Game Preview – Riders at Ticats – July 19th
Published: Thursday, Jul 19th 2018, 3:07pm
by: Stephen Safinuk (@Safimod)
Tonight, the Riders are in Hamilton to take on the Ticats in a rematch of their week 4 battle that saw the Riders win a tight game, 18-13. Both teams are rested and coming off a bye with plenty of time to prepare for the return. Here are some of the guys to a much needed Rider victory before a very tough stretch of Western games.
Bend but Don’t Break
Seems like a simple request, but the Riders defense needs to be at their best, all game long, if the Riders want to come out of this home and home with a sweep. The Rider offense has only a single touchdown in every game this year (no more, no less) and show no signs of putting it together yet. While the defense gave up a ton of yards last week (including almost 400 to Jeremiah Masoli alone), they didn’t allow the Ticats into the end zone. While it’s a tall order to ask them to keep the Ticats offense off the board for a second straight game, that is exactly what they will need to do. They can bend all day, but they cannot break. As long as the defense can hold it all together, the Saskatchewan Roughriders stand a chance. If it turns in to an offensive battle, I really don’t like our odds.
Offensive Play Calling Needs to be Less Offensive
If practice is any indication, we are in for yet another week of the small ball offense that saw next to no success versus the Ticats in Week 4. For the Riders offense to get going, they need to be more imaginative when it comes to the offensive play calling. As great as it was to see Brandon Bridge going 11/13, his passes were almost entirely dump offs. Combine that with a lack of legitimate run game (12 runs all game from RBs) and you get a defense that can pin their ears back and come at you. Stephen McAdoo needs to mix in some intermediate passes and an actual running threat like they did versus Toronto in week 1. Keep the defense honest, and we may see more success. Stick with the same old game plan, and this game may be over early.
Get To Masoli Early and Often
Zack Evans, Willie Jefferson and Charleston Hughes are going to have to bring their A game this week, to keep Jeremiah Masoli and the Hamilton Tiger Cats out of the end zone for a second consecutive game.
Stay Healthy On the Line
The Riders are without Makana Henry this week (1 game injured list) which means the backup defensive tackle (Eddie Steele) is also likely our backup/6th offensive lineman. An early injury on either side could be trouble for the Riders, leaving them with minimal depth and another player potentially playing out of position.
It is hard enough to sweep a home and home in the CFL, but it’s even harder to do it when one side of your team is the only one showing up. Too many things have to go right for the Riders to walk out of Tim Horton’s Field with a victory.
Jeremiah Masoli’s consecutive 300 game passing streak ends tonight. He will finish with 225 yards and a touchdown.
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