After 3 long weeks the 9-4 Riders will once again be back at Mosaic Stadium for a Saturday afternoon showdown with the 6-7 Argos. I’m sure you’ll all be shocked to here that the game is sold out. Used to be that the league would give the Riders an exciting rivalry game on Thanksgiving (i.e. the Stamps) in order to build hype and sell tickets. Recently though the league has realized that it doesn’t really matter where the Riders play or who they play, people will come. Hell I’m sure an exhibition game in Igloolik (it’s a real town… look it up) against a mixed team of polar bears and locals would attract thousands of Rider fans. With that in mind the league has stopped giving us good opponents on Thanksgiving and instead just sent us the Argos.
I spent last week listing the reasons why Toronto is not a very good team. Feel free to go back and re-read it as it is all still applicable. Rather than rehash those reasons, I figured I would give you a few comparisons to consider…
The Riders have the best home record in the CFL having not lost at Mosaic since September of last year.
The Argos are one of the worst road teams in the league having only beaten the Esks and Bombers (2 teams unlikely to make the playoffs).
The Riders have 4 receivers that have eclipsed the 600 yard mark.
The Argos have yet to have a receiver eclipse 500 yards.
The Riders have had receivers log 100 yard games on 10 occasions.
The Argos have had receivers log 100 yards games once and that was 2 months ago.
The Riders are starting a great QB with a questionable leg.
The Argos are starting a questionable QB with a great leg.
Rider players are model citizen who are heavily involved in community service.
Argo players secretly practice the occult, spit on the elderly don’t wash their hands after going to the bathroom.
**Okay that last one might not be based on anything factual.
Here’s the way I look as this game: The Argos were outplayed by us last week when we were on the road. This week we are at home where we have thus far played much better football. The only thing that really changes for the Riders is that Durant is playing at less than 100%. Double D is a fierce competitor who won’t let a sore ankle hold him back. I mean this is a guy who threw for 400 yards while his digestive tract was revolting against him. Sure he probably won’t be as mobile but he is still the top passer facing the league’s most porous secondary… even with a leg injury I like that match-up. We also get Brent Hawkins back which should help our pass rush.
For the Argos, they are replacing Bell with Lemon. Basically this is replacing an inexperienced QB who struggled with a QB with plenty of experience struggling. This certainly won’t magically make the Argos pass game suddenly good. They also might be playing without Kevin Huntley who just happens to be the best defensive tackle in the league and the only guy our OL really had problems with last game.
Obviously we still need to stop Chad Owens and Cory Boyd if we hope to extend our winning streak and we admittedly struggled with both last game. However, the fact that Boyd ran for 145 yards and the Argos still lost by double digits is fairly reassuring. At that rate he would have to run for 290 yards tomorrow for the Argos to win. Given that that would require Boyd to break a record that has stood for the past 50 years, I don’t like his odds.
It would be nice to establish a strong run game to help take pressure off Durant but since our Head Coach, OC and QB are all big fans of airing it out, I’m not holding my breath for that to happen. That said when matched up against the least effective secondary in the league it’s hard to fault their logic in this case.
Logic would point to a blowout for the Riders. That said, so far this year our tendency has been to play just good enough to win at home so I have a feeling that things will once again be closer than expected. But bottom line is, the Argos simply aren’t as good of a football team as the Riders are. Home undefeated streak continues…Riders by 14