Saturday the Riders face their first road test of the year as they travel to Toronto (likely to play in front of less people then were at our first preseason game) to face the 0-1 Argos. The Riders will be looking build off an impressive win at home. The Argos will be looking to have their defense try and stop something.
They got worked over by Winnipeg's Willy and while I do not put too much stock in one game, it's hard not to openly wonder just how bad this Argo defense will be... at least early in the season. They lost their Defensive Coordinator and Pat Watkins to Edmonton, they lost Robert McCune to retirement, they lost David Lee to us and they took the bold strategy of releasing pretty much everyone else on that D who had talent (Mitchell, Ball and Thorpe). Sure they signed Shea Emry but last time I checked he can`t play every position on the defense. Best he can do is hold down the MLB spot and designated nut puncher simultaneously. They are essentially starting a brand new defense and predictably they have more gaping holes than a whore house. If Willy can throw for 300 yds and 4 TDs on them behind a mediocre OL, just imagine what Durant can do behind our line. Expect another heavy dose of Allen (just like how Winnipeg used Grigsby) and that will open things for Durant. Even with our lack of experience at WR, Durant and Cortez will find ways to score. I expect at least 30 points for us.
That essentially means that the game will boil down to whether we can the Argo O and Speical Teams to 4 majors or less. I like those odds.
Ricky Ray actually played a decent game last week inspite of the results... it was just overshadowed by turnovers and an embarrassing defense. I expect Ray to be his usual ridiculously accurate self. With Owens and Durie at his disposal our secondary will have a much tough task. Also the Argos OL is far better than whatever the Ticats tried to pass off as an OL last week so don`t expect our DL to be as dominant. They will still be the key though. The way to stop Ray is to make life miserable for him in the pocket. Foley and Chick (with support from George and Walker) will need to have big games. Also, I expect the Argos to try and establish a run game. If Hurl and Peters can stuff that early and make them one dimensional then our pass rushers will be able to dial it up again and go on the attack.
The Argos`ability to score on kick returns is well documented so we need to play smart on coverage and ensure we don`t allow any game altering plays there.
Feels wrong being this cocky when facing Ricky Ray but I see no reason we should lose this game. I doubt we blow them out like Winnipeg did but their D in a mess and our O is still potent. Our D is solid enough to hold the Argos O in check.
Riders by 14