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Riders vs Edmonton – Game Preview – Week 20

Published: Friday, Nov 3rd 2017, 2:11pm

By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)

Saturday marks the final time the Riders take the field in Regina at Mosaic Stadium this season, with a chance to finish the season at 11-7 in a game that determines if they play in the West playoffs or the East playoffs.

A win over Edmonton means the Riders will play in Winnipeg in the West Semi-Final, while a loss would send them to either Ottawa or Toronto (if Toronto beats BC Saturday night, the West crossover team plays in Ottawa. If Toronto loses to BC, the West crossover team plays in Toronto).

At Jovon Johnson’s Strikes for Lyme event last weekend, I talked to Rider Sam Eguavoen about the team’s preference about where they would play. Most players would say the cliche “we don’t care”, but this team cares. They want to play in the West Division. That would mean they go into the playoffs on a 3 game winning streak and winners of 5 of their last 6 games. You always want to be going into the playoffs on a hot streak playing your best football and the Riders would go into the dance being the hottest team in the CFL.

But Eguavoen made a good point to me. They want to stay out West so that they keep their normal routine. They will get to sleep in their own beds, they will be able to practice at Mosaic Stadium and be where things are familiar and more comfortable. If they went out East, they would leave a day earlier and stay out East as long as they are in the playoffs. While only having to travel a solid distance once is appealing, they would be in a hotel for (hopefully) 3 weeks and have to use different training facilities, be in different places and just not be at home.

To the game itself, it should be an interesting game. First, we will have snow. Plenty of it, too, if the forecast holds up. But what will really affect the game is who is actually on the roster for the Riders. They will be without star receiver Naaman Roosevelt, who is still recovering from a concussion, running back Cameron Marshall and rising star running back Trent Richardson. Richardson hopped off the field last week near the end of the game after hurting his ankle. I think keeping both of these guys out of this game is mostly for precautionary reasons. We want to be fully healthy in the playoffs, and while this game IS important, next week is that much more important.

In for Richardson will be the returning Marcus Thigpen. He, Kienan LaFrance and Greg Morris will all get carries for the Riders this Saturday.

As for the rest of the offense, the main thing I think we all want to see is the QB play. Last week against Montreal was far from Kevin Glenn and Brandon Bridge’s best play, so if they can get going against a tough Eskimo defense, we should be more than fine going into the postseason. I have no doubt that last week was just “one of those games” where the QBs didn’t play well. They didn’t play bad by any means, but a few bad decisions were made and we would like to see that tidied up before the playoffs.

On defense, we should see more of cornerback Kacy Rodgers, who will help solidify the defensive backfield going into the playoffs. I don’t think we will see much of Duron Carter back there anymore, and to be honest, that’s for the best of the team. We need him on offense and need to have him heavily involved in the game plan.

I don’t expect a blowout game like we saw when the Riders went to Edmonton on August 25 and kicked the crap out of the Eskimos 54-31. This will be a much tighter game and should come down to the final minutes.

I have nothing but confidence in this team right now and I just don’t see them losing this game at home. I was bang on with my score prediction last week, so I’ll give it another shot this week.

Riders 24

Eskimos 20

We will be live on field after the game for our Post-game Periscope, so make sure you check that out on Twitter @PifflesPod. We will be joined with Kayla of the Eskimos Empire Podcast, who is making the trek to Regina for the game. It should be a fun time Saturday!

Enjoy the game, enjoy the snow and enjoy giving the Riders a proper sendoff to the playoffs!

Go Riders! #Bel13ve

 

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