Montreal @ Saskatchewan – Saturday Live on TSN HD || GET TICKETS
The Battles of Alberta and Ontario may be the CFL’s marquee matchups, but
there might not be a more intense rivalry in the league right now than the one featuring the Roughriders and the Alouettes.
The Green and White have lost two straight Grey Cups to Les Oiseaux (French for “The Birds”) and these teams always –and we means always – put on a great show when they meet up.
For proof, one should look no further than the 2009 “13th Man” Grey Cup, or Darian Durant’s unbelievable two-point conversion scramble earlier that year in Montreal.
And let’s not forget last year’s CFL season opener when the teams combined for 105 points in a Saskatchewan double overtime win. There’s exactly zero chance any Canadian football fan doesn’t remember Montreal receiver SJ Green’s ridiculous one-handed diving catch.
This year the teams hit the field after a couple of so-so season openers.
In the East, the Als started the season with a 30-26 home win over BC that saw Montreal get out to a 27-10 lead at halftime before letting the Lions chip away and make a game of it.
Out West, the Riders were surprised by the new-look Edmonton Eskimos, falling 42-28 at the hands of Ricky Ray and his three touchdown passes.
Both squads will be looking to play a sharp 60 minutes of football this week in Regina.
Enough ink has been spilled and pixels burned out over the Durant-Anthony Calvillo battle. The bottom line is that both quarterbacks are liable to put up big numbers.
Saturday’s matchup will likely come down to which team’s defence can stand up and stifle one of those men as much as possible.
Will the Als recover from losing All-Star defensive back Jerald Brown for the season? Will the Riders be able to rush Calvillo’s throws or will he be as comfortable in the pocket as the Riders allowed Ray to be last week?
Whatever happens, this is sure to be the kind of game that makes the CFL great: fun, fast, and furious.
Toronto @ Winnipeg – Friday Live on TSN HD || GET TICKETS
Don’t even pretend you called both the Argos and Bombers to win on the road to open the CFL season.
No, seriously, stop it.
The shocker of opening week was surely Toronto. Coming off a 9-9 season last year, the Argos not only went into Calgary and won, but they managed to contain the league’s reigning MOP, Henry Burris, to less than 300 yards passing and no touchdowns.
Argos quarterback, Cleo Lemon, was efficient in his team’s 23-21 win over the Stampeders. The second-year pivot put up 187 yards and one touchdown and managed to spread the ball to seven different receivers. His tailback, Cory Boyd, also had a solid outing, racking up 100 yards and a score. On the defensive side of the ball, the Argonauts received a very solid outing from nose tackle, Claude Wroten, who registered two sacks in his CFL debut.
The Blue Bombers were surprise winners as well, as they caught the Tiger-Cats off guard and walked out of Hamilton with a 24-16 win.
Bomber pivot Buck Pierce was also more efficient than spectacular, putting up 151 yards and a TD, while Fred Reid carried the load on the ground with 87 yards on 16 carries.
With four picks, it was the Winnipeg defence that really made a statement – forcing Hamilton to take starter Kevin Glenn out of the game and and stealing the W.
Winnipeg and Toronto should boil down to whosever defence is most prepared to shut down a pair of unassuming, yet effective quarterbacks.
Calgary @ BC – Friday Live on TSN HD || GET TICKETS
You can be sure the Stamps are ready to explode after being held to just 21 points
last week, and you can be sure they are watching plenty of film on how Anthony Calvillo torched the BC secondary in Montreal last week.
On the other side, the Lions were far better composed in the second half against the Als, and will ride that momentum as they greet the Stamps.
Travis Lulay was great under centre for the Lions despite the loss, proving he is the real deal with 366 yards and a major against one of the league’s top defences.
Burris, on the other hand, has no need to prove anything, and he will almost certainly come out firing.
This game will likely depend on which Lions defence shows up: the one that allowed 27 points in the first half against the Als last week, or the one that held Montreal to just a single field goal in the second.
Hamilton @ Edmonton – Saturday Live on TSN HD || GET TICKETS
It’s only Week 2 of the season, but already, the focus in Hamilton is squarely on a brewing quarterback controversy after Kevin Glenn was pulled in last week’s 24-16 loss to Winnipeg in favour of Quinton Porter.
Glenn will get the start against the Eskimos on Saturday, the question is, how long will he last?
Will his focus be squandered due to head coach Marcel Bellefeuille’s dwindling confidence in him?
Or will he regain the form that saw him become one of the league’s top passers during the 2010 season?
On the Edmonton side of the ball, you wouldn’t have been alone in predicting they’d get slaughtered last week in Saskatchewan – and you definitely won’t be the only one forced to eat your words.
The Eskimos’ new-look team was effective on defence, holding the Riders to 28 points, but simply amazing on offence, putting 42 on the board.
Ricky Ray was at his best, passing for 294 yards and three majors, using Jason Barnes and Adarius Bowman as his principal targets. Barnes was good for 104 yards and a pair of majors, while Bowman had 103 yards and a score of his own.