Saskatchewan @ Hamilton – Saturday Live on TSN HD || GET TICKETS
There are three winless teams after two weeks in the 2011 CFL season, and two
of them will be facing off this Saturday as the Tiger-Cats host the Roughriders in surely one of the strangest scenarios we’ve seen in a while.
It’s not all that odd to see a team go 0-2 to start the year and still be competitive come Labour Day or playoff time – there are more than a few of those stories to go around. Back in 2001, the Stampeders started 0-3 and won the Grey Cup.
No, there’s no need to sound the alarm bells in Tiger Town or Rider Nation just yet.
But to think that not only would both these teams start 0-2, but that the Roughriders would have given up 81 points in just two games? That Hamilton would have a league-worst 26 points for? Yeah, that’s just strange.
The Riders kicked off the 2011 campaign with a shocking 42-28 home loss to the Eskimos before falling 39-25 at the hands of the Alouettes, again in Regina. Perhaps a nice flight and some room service are just what the doctor ordered for the Green and White.
At least Saskatchewan was competitive with Montreal last week, taking a 17-17 tie into the locker room at halftime before the Alouettes blew it open.
The Ticats, on the other hand, have barely challenged their opposition, losing 24-16 to the Blue Bombers at home in Week 1 and 28-10 in Edmonton last Saturday.
Is this the game in which Kevin Glenn and Arland Bruce III finally start hooking up and scoring points? Will Avon Cobourne start tearing up the ground game after recording just 35 yards on nine carries last week? Or will everyone be wondering if the Tiger-Cats need a shakeup by the end of Saturday’s affair?
In Regina, if the Roughriders start 0-3, will fans start calling for the head of new coach Greg Marshall? Or will the former defensive lineman/defensive coordinator Marshall, finally figure out what the problem is on D and give his offence some support?
Questions abound in both cities – will there be any straight answers by Saturday night?
Calgary @ Winnipeg – Thursday Live on TSN HD || GET TICKETS
It’s hard not to think this one is going to be a lopsided win for the Stampeders. After all, the Stamps’ offence woke up last week in a 34-32 road win in Vancouver – their defence might need a little work, but Winnipeg couldn’t possibly stop their mighty offence.
Statistically speaking, the Bombers have the best defence in the league so far after holding Toronto and Hamilton to a combined 32 points through two weeks. Sure, the Argos and Ticats don’t exactly feature the CFL’s scariest offences, but any defence averaging just 16 points against per game has to be taken seriously.
And did anyone mention the Bombers’ five picks to date?
Of course, while everyone loves an underdog, no one’s counting the Stampeders out just because Winnipeg is running a tight ship on D so far. The truth is that Henry Burris and Calgary’s dynamic offence will probably up that 16-point average a bit by the end of the day, but the question is by how much.
We’ll also be wondering what Winnipeg pivot Buck Pierce will have to say about the Calgary defence…
Toronto @ Montreal – Friday Live on TSN HD || GET TICKETS
Yes, this one will be an important divisional matchup. If the Argonauts hope to
catch up with the Alouettes in the standings, a win in Montreal would be huge. On the other hand, if the 2-0 Als want to stay atop their perch in the East, knocking off Toronto early will be handy if these teams are jockeying for position come October.
But this game has as much to do with history as the future.
While the teams will be clawing back and forth for a win on Friday Night Football, Alouettes’ quarterback Anthony Calvillo will be shooting for his league-record 395th touchdown pass – a moment that will be all the sweeter for A.C. if accompanied by a win.
At 1-1, Toronto has shown signs that they are ready to step forward from a 9-9 season last year, impressing everyone with a 23-21 season-opening win at Calgary before losing 22-16 at Winnipeg last week.
The Argos keep games close, and if they can wrangle in the Montreal aerial attack, they’ll certainly have a chance to keep any records from being set on Friday night.
BC @ Edmonton – Saturday Live on TSN HD || GET TICKETS
Ladies and gentlemen, we present to you the undefeated Edmonton Eskimos.
After starting the season with a shocking 42-28 thrashing of the Roughriders in Regina, the Eskies proved they mean business with a 28-10 follow-up win at home over Hamilton last week.
Quarterback Ricky Ray barely trails Anthony Calvillo in second place for passing yards and touchdown passes, while receiver Fred Stamps has an impressive 212 receiving yards and a touchdown in two games.
Edmonton has simply come out firing so far this year.
The Lions? They’ve come out firing too – the only problem is they haven’t exactly been able to slow down the other teams’ bullets.
BC has a solid 58 points in the “for” column through two weeks. The problem is the Lions also have a not-so-solid 64 against following a 30-26 opening-game loss in Montreal and last week’s 34-32 defeat to Calgary at home.
BC will score, there’s little question of that. No, the question is can they contain Ray and the Edmonton attack?