*** CFL Previews - Week 7 (August 7-8) ***
From The Sports Network
By Fred Williams, CFL Editor
Toronto, Ontario (Sports Network) -
TORONTO ARGONAUTS (3-3) AT HAMILTON TIGER-CATS (1-5)
DATE & TIME: Thursday, August 7, 7 p.m. (et).
GAME NOTES: These are indeed difficult times in Hamilton.
The Tiger-Cats are tied for last in the East Division and banged up heading
into their game with their arch rivals.
The first time these two teams met, running back Jesse Lumsden ran for 189
yards and two touchdowns to lead Hamilton to its only win of the season, a
32-13 decision at Rogers Centre against Toronto on July 3. With Lumsden
leading the way, the Ticats ran for over 300 yards against the Argos defense.
Trouble is, Lumsden is on the limp with an ankle sprain and won't play.
Neither will starting quarterback Casey Printers, will miss his second
straight start with a thumb injury.
Receiver Tony Miles might also miss a third straight game with a hamstring
Richie Williams will make his second straight start for Hamilton.
Williams completed 18-of-24 passes 260 yards in Hamilton's 40-33 road loss to
Montreal. But he didn't throw any touchdown passes -- the Ticats don't have an
aerial TD to show for through six games -- and had two interceptions.
Williams did run for a team-high 79 yards and two touchdowns as Montreal held
Lumsden to 27 yards rushing on five carries. Tre Smith rushed for 50 yards on
seven carries and had a touchdown but also a fumble.
However, Montreal's Anthony Calvillo threw for 326 yards and two touchdowns
against Hamilton's defense. The Alouettes rolled up 443 total yards and sacked
Williams five times.
Williams and Co. takes on a Toronto defense coming off a stellar performance
in last week's 19-11 home win over Winnipeg. The Argos held Winnipeg to 272
total yards and had four sacks and two turnovers. After passing for 450 yards
in his CFL regular-season debut against Calgary, Bombers quarterback Ryan
Dinwiddie threw for just 224 yards -- 85 coming on a TD pass to Romby Bryant
-- and had two interceptions against Toronto.
The Argos also came into the game allowing over 160 yards rushing per game.
But they gave up just 69 against Winnipeg, with Charles Roberts accounting for
66 of those yards.
The numbers: Hamilton is 0-3 at home and 1-2 within the East Division. Toronto
is 1-2 on the road but 2-1 against conference competition.
Keys to the game: How the running game goes will dictate how Hamilton goes in
The Ticats sport the league's top rushing attack at 167 yards per game.
Usually, Lumsden is a big part of that but if he can't play the onus will fall
on Smith to step up.
Toronto has been vulnerable to the run this year, but is expected to welcome
linebacker Kevin Eiben back. He missed last week's game against Winnipeg with
a knee injury.
If Toronto can shut down the run, then it will be in good shape because
Hamilton's offense is the CFL's worst when it comes to passing. In addition to
not having thrown a touchdown pass this year, the Ticats are ranked last
overall in passing, averaging 238 yards through the air.
While Toronto has the league's weakest run defense, it sports the CFL's top
pass defense (242 yards per game).
However, Toronto's offense has had its share of trouble. The Argos' lone
touchdown last week came on Dominique Dorsey's 94-yard punt return.
Still, the Argos should have more than enough to dispatch a hurting Ticats
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Toronto 21, Hamilton 14.
CALGARY STAMPEDERS (3-3) AT SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS (6-0)
DATE & TIME: Thursday, August 7, 10 p.m. (et).
GAME NOTES: Another week, another batch of injuries to overcome for the
The defending Grey Cup champions improved to 6-0 last week with a close 22-21
road win over the Calgary Stampeders. But the win came with a price as the
club lost four more players to injury, including receivers Matt Dominguez
(knee) and Carl Berman (Achilles tendon) and fullback Neal Hughes (leg).
They join the likes of quarterbacks Marcus Crandell and Darian Durant,
receivers D.J. Flick, Andy Fantuz, Weston Dressler, defensive lineman John
Chick, defensive back James Johnson and cornerback Leron Mitchell, all of whom
have missed time due to injuries.
What's more, the Riders could be without receiver Corey Grant. His wife, is
pregnant with the couple's first child and Grant has permission from the team
to leave to be with his wife if she goes into labor before Thursday's game.
The good news, though, is Johnson and Dressler resumed practicing this week
and should be back soon.
Fortunately for the Riders, running back Wes Cates remains healthy.
Cates ran for 139 yards against Calgary. He's the CFL's rushing leader with
632 yards and is averaging over six yards a carry. Cates has scored seven
Marcus Crandell returned to the starting lineup against Calgary and threw for
just 225 yards, but included were three touchdown strikes.
But Saskatchewan's defense has been as impressive.
The Riders are allowing a league-low 21.5 points per game and just 80 yards
rushing per game. They're second in overall pass defense (270 yards per game).
And Saskatchewan was pretty good against Calgary as quarterback Henry Burris
was 20-of-37 passing for 248 with a touchdown and interception. Running back
Joffrey Reynolds ran for just 46 yards on 10 carries while Burris added 43
yards rushing on five carries.
The numbers: Saskatchewan is 3-0 at home and 3-0 within the West Division.
Calgary is 1-2 on the road and 1-2 against conference competition.
Keys to the game: Sweeping a home-and-home series is a difficult proposition,
even for a team that's undefeated.
The Roughriders were a little lucky to maintain their unbeaten streak as
Calgary kicker Sandro DeAngelis missed a 54-yard field goal late in the game
that, if successful, would've given the Stampeders the victory.
Beating Saskatchewan at home is never easy, but there comes a point and time
when the mounting injuries have to take their toll against the Riders.
In Flick, Fantuz and Dominguez, the Riders are minus their three top
receivers. The key to the offence's success is its running game. Shut that
down, and the Stampeders will go a long ways towards being on an even keel
with the defending Grey Cup champions.
The Stamps have the ability to be dominant against the run. They're ranked
second in the CFL, allowing just 83 yards on the ground per game.
And while Calgary is ranked last in the CFL in pass defense (325 yards per
game), given how banged up the Riders' receiving corps is, this should be the
time when the Stampeders surge ahead and hand the Riders their first loss of
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Calgary 28, Saskatchewan 22.
MONTREAL ALOUETTES (3-3) AT WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS (1-5)
DATE & TIME: Friday, August 8, 7:30 p.m. (et).
GAME NOTES: The Montreal Alouettes are really giving opposing defenses a lot
Last week, quarterback Anthony Calvillo completed 26-of-36 passes for 326
yards and two touchdowns in leading Montreal to a 40-33 win over the Hamilton
Tiger-Cats. His favorite target was none other than veteran receiver Ben
Cahoon, who had nine catches for 89 yards.
But the Alouettes were much more than a pass-oriented offense.
Running back Avon Cobourne rushed for a game-high 119 yards and a touchdown as
Montreal finished the game with 443 total yards offensively. The Alouettes
also surrendered just one sack.
The only blemish on the Alouettes offensive game plan was the three turnovers
the offense had against Hamilton.
Despite allowing 33 points and 356 total yards, Montreal's defense was good
when it had to be, registering five sacks and two turnovers against the
Two weeks ago, quarterback Ryan Dinwiddie was the toast of the town in
Winnipeg after passing for 450 yards and a touchdown in rallying the Bombers
past Calgary. Dinwiddie cemented the victory in style, throwing the winning
touchdown pass from 35 yards out with under a minute to play.
But Dinwiddie and the Bombers' offense came crashing back to earth last week.
Dinwiddie was 16-of-28 passing for 224 yards and a touchdown but also two
interceptions in a 19-11 loss to Toronto at Rogers Centre.
The Bombers managed just 272 total yards on offense and could only muster 67
yards rushing against a Toronto defense that was averaging 167 yards against
on the ground.
Romby Bryant was the lone offensive bright spot against Toronto, registering
four catches for 119 yards and a touchdown. But 85 of those yards came on one
big completion in the third quarter.
Not even the return of receiver Milt Stegall could kick-start the offense.
Stegall, who missed the first five games while recovering from offseason knee
surgery, had three catches for 38 yards for the Bombers.
The numbers: Montreal is 1-2 on the road but a stellar 3-0 within the East
Division. Winnipeg is 1-2 on the road but 0-3 against conference rivals.
Keys to the game: It's hard to figure out exactly what's wrong with Winnipeg,
especially with such an offense with so much firepower. But the club's running
game hasn't got on track, and that's bad news for an offense that relies so
heavily on running back Charles Roberts to be its catalyst.
Roberts has run for just 263 yards this season, with 67 of those yards coming
in last week's lost to Toronto. Roberts is averaging 4.1 yards per carry, but
has often become the forgotten man.
A reason for that has been Winnipeg's penchant for falling behind and having
to abandon the run game. Despite having one of the CFL's top running backs,
the Bombers are last in the league in rushing, averaging less than 65 yards a
Montreal's defense is vulnerable to the run, standing seventh overall in
allowing 134 yards per game.
Trouble is, Montreal's offense is pretty good, standing second in total yards
(426 per game), first in passing (331 yards per game) and scoring (32 points
per game). The Bombers can't afford to get into a track meet with Calvillo and
Co., meaning it will be up to Winnipeg's defense to stop Cobourne, then try
and get pressure on Calvillo on passing downs.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Montreal 37, Winnipeg 28.
EDMONTON ESKIMOS (4-2) AT BRITISH COLUMBIA LIONS (3-3)
DATE & TIME: Friday, August 8, 10:30 p.m. (et).
GAME NOTES: The B.C. Lions are quickly becoming a touch team to figure out.
Some weeks, they can look simply overpowering with a high octane offense and
smothering defense. And other times, they can look downright terrible and like
a team that's nowhere near capable of being a threat come playoff time.
Last week against Edmonton, they looked more like the latter in losing 35-24.
Quarterback Jarious Jackson was an average 19-of-36 passing for 217 yards with
a touchdown but two interceptions. Running back Joe Smith, last year's CFL
rushing leader, ran for 58 yards on 13 carries.
As a unit, the Lions had 360 total yards, but three turnovers and failed to
hold on to a 24-17 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Edmonton, on the other hand, was especially proficient in the second half,
rallying from 20-10 half-time deficit and outscoring the Lions 18-0 in the
Quarterback Ricky Ray was 23-of-30 passing for 392 yards and two touchdowns.
He also ran for two touchdowns himself as the Eskimos rolled up 463 total
yards against a usually stout B.C. defense.
As impressive was Ray's ability to distribute the football. Eight different
Eskimos caught passes in the game.
The Eskimos were able to keep CFL sacks leader Cameron Wake off Ray, but
defensive end Brent Johnson had two of the Lions three sacks in the game.
The numbers: Edmonton is 1-2 on the road but 2-1 within the West Division.
B.C. is 2-1 at home but 0-3 within its conference.
Keys to the game: A staple of head coach Wally Buono's tenure in B.C. has been
consistent play at quarterback. Be it Dave Dickenson, Casey Printers, Buck
Pierce and at times Jarious Jackson, the Lions have always seemed to be able
to garner excellence under center.
But Jackson hasn't provided that consistency this season.
He has completed 57 per cent of his passes for 1,531 yards with nine
touchdowns and nine interceptions. And it seems whenever veteran Geroy Simon
doesn't play, the Lions offense sputters.
Simon didn't play last week and his status for this game is uncertain. Not a
good sign for the Lions at all.
But the Lions have always been a solid team at home, and faced with the
prospect of playing the same team in consecutive weeks, the thinking here is
B.C. will be much better prepared for the Eskimos the second time around.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: B.C. 27, Edmonton 24.
Last week's record: 1-3; Season record: 7-17.