Thursday, July 15, 2010

CFL Week 3 preview (plus Wednesday Argos recap)

What do you get when you have:

-A quarterback who, even though he has played one extra game than all but one other pivot in the league, is ranked 7th out of 8 in total passing yards?

-A team who was riding an eight-game losing streak coming into the season and was the butt of all jokes, particularly since all of their potential quarterbacks lacked league experience?

-A team that, in their comeback win over the heavily-favoured Calgary Stampeders in their home opener, did not score a touchdown until there was just 1:57 left on the clock?

Your 2-1 Toronto Argonauts. Somehow, that's what you get.

They are on a two-game winning streak, and they are doing in the weirdest of ways.

Wednesday night, 142 yards by Cory Boyd kept Toronto in the game while Grant Shaw kicked field goal after field goal in a close game at Rogers Centre. The defense effectively shut down Henry Burris and the deadly passing attack of the Stamps, intercepting him four times and holding him to 207 yards.

Last week, in a game plagued by raining beer cups, the Argonauts were out-gained 493 to 317, but won thanks to a couple of big returns and a heads-up, savvy-coaching play by coach Jim Barker and linebacker EJ Kuale, who punted a ball with no time on the clock in the first half into the endzone for a single.

They have a victory over one division rival (Winnipeg) and split the season series with the Stamps. We are only 1/6th of the way through, but this is the most interesting team so far to watch. If Cleo Lemon can get it together and give this team a decent passing game, watch out.


All that done and gone, I can ignore the fact that I completely overlooked last night's game when planning this week's CFL preview.Games aren't supposed to be held on Wednesday.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats vs. Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Hamilton against Buck-Pierce's MVP laser rocket arm. The 'Peg go on the road for the first time after scoring an obscene amount of points in their first two games at home (49 and 34). With the afore-mentioned Pierce having more yards on the ground than starting running back Fred Reid, it's fair to assume to who this team belongs to.

But, Winnipeg has lost this season by letting inferior teams in the game. Their defense is questionable, they've allowed at least one return in each of their two games. Is this the game that the Ti-Cats give last year's rusher DeAndra Cobb his touches? Probably not. It's not that Cobb hasn't been effective, it's that Marcel Bellefeuille seems unwilling to get him into the lineup. The dude is a former offensive co-ordinator and is sitting on one of the most balanced offenses in the league. Oh well.

Edge Winnipeg. (And by default should beat the +4 spread)

BC Lions vs. Montreal Alouettes

Montreal doesn't win in BC, but now that the Lions are playing outside, anything can happen. Also, the Lions have an offensive line that has been easier to penetrate than your average Roxy girl (not that we'd know).

Now that the nostalgia has passed and the Lions are settled into their 'new' 'stadium' how soon until this team starts feeling the heat for its abysmal play this year? Montreal is a defense-first team by default (Everything is in that city, like the politicians and the Habs. But not the women [again, not that we'd know]) and the lone bright spot for the Lions on offense is that time where a whole bunch of Eskimos forgot how to tackle.

Edge Montreal. (And will cover the six. If this is a close game, Montreal will probably find a way to lose, and their shittiness on the West Coast isn't just a BC Place curse)

Saskatchewan Roughriders vs. Edmonton Eskimos

And that leaves the 2-0 Riders. Who let this happen? Who let this team win two games? Who let this running team develop a dangerous passing attack? How long until TSN stops calling Darian Durant a 'breakout star' or pretending that he isn't already as scary as a false positive on a pregnancy test for an opposing defense (again, not like we'd know).

Somebody made the point that the Eskimos haven't been the same since Milt Stegall's last second 100-yard TD return on them a couple of years ago, and I'm willing to believe that. Ricky Ray just isn't that good anymore, and their receivers are no longer big-play threats.

Edge Saskatchewan. (I'll also give them 7 points to cover)

Don't let Wednesday games sneak up on you. All of a sudden you turn into the pre-game show for something you didn't think existed and are left wondering if you've warped space-time.

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