CFL Beat: Week 14

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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By Saturday’s end, we’ll be officially through two-thirds of the 2018 CFL regular season. Playoff pictures remain far from settled, obviously, but with seven weeks remaining, it’s quite possible that we’ll once again see the Playoff Crossover rule applied once again due to the lack of talent in the East Division. For those not familiar with the rule, the Crossover berth would allow the fourth-place team in the West (which right now is currently Winnipeg, at 5-7) to cross over to the East and play the second-place team in the Division Semifinal round of the playoffs due to their having a superior record to the third-place team in the East (currently Montreal, at 3-8). We’ve seen this rule applied the last two seasons, with Edmonton and Saskatchewan each earning a Crossover playoff berth in 2016 and 2017, respectively; while historically it hasn’t been used much since its inception in the mid-’90s, it’s curious to see its increased use these past few seasons. I suspect that like most trends in sports, it’s predominantly just a cyclical thing, and we’ll likely see it fade away for a little a while in a few more seasons.

In other news around the league:

  • After being released from the Baltimore Ravens after training camp ended, BC signed 2017 Grey Cup MVP receiver DeVier Posey, who had a fantastic season last year for Toronto, and provides them with a big-play guy that they’re desperately in need of right now, with Manny Arcenaux currently on the 6-game injured list with no timetable for return.
  • With their receiving corps currently decimated by injuries to Chris Williams and Jalen Saunders, the Ti-Cats signed Chad Owens and Marquay McDaniel to their practise roster. Both Owens and McDaniel are long-time CFL vets, and one or both are likely to make the jump to the active roster at some point if other players need time to heal in the stretch drive to the playoffs. While neither are true number one receivers anymore like they were in the prime of their careers, both would likely provide a good complementary piece to the existing personnel currently out there. At any rate, it’s a savvy move for Hamilton to make at this point in the season.
  • Edmonton traded for RB/RET Martese Jackson from Toronto on Monday, sending back a third-round pick in next year’s draft; they’ll also receive a sixth-rounder in return as well. Jackson was a dangerous returner last year for the Argonauts, and is likely to provide a boost to Edmonton special teams with his speed and agility.
  • Ottawa and BC had a trade set up for DL Maxx Forde earlier this week, but when he failed his physical with the REDBLACKS medical staff on Monday, the deal was voided. Had it gone through, Ottawa would have sent their sixth-round pick in next year’s CFL draft and a player on their negotiation list to BC in return for Forde.

Onto the games!

WEEK 13 RECAPS

Ottawa 14 vs. BC 26: Another disappointing week for the REDBLACKS’ offence, who struggled to establish rhythm and flow, and couldn’t sustain many drives throughout the night. Ottawa drops two in a row for the first time in 2018, and thanks to the outcome of the Hamilton-Toronto rematch, loses sole possession of the division lead. While the Lions are happy to have won this one, it came at a high price, as starting QB Travis Lulay and C Cody Husband both left the game with injuries and their status for this week is uncertain. BC receiver Ricky Collins Jr. had the first 100-yard game of his career, racking up 10 catches for 105 yards to help spur the team to victory in his chemistry with Jonathon Jennings. Odell Willis also sacked REDBLACKS QB Trevor Harris three times to make for a miserable night for Ottawa.

PICK: Ottawa

RESULT: BC

Hamilton 36 vs. Toronto 25: After a slow start to the season, the Ti-Cats seem to have finally hit their stride at last; while the Argos are tied for last overall in the CFL, a win is still a win, and Hamilton will take two consecutive victories over their neighbouring rivals however they can muster it. Jeremiah Masoli once again led the way in this game, with his ninth 300-plus-passing yards outing in his last 11 games; with 307 yards and four TDs, he’s absolutely in contention for the league’s Most Outstanding Player award this season. While this game was close at halftime, with the Ti-Cats taking a 15-13 lead into the break, they managed to pull away in the final 30 minutes, primarily courtesy of a fantastic touchdown from Brandon Banks, who took a 78-yard catch-and-run to the house. With the win, Hamilton is now tied with Ottawa for first in the East Division.

PICK: Hamilton

RESULT: Hamilton

Saskatchewan 32 vs. Winnipeg 27: Four wins in a row for the Roughriders, and things are looking infinitely better in Regina than they were a month ago. With back-to-back victories over the Blue Bombers, they’ve firmly cemented their hold on second place in the West, even leapfrogging a strong Eskimos team in the process. For Winnipeg, things are not looking good; despite having the top points-scoring offence in the CFL, there’s a lot of dysfunction still, as QB play, particularly that of Matt Nichols, has been a roller coaster in recent weeks. The Riders racked up five interceptions on Saskatchewan last week, including two pick-sixes from DE Willie Jefferson and LB Samuel Eguavoen – a really poor showing, but especially even worse when you consider that this is the same defence that punished them the week before as well – and some adjustments should have been made. The Riders will still need to sort out their offence; the only points from their O came courtesy of six field goals from Brett Lauther. While this team is looking better than a month ago, there’s still some tweaks that need to be made. Winnipeg, meanwhile, should be looking at some wholesale changes to try and turn this season around before it’s too late.

PICK: Saskatchewan

RESULT: Saskatchewan

Calgary 42 vs. Edmonton 48: This was an offensive clinic for both teams, but particularly for Eskimos QB Mike Reilly, who had an absolutely incredible night, going 30-44 for 397 yards, 3 TDs, and a pick, while also adding 8 carries for 43 rushing yards and 3 more TDs on the ground. He was clearly feeling this one – it was a truly impressive game. Even with the Eskimos holding a 20-point lead in the fourth quarter… they still almost managed to blow it, all the same. Calgary, despite the loss, did not quit, and put up a ton of points as well; Bo Levi Mitchell put on his best Brett Favre impression, going 25-46 for 491 yards, 4 TDs, and 3 INTs, while RB Romar Morris had seven carries for 95 yards and 2 scores, although his longest was a 75-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Thanks to a failed Hail Mary, Edmonton got revenge on their provincial rivals after last week’s Labour Day loss, and enters their bye week on a high note.

PICK: Calgary

RESULT: Edmonton

BYE: Montreal (3-8)

WEEK 14 PREVIEWS

BC (4-6) vs. Montreal (3-8), Friday, September 14th, 7:30 PM EST: Both these teams’ previous wins came against the REDBLACKS, who, earlier in the season, beat both of them, and should really be far superior roster-wise than what either of these squads have to offer. At any rate, a win would be valuable, but particularly for the Lions, who would jump ahead of the Blue Bombers for fourth in the West and the crossover playoff berth. Montreal, of course, wants to prevent this and hopefully turn things around this season. Chris Rainey, BC’s star returner, will return to the lineup for this game, while Travis Lulay is expected to be ready to play as well after leaving last week’s game. For Montreal, Johnny Manziel apparently has the flu, and so it seems likely right now that they’ll keep rolling with Antonio Pipkin, who’s shown fantastic poise in his unexpected rise to the Als’ number one quarterback job.

PICK: BC

Calgary (9-2) vs. Hamilton (6-5), Saturday, September 15th, 4:00 PM EST: The Stamps beat the Ti-Cats at home way back in Week 1, but a lot has changed since then; Jeremiah Masoli has really found his groove as a starting quarterback, and Calgary, despite another strong offensive showing last week, will still likely be sorting things out with the loss of top receiver Kamar Jorden after tearing his ACL two weeks ago. I still hope for another offensive slugfest here; Edmonton was able to expose some cracks in Calgary’s top-ranked D last week, and it would be a very interesting thing indeed to see another team showing they’ve done some serious film study on the Stamps’ stout front seven.

PICK: Calgary

Ottawa (6-5) vs. Saskatchewan (7-4), Saturday, September 15th, 9:30 PM EST: Saskatchewan has won four in a row, while the REDBLACKS are reeling after two straight losses where the offence has really stunk it up. Ottawa’s O-Line won’t have an easier job of things this week either; after giving up five sacks last week, including three to DT Odell Willis, they’ll now have to face the league’s top pair of pass rushers in Charleston Hughes and Willie Jefferson. A lot needs to change for the REDBLACKS, namely in energizing the running game and getting better pocket protection for Trevor Harris. Otherwise, expect more of the same. Saskatchewan may have had their offence not firing at peak capabilities either these past couple weeks, but their D is good enough to cover that up. Seriously, be afraid of that front seven. They are likely going to eat.

PICK: Saskatchewan

BYE:  Edmonton (7-5), Winnipeg (5-7), Toronto (3-8)

STANDINGS AND STATS

East Division Standings

Team Games Wins Losses Ties Points For Points Against
Ottawa 11 6 5 0 269 253
Hamilton 11 6 5 0 307 253
Montreal 11 3 8 0 190 339
Toronto 11 3 8 0 236 346

West Division Standings

Team Games Wins Losses Ties Points For Points Against
Calgary 11 9 2 0 337 220
Saskatchewan 11 7 4 0 278 273
Edmonton 12 7 5 0 353 312
Winnipeg 12 5 7 0 365 316
BC 10 4 6 0 227 250

Passing Yards

  1. Reilly, EDM – 3943
  2. Masoli, HAM – 3576
  3. Mitchell, CGY – 3360

Passing TDs

  1. Reilly, EDM – 26
  2. Mitchell, CGY – 25
  3. Masoli, HAM – 16

Rushing Yards

  1. Harris, WPG – 984
  2. Powell, OTT – 846
  3. Gable, EDM – 681

Receiving Yards

  1. Williams, EDM – 1235
  2. Banks, HAM – 1033
  3. Jorden, CGY – 944

Sacks

  1. Hughes, SSK – 13
  2. Willis, BC – 8
  3. Johnson, CGY – 6

Interceptions

  1. Rose, BC – 4
  2. Murray, OTT – 3
  3. Fogg, WPG – 3

Field Goals

  1. Lauther, SSK – 35
  2. Ward, OTT – 32
  3. Hajrullahu, HAM – 27

PICK POOL

A week for some nice round numbers in terms of season winning percentages. How satisfying! Such a shame they won’t last.

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

Rank Total Points Weekly Score Win Percentage
Beerguyrob 36 2-2 72.00%
Ballsofsteelandfury 33 2-2 66.00%
SonOfSpam 33 2-2 66.00%
Game Time Decision 33 2-2 66.00%
Spanky Datass 32 3-1 64.00%
The Maestro 32 2-2 64.00%
Litre_cola 31 3-1 62.00%
Wakezilla 30 3-1 60.00%
Dolph Ucker 4 0-4 8.00%
blaxabbath 2 0-4 4.35%
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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BeerguyrobRikki-Tikki-DeadlyWakezillaBrick Meathookballsofsteelandfury Recent comment authors
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Brick Meathook
Brick Meathook

QB Travis Lulay is my newest favo(u)rite CFL name

Honorable Mentions:
Manny Arcenaux
Maxx Forde (+2 extra letters)

Wakezilla

I first liked Solomon Elimimian because of his name. Then he turned out to be arguably the best linebacker in modern CFL history

Beerguyrob

So, you’re changing to Elimimianzilla?

Wakezilla

I have a 60% pick rate and I’m in last? Hardest. pool. Ever.

Rikki-Tikki-Deadly

– Carson Wentz after trying to go swimming in January back home.

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

Who makes the best doughnut in Canada (subjective, of course)?

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

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Game Time Decision

Not Timmies

Wakezilla

For me, it’s called Lucky’s donut shop in Vancouver. It’s not a brand/franchise like Timmy Ho’s.

Lucky’s Donut shop is absolutely incredible

ballsofsteelandfury

I’ve been there!! To the one on Main St. Good stuff and the coffee was great too!

blaxabbath

RB Romar Morris had 75 carries for 95 yards

1.26 YPC and stiull gets the rouck 75 times. Is this Morrison guuy the coach’s kiud or something?

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

Is the Canadian yards? If so it would be 0.9185 US yards at the current distance exchange rate.

ballsofsteelandfury

This thing with multiple teams on bye is really weird.