Riders vs Stamps – Game Preview
Published: Friday, Jul 21st 2017, 3:07pm
By: Stephen Safinuk (@Safimod)
Tomorrow night, when the Saskatchewan Roughriders head to McMahon Stadium, Rider Nation is going to learn everything they ever wanted to know about their team in 2017. The question is, will they come out of this game feeling hope, or prepared for a long season ahead?
Luckily, I’m going to tell you exactly what I think is going to happen tomorrow night, so you can be better prepared for how to feel at the end of the game.
Kevin Glenn and the Saskatchewan Roughriders are moving the ball, and scoring, at a league best pace. The only problem is, they have done that against Montreal, Winnipeg, and Hamilton. Saturday night will be a true test of just how good the Roughriders offense is, and I think we will be pleasantly surprised. Led by an offensive line that has given up just 4 sacks through 3 games on a team that throws the ball seemingly 85% of the time, the Riders will need to continue to protect Kevin Glenn if they want to win. On the flip side, with an offensive line sans Derek Dennis, Bo Levi Mitchell has been sacked 4 times through 4 games, so quarterback sacks will be at a premium in this battle. The Stampeders have a clear advantage in the running game…mostly because they have a running game, but the Riders have the advantage in the aerial attack through the first 4 weeks of the CFL season. Led by the Presidents (Roosevelt, Carter and Grant) as his main targets, Kevin Glenn is averaging over 350 yards and 2 touchdowns per game. Not bad for a guy who was called a fantasy bum by many earlier in the season. If the Riders can minimize their mistakes/turnovers, they can and will put points on the board.
If you would have asked me 2 days ago, I would have given the Riders the clear advantage along the defensive line. The Stampeders were a hurting unit, missing Charleston Hughes and Micah Johnson along their line. But wouldn’t you know it, those two decide to get healthy just days before a showdown with a Western Division Rival, and the Stampeders are back to having one of the best defensive lines in Canadian football right now. This is not to say the Riders Defensive Line, led by Willie Jefferson, is anything to scoff at. If they are put in a position to succeed (read: minimal 3-man rush versus Bo Levi Mitchell) they will do their part to make life difficult for Mitchell. Last game, we say very little of that 3-man rush, and here’s to hoping that Chris Jones has learned his lesson. The Riders defensive backfield looked significantly better versus Hamilton than they did versus Winnipeg, with minimal breakdowns. They cannot afford to leave players open versus the Stampeders, as Bo Levi Mitchell will make them pay. It will be interesting to see if late pickup AJ Jefferson stays on the practice roster, or makes his Rider debut tomorrow night.
The Calgary Stampeders haven’t lost back to back games since 2012. They haven’t lost at home since 2015, and they haven’t lost to the Riders since November of 2013.
All good things must come to an end. While the Stampeders may have been a powerhouse in years past, they look beatable in 2017. Combine that with a much-improved Saskatchewan Roughrider offensive attack led by a rejuvenated Kevin Glenn, and I believe the Riders will come out on top tomorrow night. There will be an extra bonus if they can do so with a game winning Field Goal by Tyler Crapigna…
Riders 31 Stampeders 28
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