I’ve got my tickets for the Grey Cup in Edmonton… what remains to be seen though is whether the Riders will punch their tickets to the big game. To do so they will have to defeat the best team in the league. I die a little inside having to say that because I hate the Stamps. And not just a little. My hatred of them is equivalent to my combined hatred of pop music, shopping and vegetarian anything combined.
They will also have to contend with conditions that most penguins and polar bears would shy away from. It’s going so that cold that they may have to discourage people from breathing because the cloud it will create might completely ruin visibility on the field. I would recommend Henry wear a bra with extra padding so as to cover up his perky nipples.
It’s been a while since the Riders have been completely written off by the pundits in a game. The last time I can remember being considered this big of underdogs was in 2007 against the league best Lions… and that one turned out alright. Though I may disagree with their predictions, it’s tough to argue with their logic. They win more, they score more, they run better, they have a stingier defense they have a return game than can be measured in something more meaningful than millimetres and good effort. The belief that the Riders can topple the Stamps is purely based on faith… or is it?
Sure Calgary did post the best record in the CFL this past season but they did lose 5 games. 2 to BC (who we just ousted from the playoffs and beat 3 out of 4 times), 1 to us (when Fantuz was a one man wrecking crew), 1 to Toronto (who is not a good team. Anyone associated with the Ti-Cats should be thoroughly embarrassed to lose to a team that has no passing attack. Hang your head in shame Hamilton!) and 1 to Montreal (who aren’t all that different from us: explosive offense, questionable defense).
Bottom line is that they are beatable.
Defensively all the talk is about stopping Henry Burris but quite frankly Hooty McBoob is the least of my worries. Sure he may be the Western MOP but if there is any justice in the world he will lose… and I’m not just saying that because I think Burris is a whiny, loud mouthed, cross dressing, seal clubbing, baby punching, communist sympathizer (how’s that for excessive libel and slander?). Look at the stats. Calvillo posted numbers comparable to Burris’ despite missing 3 game and threw 13 less INTs than Burris in the process. Burris had a good season but League MOP he is not… unless MOP stands for Man with Obvious PMS.
No, the key to stopping the Stamps O is Joffrey Reynolds. In the game that we beat the Stamps we held Reynolds to just 50 yards of offense. In the 2 we lost, he ran like wild on us racking up 278 total yards and 3 TDs. You see the difference? Stop him, stop the Stamps… particularly in the cold. We also need to need to get pressure on Burris in order to fluster him and turn him into the postseason turnover machine we all love to watch self destruct. Problem is in 3 games against him we only managed 2 sacks. That simply won’t do. We need to bring the pressure. That, along with shutting down the run game will be what it takes to neutralize the powerful Stamp O.
Offensively it won’t be easy. The Stamps have a solid front 4 so our O-line will need to step up and give Durant time to work. A heavy dose of Cates will help slow them down. Durant also needs to be calm and not force things. Ever since Fantuz made a mockery of the interior of their secondary, he has had Brandon Browner permanently attached to him. We can also bet that Dressler will draw a fair bit of attention after his dominating performance last week. That’s fine by me and hopefully Berry and Durant share my opinion because that will leave Getzalf, Koch and Clermont a ton of room to operate and lets be honest the weakest part of the Stamps is the middle of their secondary. Any of those 3 are capable of making big plays when faced with single coverage. Hell Clermont could make a living on those inside slants if Durant can be on the mark.
As always, I will pray for our special teams adequacy to continue. We managed to fair okay against Yonus Davis who is an elite returner, no reason to think they can’t get the job done against the Stamps return game which isn’t quite as good.
I was expecting a high scoring affair but I would imagine the frigid conditions would temper that somewhat. Make no mistake about it, this won’t be easier. It will be a knock down, drag out fight between 2 teams that can’t stand each other. My heart will go from 0 to 60 and back again repeatedly, my hands will shake, my mouth will curse. But when the dust settles… (and maybe this is just the devout Rider fan in me) … I truly believe that the Riders will emerge victorious. A return trip to the Grey Cup to take care of some unfinished business is one the line and the Riders will not disappoint.Riders by a Chris “The Stampeder Killer” Getzlaf TD