We have a lot of new signings this week! The month of September is always an interesting one in the CFL, because late NFL training camp cuts can prove to be valuable additions to teams in the stretch drive towards the playoffs. Indeed, there’s been a lot of those in league news this week. Read on for more:
- After Antoine Pruneau injured his leg last week against Toronto, REDBLACKS GM Marcel Desjardins stated that his star Canadian DB is “possibly” done for the year. On a struggling defence this season, Pruneau remained a bright spot for Ottawa, though he’s had some other injury woes this season that have cost him substantial playing time, including a broken wrist earlier in the season.
- After getting released from the Chicago Bears on August 31st, the Saskatchewan Roughriders signed WR Jordan Williams-Lambert to a contract, bringing him back through to the end of 2020. Williams-Lambert had a fantastic rookie season last year with the Riders, recording 764 yards on 64 catches to go along with four touchdowns. He’ll be joining a loaded receiving corps that already contains Shaq Evans, Kyran Moore, Naaman Roosevelt, and Manny Arcenaux – another weapon down the stretch definitely won’t hurt Saskatchewan’s playoff hopes.
- The Edmonton Eskimos signed another Bears cut on this week, with DL Mathieu Betts joining the team. A U-Sports standout with the Université de Laval in Quebec City, Betts was drafted 3rd overall in this year’s CFL draft, but signed a three-year contract with the NFL Bears as an undrafted free agent. He was part of the final wave of cuts made by Chicago on August 31st, along with Willliams-Lambert.
- The Lions added former number one pick OL Josiah St. John to their practise roster along with five other players; St. John, drafted first overall in 2016 by Saskatchewan, played three seasons for the team before signing as a free agent in Toronto, who released him in May. Considering the shoddy offensive line play the Lions have had this year, it seems like a pretty low risk signing.
- The Ti-Cats signed former starting RB Tyrell Sutton, a longtime Montreal Alouette, to their practise roster as well this week. The Ti-Cats may well end up using him down the stretch, but don’t expect to see any immediate action yet from him.
Onto the games!
WEEK 13 RECAPS
BC 16 vs. Montreal 21: Another win for the Alouettes! The resurgence continues. Montreal’s winning streak extends to three in a row after holding off the LioUns at home. Vernon Adams, Jr. led the way, throwing for a touchdown and running for two more, putting the team on his back through this one. William Stanback added 78 yards rushing on 15 carries, while WR Quan Bray snagged Adams’ pass for the touchdown catch. BC had a better effort in this game than in previous weeks, but it still wasn’t enough to get the job done; the O-line surrendered only two sacks in this game – a notable improvement – but the Lions struggled to get offence all the same, despite a solid game from RB Brandon Rutley, a former Alouette, who had 71 yards on 15 carries. With the loss column now in the double digits for BC, I think it’s pretty safe to say now that their playoff aspirations are officially dead – not that there was much doubt up to this point.
Toronto 46 vs. Ottawa 17: Ottawa was down by five points at the half… and ended up losing by 29. Just a complete and utter implosion at home. One of the ugliest showings I’ve ever seen from this team – including in the 2-16 2014 expansion season. Toronto systematically destroyed the REDBLACKS in the fourth quarter, outscoring them 21-1. The way the Argos player, you wouldn’t believe for a second this team was 1-9 heading into the contest… but destroy they did. Even with two interceptions, McLeod Bethel-Thompson had 411 yards on 26-39 pass attempts, and three touchdowns. James Wilder, Jr. caught two of those, while running for another, finishing the game with three scores and 87 yards on a total of twelve combined touches. Not bad for a guy who was a healthy scratch just a few weeks ago… at any rate, the fact that Ottawa’s offence yet again shat the bed is a glaring indictment of the GM’s failure to find a replacement when offensive coordinator Jaime Elizondo abruptly bolted for the XFL in early April. It’s killed the REDBLACKS this year, and I don’t see their offensive issues abating until 2020.
Saskatchewan 10 vs. Winnipeg 35: In the 2019 Banjo Bowl, the annual rematch of the Labour Day Classic between the Riders and Bombers, Winnipeg got the last laugh, atoning for a decisive loss back in Week 12. Chris Streveler, holding down the QB1 job until Matt Nichols’ return from injury, had a fantastic game, going 15-21 for 186 yards and two TDs, while also adding 70 rushing yards and two TDs on 11 carries. Winnipeg rode a 28-point first half to a decisive win, limiting Riders QB Cody Fajardo to just a single rush TD on the night, while sacking him five times. With the win, Winnipeg regains their one-game lead on the Stampeders and Roughriders, which hopefully be very valuable moving forward for them as they continue another tight playoff race in the West Division.
Calgary 33 vs. Edmonton 17: Another victory, and the Stampeders sweep the season series with the Eskimos. Bo Levi Mitchell broke the Stamps’ franchise record for most wins as a quarterback, racking up his 72nd win, passing Henry Burris, a future CFL Hall of Famer, for the top spot on the list. The Eskimos were dealt a major blow early, when QB Trevor Harris was forced out of the game with an upper-body injury, something that has apparently been lingering for a few weeks now. After leaving in the first quarter, going 3-5 for nine yards and a TD, backup Logan Kilgore came in to play the rest of the game. Kilgore finished 21-28 for 242 yards, a pick-six, and a rush TD. With the Eskimos back to 6-6, there’s reason for concern in the provincial capital; once again, a talented roster underperforms in the stretch drive, costing valuable points and spots in the standings. While this year it likely won’t mean missing the playoffs due to the fact that three other teams – Ottawa, Toronto and BC – are so abysmal, they’ll still have a crossover spot likely locked up. But if the Esks want to seriously challenge for a Grey Cup, they need to sound the alarm right now.
BYE: Hamilton (9-2)
WEEK 14 PREVIEWS
Ottawa (3-8) vs. BC (1-10), Friday, September 13th, 10:00 PM EST (TSN, ESPN2): These are two bad teams. There’s no sugarcoating it; when the seventh-place team loses by 29 to the 8th-place team, just how bad is the 9th-place team? Who knows how ugly this game will be. Surprisingly, I’m picking the LioUns to win, due to them actually having a competent quarterback and also hopefully a little bit of home-field advantage. Ottawa has… a Vancouver return for former Lion Jonathon Jennings? At any rate, the REDBLACKS sure don’t have much to offer in order to make me pick them in this one. Maybe they can prove me wrong. I’m not holding my breath, though.
Hamilton (9-2) vs. Calgary (7-4), Saturday, September 14th, 4:00 PM EST (TSN, ESPN+): This will be a tough test for the Ti-Cats. No doubt coming off a bye week feeling rested is always a positive, but going to into McMahon Stadium and expecting to win is always a tough call. Bo Levi Mitchell did throw three picks last game, but he continues to improve every week in his return from injury, and if he’s back, the Stamps have to be the favourites at home. It’ll be interesting to see if the Ti-Cats can find some success running the ball – no doubt that QB Dane Evans has found some chemistry with receivers Bralon Addison and Brandon Banks in recent weeks, but it’s going to take a balanced attack to try and beat a strong Calgary defence.
Montreal (6-4) vs. Saskatchewan (7-4), Saturday, September 14th, 4:00 PM EST (TSN, ESPN+): Montreal puts its three-game win streak on the line with a difficult matchup in Regina; the Als’ O-line will need a strong performance to keep sack artist Charleston Hughes away from Vernon Adams, Jr. The Saskatchewan offence had an uncharacteristically quiet outing last week against Winnipeg, largely in part to lots of QB pressure they had to deal with as well; that said, while Montreal is a good, balanced team, I also think they lack the pass-rushing ability of the Bombers, and thus I expect Cody Fajardo to have a better performance at home this week.
BYE: Edmonton (6-6), Toronto (2-9), Winnipeg (8-3)
STANDINGS AND STATS
East Division Standings
|Team||Games||Wins||Losses||Points For||Points Against|
West Division Standings
|Team||Games||Wins||Losses||Points For||Points Against|
- Harris, EDM – 3706
- Bethel-Thompson, TOR – 3004
- Reilly, BC – 2667
- Bethel-Thompson, TOR – 19
- Nichols, WPG – 15
- Harris, EDM – 15
- Harris, WPG – 908
- Gable, EDM – 815
- Stanback, MTL – 689
- Begelton, CGY – 930
- Walker, TOR – 897
- Banks, HAM – 862
- Hughes, SSK – 13
- Jefferson, WPG – 11
- Wynn, HAM – 9
- Rose, WPG – 8
- Roberson, CGY – 6
- Amos, CGY – 4
- Whyte, EDM – 36
- Ward, OTT – 30
- Hajrullahu, HAM – 28
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! https://www.pooltracker.com/join.asp?poolid=168258
|Rank||Total Points||Weekly Score||Win Percentage|
|Game Time Decision||32||2-2||64.00%|
Enjoy the games, everyone.