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Riders vs Stamps – Week 7 Preview

Published: Friday, Jul 27th 2018, 3:07pm

By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)

The potential game of the year in the CFL is happening in Week 7 this Saturday night and there is no shortage of storylines going into this one. Calgary is looking to start the season 6-0 while the Riders are hoping to keep pace with Edmonton and get to 4-2 in the ultra-competitive West Division. Players on both sides are playing their former team and looking to prove them wrong and I haven’t even mentioned these two defenses. This is going to be a fun game to watch. Here’s what I’m looking for this weekend:

Battle of Top Two Defenses

The Calgary Stampeders are making headlines this season because of their dominant defense. Through 5 games they’ve only given up 46 points… that’s 9.2 points per game. That’s simply ASTOUNDING. What Defensive Coordinator DeVone Claybrooks has done with that already impressive group is incredible. It’s early impossible to score on them and if you do, you’re likely not going to again.

They will be without star defensive lineman Cordarro Law this week and that can only mean good things for the Riders O-Line as they are finally starting to look like a unit and play decent ball. But next man up has never been a problem for John Hufnagel and the Stamps. The Riders can’t afford to take this injury for granted.

Speaking of the Riders, their defense is playing top notch as well. Other than the game against Ottawa, they are only giving up 20 points per game and are creating turnovers and getting pressure on the opposing QB, led by CFL Sack leader Charleston Hughes (more on him in a bit). The Riders defense feeds off the 13th man at Mosaic Stadium and in front of a sold out crowd on a Saturday night, there’s no way that the defense doesn’t do their part.

The only question the Riders faced on defense is who will take Derrick Moncreif’s spot at SAM Linebacker… it appears as if it will be Matt Elam (former 1st round NFL pick by the Baltimore Ravens). Normally SAM is the toughest spot on the defense to put a new player, but with how the Riders are matching up their defensive backs with opposing receivers, it really doesn’t mean much. Traditional cornerback Jovon Johnson has seen time at SAM the last few weeks, same with Duron Carter and the rest of the DBs, it all depends on where their receiver lines up. Because of that, the team isn’t stuck with mismatches that burned them in the Ottawa and Montreal games earlier this season.

Bo Levi, Shut Your Mouth! (Part 2)

Last year, when Duron Carter played cornerback against the Stamps in Calgary, the lead up was FUN! Mitchell said he would throw it to Carter 25 times, and we all wondered what would happen. Well…

(Thank you to Rod Pedersen for the call on that!)

Now the Riders won’t be playing the same zone defense this week that they did last year, and Bo Levi Mitchell has since quit Twitter, but this will be fun to watch. Mitchell is healthy and I’m curious to see how often he tests Carter… or will those demons still be in the back of his mind and force him to throw elsewhere when it isn’t there?

Sticking it to Their Former Clubs

On the Riders side of things, Running Back Jerome Messam is looking to get back at his former team for letting him go in the offseason. He hasn’t been used much this year so far in Riderville, but you just KNOW he wants the ball, especially in this game. He wants to prove to them that he is still that top tier back and Calgary is missing something with him.

The other player for the Riders looking to wreak havoc on his former club is Defensive End Charleston Hughes. The Stamps thought they pulled a fast one when they traded him to Hamilton before the season, but then in a matter of hours, the Ticats flipped him to Saskatchewan. The Stamps clearly did this as a cap move and would rather get rid of a player a year too early than a year too late, but so far, it’s worked out great for the Riders as Hughes has a league leading 6 QB Sacks and 2 recovered fumbles (1 for a TD). The REAL fun here will be watching him going up against former teammate Derek Dennis. While in Calgary, Dennis broke Hughes’ hand in practice (Hughes punched Dennis in the stomach during a drill, trying to get past him, but ended up missing their playoff game because of the injury). Last year while Dennis was in green and white, he got OWNED by Hughes when they went 1-on-1 with each other in games. That battle will be entertaining for the entire evening and is personally what I’m looking forward to the most.

Speaking of Derek Dennis, after being a bust here in Saskatchewan (not that he was bad here, just not worth the price he was paid and was demoted to Guard), he’s back to playing at a high level in Calgary. Is this a scheme thing? I think so. If he can contain Hughes, I’ll eat my crow, but I feel that Dennis is a product of his environment (which is NOT a bad thing) in a good offensive scheme for the Stamps, as opposed to being the best O-Lineman in the league.

Finally, this week’s Engaging With the Enemy interviewee Ese Mrabure of the Calgary Stampeders will be going up against his former team. He mentioned in our chat that he and Riders Center Dan Clark have a great relationship and there will be plenty of chirps going on between them.

Will the Riders O Continue to Go?

To me, this is the key to the game. If the Riders get consistency from their offense, they have a shot. It’s been their achilles heel all season, but have seemed to get it going. Going up against their toughest test of the season will truly show where they are at. They need to run the ball effectively and control the clock. That includes extended run plays like hitch passes and screens. When they take their chances deep, it HAS to work out like it did against Hamilton last week. As long as they don’t turn the ball over and give the Stamps a short field, they have a shot.

This rivalry is always heated and this weekend will be no exception. The crowd will be amped, the teams are going to be raring to get going…. this is gonna be a slobberknocker that I think is going to be a close, hard hitting FIGHT right down to the wire. It’s a must win for the Riders to keep up in the West. They will do it, too. The offense will be able to move the ball and will score more than the 9 points that the Stamps give up. 19-17 Riders.

 

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