Riders Playoff Push Goes Through Stamps
By Greg McCulloch (@GregOnSports)
As the leaves turn colours and the CFL starts sliding into the final third of the season, the Riders find themselves in a place they haven’t been since 2014… in the playoff hunt.
Thanks to a Lions loss in the “cat fight” versus the Tiger-Cats this week, the Riders are officially a game up with a game in hand on the Lions for the crossover spot. They also have the tiebreaker on the Lions after the rout at Mosaic Stadium earlier this season. Playoffs are so close Rider Nation can almost taste them, however, the Riders need to take one game at a time.
Tomorrow the 6-5 Riders take on the perennial Grey Cup favourite and league-leading 10-1-1 Calgary Stampeders. After the Riders lost a very flattering 27-10 game at McMahon Stadium, the team needs to show they have come a long way since that night in week 5.
The Riders are banged up group with some new and returning faces sliding into the lineup.
Kevin Glenn will be back behind centre this week after Brandon Bridge lead the team to victory versus the Ticats.
Duron Carter’s health has been a big question mark this week. Carter is listed as a starter despite not playing since the first quarter in Hamilton and being limited in practice all week. How much he will actually play will be a story line all game.
Cristion Jones is also back off the 6 game IR and will be fielding kicks and punts after Marcus Thigpen got injured in his first game back in the CFL last week.
Some new faces in the lineup include starting running back Josh Harris and recently unretired safety Marc-Olivier Brouillette. The addition of Harris shifts the RB position back to International despite a couple solid games from Keenan LaFrance. The lack of International at DT allows room for another American on the roster.
After being one of the Riders major signings in the offseason Brouillette is playing his first game of the year after retiring the day before training camp. The itch to get back and play wouldn’t stop and with his law firm ok with him returning for the final chunk of the season.
With Mike Edem expected to be out long-term, look for Brouillette to be a big part of the Riders defence for the remainder of the year.
As for the game itself, the Riders are hoping to keep their home winning streak alive and will have a tough against the league’s “measuring stick”. The Stamps haven’t lit the world on fire this year with their aerial attack, but when you have Jerome Messam tearing up the field you don’t need to air it out as much.
However, Bo Levi Mitchell is still one of the CFL’s most dangerous quarterbacks and can light up a defence if he gets time and space. Fortunately, for the Riders he is missing two of his key weapons with Kamar Jorden and DaVaris Daniels being injured.
For the Riders to win this game they have to keep Messam’s yardage to a minimum, not turn the ball over, and keep their foot on the gas. Expect a close home victory for the team in green.
Riders 30-Stamps 24
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Go Riders /=S=/