Around the CFL - Week 4
Published: Friday, Jul 5th 2019, 7:07am
By Sheldon Jones (@sheldonjones83)
Week 4 has arrived in the CFL and the only team that dropped the ball harder than I did by not having my article previewing this week's matchups done up on time is the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Montreal shocked the CFL by knocking off the "only real team in the East" on Thursday Night Football but this is not a review article so I will look at two other upcoming games on the sked.
On Friday Night Football the CFL's only two remaining unbeaten teams face off in the Nation's Capital. Mike O'Shea's Winnipeg Blue Bombers make the trip out east to face off with Rick Campbell's Ottawa REDBLACKS. Most people predicted that Winnipeg would start off hot as they were the one team that retained most of its core. Ottawa was chosen by ALMOST EVERYONE, to be the worst team in the league. The fact that they are 2-0 is one of the most surprising storylines in this early part of the season. While REDBLACKS QB Dom Davis has won both of his starts this season, he has been inconsistent. He threw for 4 INT's against Calgary in week 1 but still managed to get out of McMahon Stadium with a win. But in his second game against the Roughriders, he was on fire throwing for 350 yards and 3 TD's with no picks against an arguably better defense. Which Dom will show up? Winnipeg's secondary is probably their one weakness that he would be able to exploit. In 2 games they have given up almost 700 yards in passing, but we need to keep in mind that Richie Hall does employ the "bend but don't break" defensive strategy. Ottawa will need to establish the run game early on to keep the Bombers DL and LB on the toes. Reigning Most Outstanding Defensive Player Adam Bighill will miss this game with an injury so Moses Madoo will look to try to exploit that weakness.
On the Blue Bombers side of the ball they will continue to do what they do best. Feed the rock to Andrew Harris and Nic Demski and have QB Matt Nichols "manage the game". Nichols has weapons in his receiving core that can change the game in an instant in Lucky Whitehead and Chris Matthews. Odds are if Nichols limits his turnovers Winnipeg will be successful.
I feel that Ottawa has over achieved so far this season and are not the team that their record shows. Winnipeg will win this game and continue to win games when it doesn't count. (sorry bombers fans). Winnipeg 28 Ottawa 17.
Sat night has a double header that starts in the "center of the universe", Toronto. The last two winless teams in the league meet at BMO field when the BC Lions travel to face the Argonauts. Mike Reilly has been putting up Mike Reilly numbers so far this season, but his defense has not been helping him out. First year HC DeVone Claybrooks needs to find out what's not working on defence as he has been one of the top up and coming Defensive Coordinator's in the league and the Lions defensive play has been atrocious. BC would be 2-1 if it weren't for a terrible defensive breakdown last week allowing Stampeders back up QB Nick Arbuckle to come back to win the game in the dying minutes after effectively shutting down starter Bo Levi Mitchell and the rest of the Stamps offence all game. Mitchell hurt his pectoral muscle on a non contact play and had to leave the game late in the fourth quarter.
The Argos are a complete dumpster fire right now. The hopes of Toronto are now with QB McLeod Bethel Thomson who is making the start in place of injured starter James Franklin. McBeth had a few good games last year but ultimately could not get the job done even after HC Marc Trestman lost faith in Franklin. The Argos offence has top targets in Derel Walker and SJ Green, but he only question is will they get a chance to earn their pay cheques and score some points. HC Corey Chamblin did wonders with the defence on 2017 when the Argo's won the Grey Cup (apparently that didn't count as a championship for the city of Toronto, but I'm not going to get into that right now). He needs to figure out his schemes and players to get some stops on defence and give their offence some decent field position to try to attack the also weak BC defence. Until the lightning delay on Canada Day against the Riders, the Argonauts defence had allowed almost 300 passing yards in less that 2 quarters to Cody Farjardo. They cannot expect to allow that to happen again, especially playing against Mike Reilly the best QB in the league. I don't see the fire department coming to put the trash fire out yet. BC will get their first win of the season and it won't be close. BC 38 Tor 21.
Steve will have a preview of the Riders vs Stamps game a little later on. After an already exciting start to the week with Montreal's upset victory over the Ti-Cats, we can only hope the 3 remaining games are as exciting as the 3 hours of football we were treated to on Thursday.