact that he wasn’t perfectly healthy? For a league that has, at times, prided itself on being supposedly “progressive” towards dealing with head injuries, this is not a good look towards both the league’s independent concussion spotters, as well as the Montreal Alouettes’ medical staff, who cleared him to return to play. For a team that’s had the injuries they’ve had this season, particularly at QB, something should change. Will it? I’m doubtful.

Onto the games!

WEEK 9 RECAPS

Edmonton 23 vs. BC 31: A surprising end result here; the Lions were down 20-10 at halftime, and had a lot of issues moving the ball downfield through the first 30 minutes – they had a field goal and a 79-yard punt return TD by Chris Rainey. After a reset, the defence balled out, limiting the Eskimos to just three points in the second half, while the offence managed to get it together and claw their way back into it. Mike Reilly threw for over 300 yards and a couple touchdowns once again, but two interceptions was also uncharacteristic of last year’s Most Outstanding Player. BC did well to get Reilly under pressure; their ability to get to him created turnovers that they capitalized on well.

PICK: Edmonton

RESULT: BC

Hamilton 23 vs. Winnipeg 29: The Andrew Harris show was on full display once again last week, as he once again led the Blue Bombers in both rushing and receiving yards, racking up 128 total yards and a touchdown. Matt Nichols also had another tidy evening of work, as he went 13-24 for 180 yards and 2 TDs through the air. The Ti-Cats, who have now lost four of their last five games, did manage to strike first, but they were behind the 8-ball all night after Winnipeg got their first possession of the game, and a late comeback attempt was marred by two costly penalties that prevented them from overcoming a 16-point lead. Jeremiah Masoli had a good night – normally his performance is indicative of the team’s as a whole – and he went 17-27 for 251 yards and a TD through the air and racked up 80 rushing yards on 7 carries as well… but unfortunately, even with Brandon Banks having a good night with 106 receiving yards and a TD, Masoli ultimately didn’t have enough team support to pull out the win.

PICK: Winnipeg

RESULT: Winnipeg

Montreal 17 vs. Ottawa 24: Talk about a weird game. Trevor Harris threw for 487 yards and William Powell ran for 104; the REDBLACKS, in all, cracked the 600 yards gained mark on offense… and yet they barely beat the worst team in the CFL. It was the turnovers, really, that burned them. Despite racking up 51(!!!) first downs, the five turnovers – an interception and four lost fumbles – really made things much more difficult than necessary for Ottawa. Montreal’s offence had a much, much improved outing from last week; with more practise time under his belt, Johnny Manziel looked much more like his usual self, and while his numbers from this one weren’t eye-popping – 168 passing yards on 16-26 attempts to go along with 36 rush yards on 3 carries – the added ball security was a fantastic improvement from the previous week’s four first-half INTs. Aside from a pick-six by DB Chris Ackie in the first half, the Als’ D was absolutely putrid. Forget about difficulties scoring points – that will come with time the more Johnny Football learns the playbook… the difficulty the Als have in preventing points scored is going to be their undoing this year. Again.

PICK: Ottawa

RESULT: Ottawa

BYE: Calgary (7-0), Saskatchewan (3-4), Toronto (2-5)

WEEK 10 PREVIEWS

Ottawa (5-3) vs. Winnipeg (5-3), Friday, August 17th, 8:30 PM EST: A win’s a win, sure, but the REDBLACKS are going to have a tough time beating the Blue Bombers if they can’t do a better job of securing the football. Just a lot of sloppy play without proper fundamentals last week; PFTCommenter would’ve had a conniption if he’d been watching. Interesting to see that the O-Line is completely healthy right now, which means that longtime C/LG Jon Gott, who’s been with the team since their inaugural 2-16 2014 campaign, is being squeezed out of the starting lineup for the first time in his career. For Winnipeg, after their slow start to the year without Matt Nichols, they’ve really turned things around since his return, and are 4-1 in their last five games, while the defence has improved considerably as well. If the Bombers can keep the rushing attack going against a strong Ottawa front seven, that’ll bode well for them this week.

PICK: Winnipeg

BC (3-4) vs. Toronto (2-5), Saturday, August 18th, 4:00 PM EST: After a gutsy win last week, DE Shawn Lemon now gets to square off against his old team; the Argos dealt him to the Lions back in Week 6, looking to re-set their team culture. Beyond dealing their best pass-rusher away and making the change at QB to McLeod Bethel-Thompson, the Argos will have had the added benefit of a bye week to rest up and get themselves ready for the tilt against the Lions. For BC, they’ll want to try and avoid getting in a big hole early, as they have tended to do over the past little while; both these clubs are really good second-half teams as of recent, so perhaps some fireworks may be in order…

PICK: BC

Montreal (1-7) vs. Edmonton (5-3), Saturday, August 18th, 9:00 PM EST: With Johnny Manziel now in the concussion protocol and looking unlikely to start this week, the Alouettes will now turn to Drew Willy Jeff Mathews Matthew Shiltz Vernon Adams, Jr. ANTONIO PIPKIN (???) to take the reins as the starting QB. Austin Apodaca, who, like Pipkin, is probably not a real person, will back him up against the Eskimos. Talk about some unbelievably shitty injury luck for Montreal quarterbacks this year – it’s honestly pretty incredible. Pipkin has only a single game of CFL experience – this would be his first career CFL start, assuming he’s pressed into action. Apodaca has dressed as the third QB for two games in 2018, but hasn’t yet seen game action. Meanwhile, the Eskimos continue to get healthier, getting back LBs Adam Konar and Christophe Muamba in time for this matchup. With a healthier defence, and with the league’s top passer against a patchwork Alouette secondary… this could potentially turn really, really ugly for Montreal.

PICK: Edmonton

Calgary (7-0) vs. Saskatchewan (3-4), Sunday, August 19th, 7:00 PM EST: It’s the first game post-Duron Carter, and Rider fans, who really quite enjoyed Carter’s enthusiasm for the game and large personality on and off the field, will be clamouring for Chris Jones’ head if Saskatchewan can’t make some strides soon. Calgary’s already beat them once already this season; a second loss to the Stamps would increase the calls for Jones’ firing even more. Chemistry issues aside, the loss of Carter in the slot removes Saskatchewan’s top playmaker… although Jones had already done that for several weeks forcing him into a cornerback role. The Roughriders are a confusing miasma of mediocrity right now. Not so the Stamps.

PICK: Calgary

BYE: Hamilton (3-5)

STANDINGS AND STATS

East Division Standings

Team Games Wins Losses Ties Points For Points Against
Ottawa 8 5 3 0 200 185
Hamilton 8 3 5 0 204 176
Toronto 7 2 5 0 137 220
Montreal 8 1 7 0 120 266

West Division Standings

Team Games Wins Losses Ties Points For Points Against
Calgary 7 7 0 0 206 86
Edmonton 8 5 3 0 221 198
Winnipeg 8 5 3 0 268 170
BC 7 3 4 0 157 188
Saskatchewan 7 3 4 0 151 175

Passing Yards

  1. Reilly, EDM – 2622
  2. Masoli, HAM – 2465
  3. Harris, OTT – 2374

Passing TDs

  1. Reilly, EDM – 16
  2. Mitchell, CGY – 13
  3. Harris, OTT – 9

Rushing Yards

  1. Harris, WPG – 720
  2. Powell, OTT – 608
  3. Gable, EDM – 532

Receiving Yards

  1. Williams, EDM – 759
  2. Walker, EDM – 734
  3. Sinopoli, OTT – 724

Sacks

  1. Hughes, SSK – 9
  2. Willis, BC – 5
  3. Jeffcoat, WPG – 5

Interceptions

  1. Murray, OTT – 3
  2. Fogg, WPG – 3
  3. Rose, BC – 3

Field Goals

  1. Ward, OTT – 25
  2. Hajrullahu, HAM – 19
  3. Lauther, SSK – 19

PICK POOL

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

Rank Total Points Weekly Score Win Percentage
Beerguyrob 28 2-1 82.35%
Game Time Decision 26 2-1 76.47%
Spanky Datass 24 2-1 70.59%
SonOfSpam 24 2-1 70.59%
The Maestro 24 2-1 70.59%
Ballsofsteelandfury 23 2-1 67.65%
Litre_cola 22 2-1 64.71%
Wakezilla 21 3-0 61.76%
Dolph Ucker 4 0-3 11.76%
blaxabbath 2 0-3 6.67%
nomonkeyfun 0 0-3 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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WakezillaMoose -The End Is Well NighRikki-Tikki-Deadlylitre_colaballsofsteelandfury Recent comment authors
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Wakezilla

I’m essentially last and I have a 61% success rate. If I were a “professional” prognosticator, I’d be getting a pay raise.

Wakezilla

“Will people remember in Montreal that the Habs’ prospects don’t look much better than the Alouettes’ this season? ”

Believe me, they know and want Bergevin’s head on a platter

Rikki-Tikki-Deadly

Maybe Yukon Johnny pulled that DUI thing where after an accident you immediately run home and get (more) wasted and then say you were sober at the time of the collision but took a few drinks to settle your nerves. Only it was a football collision, and while there’s a rule saying you can’t send a concussed player back on the field, it says nada about a drunk one.

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

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ballsofsteelandfury

Looks like Beerguyrob is finally showing he’s human after all.

litre_cola

He picked against his home town Liouns I assume.

For shame!!

Rikki-Tikki-Deadly

I’d always assumed he was part man, part frothy delicious beer.