I have been doing a lot of thinking about the game Friday against the RedBlacks and I have good news for you. I have come up with an extensive list of scenarios that would lead to the Riders winning.
1) RedBlacks mistakenly thinks the game was in Ottawa and don't make the flight here
2) Points scored by the Riders get multiplied 7
3) Greg Ellingson blows out his knee and Chris Williams gets ejected for bumping into Chris Jones (I would actually pay to see that because Jones would absolutely level him)
4) All 46 RedBlack players fail to get through security due to an "anonymous" tip
5) Trevor Harris plays blindfolded with one arm tied behind his back.
6) Trainers slip ruffies into the visitors' sideline Gatorade on
Short of these I see no scenario where the Riders pick up their first win of 2016. Here's all you need to know about this match-up: Undefeated team with the top offense in the league takes on winless team with a back-up QB, second string O-line and the worst defense in the league. Just because its obvious doesn't make it any less true.
But since you're here anyway, I'll make an attempt to breakdown this match-up.
The fact that Durant is practicing is promising but Friday will be the Mitchell Gale show. Too risky and too early to even think about Durant. I feel sorry for Gale because Labatte and Best will be out and at this point I haven't heard Clark is healthy so... Umm... yeah, good luck with that. We need to help out Gale and whatever line we manage to cobble together. Ottawa has the #1 run D in the CFL (allowing just 3.3yds per rush) but still we need to be more committed to running the ball. In our case "more committed" means at least considering it once in a blue moon. This would also be a good time to work in Kendial Lawrence on some short passes to get him the ball in space. Ottawa can be beaten through the air but if we just resort to letting Gale chuck it down field, Ottawa will obliterate our line and things will get ugly. Can't be afraid to take shots but can't live solely on them either.
Defensively, I can't even attempt to sound positive. Trevor Harris is playing at an unreal level. He leads an offense that is tops in points and yards and completing a ridiculous 80% of passing attempts. In order to have a chance we need a herculean effort from our front 4. They need to disrupt Harris and the robot-like efficiency is executing. Not sure who we will assign to tall task of covering Chris Williams either way I don't like their odds. Williams is currently on pace for 2500 yards and 26 TDs!! Now there's no way he keeps up that pace.. but I don't expect we will be the team to slow him down. I honestly think our best chance of containing this offensive juggernaut is a strong pass rush and creating turnovers.
Trust me, better days are coming in Riderville but this won't be one of them. In fact this may be the worst one to date. I encourage you to take the college guy approach to this game, lower your standards, drink a lot and there's a chance you might end up enjoying your evening.
Note: I typed this up Wednesday prior to leaving on a fishing trip so this will not account for the dozen or so roster changes that have occurred since. I will be away until Tuesday so there will be no Monday Sentimonies. Though if there were I assume they would be something along the lines of "Well that was an ass kicking." and "At least there were no lines getting out of the stadium... because everyone left at halftime."
See you next week