Saturday night it’s a battle of two teams that would be winless were it not for hapless Argos. It’s the first of a two game set and while it’s still early in the season, the next 2 weeks could go a long way to determine who will finish last in the West. As I see it, if we win both… life is good. If we win 1… there’s still hope. If we lose both… the actual apocalypse will seem tame by comparison to the doom and gloom that will engulf the province.
Before the season started, if we had been placing bets I think many would have correctly predicted that this game would feature the offense with the least yards and the second least points (less than 20 per game). Most would have incorrectly assumed that offense would be led by the back-up Rider QB… not Mike Reilly.
So yeah, the Lions got issues. It’s not a shock to many that spending over $700k on a QB and an additional $250k on a guard (a freakin’ guard!) would lead to roster deficiencies elsewhere. But many (myself included) assumed that an offense featuring Reilly throwing to Burnham and Duron would at least be mildly competent. But that is not the case. First and foremost the BC O-line is horrific. They couldn’t block an inanimate cardboard cutout of a defender. Let that be a lesson that if you are going to blow your wad on a QB maybe invest in some serviceable tackles. The O-line issues are compounded by the fact that BC’s RBs are the worst I’ve seen in a long time at pass blocking. They are never in the right place. Finally their personnel issues are compounded by terrible play calling. Despite their complete inability to keep Mike Reilly from getting killed, they routinely run pass plays where there is no route less than 15. It makes no sense.
That said you can’t take any offense lead by Mike Reilly lightly. Our defense should be able handle things but they can’t coast through it. They need to give full effort. It starts up front where our front 4 should have a 5 sack minimum. They should absolutely manhandle the BC O-line. Johnson and Evans have been quiet this season and that needs to change. We also can’t let BC establish a run game as I’m sure they will try. Keep BC one dimensional and that will ensure Reilly stays up close and personal with the Mosaic turf. Having Marshall back should help stabilize the secondary… though Means is still out there and you all know I think he’s awful. Whoever is on Duron should do all they can to keep him from getting involved in the game. Keep the ball away from him and keep running your mouth and Duron is good for a least one major penalty. BC has the third most turnovers so getting one or two of those would go a long way to winning this game.
In terms of our offense, it would sure be nice if they decided to do something again. A strong running game would help. BC has decent run D but William Powell is supposed to be the motor than runs our O so lets get him going. One interesting deficiency of the Lions is their D-line. One would assume that with Claybrooks at the helm… and decent talent in Willis, Coleman and Louis they would be a strength but they are not. They have just 7 sacks and they aren’t getting a push from their big guys in the middle. To help Fajardo get his mojo back I suggest using Thigpen and Moore for high percentage passes where they get the ball in space. Grymes and Lee are good at HB but BC’s corner’s should not scare us. Arceneaux will make his debut and you can bet he wants to prove himself to his old team. BC has allowed the 3rd most points.
Special teams will also play a factor in this game. Up until now BC’s has been terrible. Their punting was awful so they wisely brought in Josh Bartel. Their returns have been non-existent so they brought in Ryan Lankford (who had a 42 yard punt return against the Riders in week 2 as a RedBlack). BC has the second worst punt coverage so we’ll have chances there. Not sure at this point if Jones or Lauther are a go.
From a record perspective, we aren’t that different from the Lions. But there are just different feels to both teams in spite of that. We have been inconsistent as all hell this season but we have seem glimmers of hope. BC needed a missed field goal single to beat the Argos. There hasn’t been a lot to be hopeful about since free agency for them. Reilly is getting killed and BC will likely find a way to get him sacked during the coin toss. The Riders should be healthy and rested coming off a bye and have the home crowd on their side. Maybe I’m just an overly optimistic homer but this is a game the Riders should win and will.
Riders by 12.