Riders at Stampeders – Game Preview
Published: Friday, Jul 5th 2019, 3:07pm
After 3 cross-division battles (Hamilton, Ottawa, Toronto), the Riders will finally face their first Western opponent of the 2019 season on Saturday night in Regina. The 1-1 Calgary Stampeders will hit the road for the first time as they venture east towards Mosaic Stadium.
The story this week is more on who won’t be making the trip, as Bo Levi Mitchell was officially put on the 6-game injured list this morning by the Calgary Stampeders. He’ll join Don Jackson, Junior Turner, Juwan Brescacin and several others on the injured list for Calgary as they look to test their depth very early on in the season,
On the flip side, the Riders will possibly be without KD Cannon and Nick Marshall as both have yet to practice this week. Brett FUQN Lauther has also been on the sidelines at practice, dealing with a groin injury, so they may be forced to go with Gabriel Ferraro in his place. On the positive side, Solomon “Yellow M&M” Elimimian is set to make his Roughrider debut on Saturday, and Justin McInnis will step in to KD Cannon’s place.
Put your hands up if you had the Riders averaging over 30 points per game through three weeks, while being forced to go to their QB Bullpen 3 plays into the year. OK, now put your hand down you liar. The Riders offense has seen a huge step up in 2019, on the back of 2 consecutive great performances from Cody Fajardo. 60/82 for 856 yards and 4 touchdowns through 2 and a half games of football is pretty good. Throw in 3 rushing touchdowns, and he has been a solid fantasy pickup early in 2019.
Shaq Evans and Kyran Moore have been superb early as well. While Evans still seems to have issues catching the easy catches, he has been utilized as a deep threat through the last 2 games, and shown he has no issues getting up to catch a 50/50 bal. Kyran Moore sits 4th in the league in receiving with 287 yards (and a touchdown) through 3 games, and looks every bit as electric as everyone hoped he would be.
On Calgary’s side, Eric Rogers showed last week that he is still Calgary’s top receiver. 9 receptions for 100 yards and 3 touchdowns to go along with his onside kick recovery and multiple two-point convert receptions. He will be hard to handle for the Riders defensive backfield. Speaking of hard to handle, Markeith Ambles had his coming out party last week with his own 9 catch/100-yard performance versus BC and has emerged as another weapon for the Stampeders offence.
With no Don Jackson, the Calgary Stampeders will go with Terry Williams at RB, while the Riders counter with William Powell.
The wildcard this week will be Nick Arbuckle in his first career start. The Riders have a penchant for making new rookie QBs look like CFL all-stars, so don’t be surprised if Arbuckle has himself a game.
As mentioned above, the Stamps defensive line has been ravaged by injuries. Combine that with the loss of J’Gared Davis to Hamilton and Micah Johnson to Saskatchewan, and they are not the feared unit they were a year ago. The Riders, however, are coming off a 4 sack (and should have been half a dozen more if guys could wrap up) performance against Toronto and look to jump right back into the saddle.
The key to Calgary’s defense thus far has been the stellar play of Tre Roberson, who was nicked up last week vs BC but is on the roster for the Stampeders for tomorrow night. Fajardo may want to avoid his side of the field if he wants to keep a goose-egg in his interception stat line.
Special teams lean in Calgary’s favour if Brett Lauther can’t go tomorrow night. Rene Parades and Rob Maver are both solid kickers, and Calgary always has a decent return game.
In the end, the Riders need to take advantage of teams like Calgary who are suffering major injuries at key positions. This isn’t a must win game, but it’s a should win game if the team wants to sit at the big boy table in 2019.
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