Saturday the 4-7 Riders take on the 5-6 Lions at Mosaic Stadium and the stakes are higher than Afroman (do people still remember Afroman?) If we hope to make the playoffs we need to win this game. While it’s still technically possible to sneak in if we lose it would essential take simultaneous miracles being granted by Jesus, Allah, Buddha and few deities that we’ll need to invent to make it happen. BC is a game ahead and would win the season series with a victory effectively meaning we would need to win 3 more games than them over the final 6.
When we last faced the Lions, we handed them their first victory in an epic battle of 2 craptastic teams. This time around both teams seem to have turned things around. We have won 3 straight, they have won 4 straight. I personally think BC is slightly over hyped since of the last 4 wins 2 have come against the hapless Argos and 1 came against an Eskimo that was starting anyone with 2 hands and a pulse at receiver. Their win over Calgary last week proved they were more than just products of a favourable schedule but still I’m not buying into the hype.
Still BC is playing good football. Their defense in particular is playing at a high level after finally getting some stability in the secondary. They have the 2nd most takeaways, the 2nd most sacks (a mere 1 sack behind Swaggerville), have the #2 pass D and most importantly have allowed fewer points than any team this season (though that may just be a product of the aforementioned favourable schedule). They have a powerful front 4, some ballhawks in the secondary and Elimimian hitting people hard pretty much everywhere in between. It will be a struggle for our Fantuz-less offense to overcome. That said when you look at how well our O-line fared against the Bombers, we should be able to do the same to BC and buy Darian some time to find receivers downfield. I would like to see Efrem the Rabbit of Subpar Intelligence and Cary Koch get some more looks this week as I think the D will key on Dressler and Getzlaf leaving them open on medium routes. A run game would also be nice but we seem to be morally opposed to running more than a few times a game so I don’t see that happening.
After getting spoiled by facing the 2 worst offenses in the league over past 3 weeks, our D will have to actually face an actual offense this week. A big loss this week will be Lance Frazier. Patrick will play his spot which is fine since JP can play any position well but that means Sean Lucas gets back to being a fulltime starter which scares the crap out of me. Our defense has been solid since he got benched and I don’t think that is just coincidence. If I’m Wally I would be shifting around my receivers hoping to get Lucas matched up on Bruce or Simon since that has TD written all over it. Also either of those 2 putting a double move on Nick “Big Papa Pump-fake” Graham (credit reader Stefan for the nickname) ranks up there on the “Things that scare me list” right between Man in the Bush’s overly touchy hugs and Ferris wheels (seriously you will never get me on one of those death traps).
We have been susceptible to the run this year but that doesn’t concern me since nobody runs less than the Lions... well except us but as I said that’s a moral opposition thing. BC’s leading rusher is currently Jamal Robertson who has been a healthy scratch for the last 3 games. Key to beating the Lions is to try and eliminate the big plays to Simon and Bruce (way easier said than done). Lulay is playing okay but if we continually force him to drive the field I’m willing to bet he will start making mistakes.
The other thing that will be important in this game is special teams. As always seems to be the case BC has one of the most dangerous return games in the league. Tim Brown is shifty and quick so our coverages will need to be tight on kicks.
I think these 2 teams are fairly evenly matched and the winner will boil down to who makes the least mistakes. A big return or a turnover will likely be the turning point in what I expect to be a tight game that takes at least 3 years of my already dwindling life expectancy. In the end...
Riders by a Cary Koch TD (hey he’s gotta start getting some looks eventually)