Labour Day is one of the most beloved games on the schedule. This year it will be even more beloved because, let’s face it, we need this. This team went 0 for August and is currently on a 5 game skid… if this skid goes on any longer Riderville will start qualifying as a disaster zone and we could apply for provincial relief funding (maybe that’s something they should look into as a potential way to fund the stadium).
Before I get to the game, I need to get my obligatory Manitoba bashing out of the way. You’d think after 5 years of doing this I would be running out of things to mock but fortunately Manitoba is just that awful. To be fair though, aside from the obvious: diseases (both sexual and due their lack of hygiene), lack of reading ability, above average body hair, crime filled/peepee soaked cities, and a physical attractions to their cousins which is only outdone by their physical attraction to farm animals they are really alright people. Now onto the game...
Any other week I would likely be not very optimistic about the game… but this is Labour Day! We win even when our team is crap (like last year when the 1-7 Riders toppled the 7-1 Bombers). We haven’t lost since 2004. We also get the added bonus of the Bombers being the worst team in the league this time around. It’s like Christmas come early… even though we are clearly on the naughty list. The stars have aligned… now just don’t screw this up. Good lord we’ve managed to win in spite of being handicapped by Michael Bishop!! This should be fairly easy by comparison.
As bad as the Riders have been playing there is a laundry list of reasons why we should win this game: the Bombers are the lowest scoring team in the league, have allowed the 2nd most points, have the most giveaways, have the worst O-line, have the worst pass defense, and the 3rd worst running defense (which logically means Bob Dyce will be passing... a lot). Oh yeah and they just fired their coach. Even in spite of their recent resurgence they are still not a very good team.
That said there are a number of things about their team that do concern me. #1 is Chad Simpson. Someone should test this guy for performance enhancing drugs... or cocaine. He is impossible to bring down until the 5th tackle. We match up well in that we are awful at tackling and it takes until the 4th or 5th guy shows up to bring people down. #2 Is Chris Matthews, he is the second leading receiver in the CFL and given how we’ve had a knack for making stars out of such well reputable WRs as Joe West and Matt Carter a guy with an actual resume scares me. I`m also concerned that we won`t get to play everyone`s favourite Labour Day game: Predict the Buck Pierce injury.
Beyond that though, my apprehensions about this game have more to do with how much we suck rather than how much they suck. I mean let’s be serious they do suck and they will continue to suck on Sunday even if there is a new guy leading their sucktacular efforts. The real question is will the Riders suck more?
This game will all come down to the performance of our offense. I am by no means fooling myself into thinking our defense is awesome but even when they play like retards trying to hump a doorknob into submission (like last week) they at least play adequate enough to win (17 points allowed is enough to win). But our offense has been so timid and unintimidating that if we allowed the defense of a local peewee team on the field with them they would end up being bullied by the kids. It wasn’t always this bad. Over the first 5 games we averaged 31 points per game. Over the last 3 we have scored 35 total!! There are married men out there who score more often than the Riders.
We need to score 3 TDs minimum to win. Anything less and we are in trouble. Against a hapless team like the Bombers this should be doable. If we commit to pounding the ball with Sheets, one of those 3 will just happen without effort; Sheets is good, the Bombers run D is not. If we commit to getting Dressler involved again (you know, the short statured fellow we completely forgot about last game) that should result in another TD. That leaves one TD. All we need is ONE of the following to occur: Durant run like wind, Getzlaf remember how to catch 60% of the time (you know the Getz we all love and remember), Jock Sanders do something, or Taj Smith catch another hacky sack play and goes for 6. One measly TD is all we need from someone not named Sheets or Dressler and we can end the losing streak. This of course all assumes that someone burns Dyce`s crappy playbook with all the 6 yard patterns from shotgun and replaces it with a playbook that wasn`t taken from a book called Offensive Playcalling For Kids. (Drinks are on me for the person that does).
While Winnipeg will likely be a very tough opponent, there is just something about Labour Day that gives even the crappiest of Rider teams an insane boost. We will win. Also we have the added bonus of Brendan Taman on our side... based on his history there is no one who knows more about how to make the Bombers lose.
Riders by 15
See you in the stands!!