Saturday night the 2-10 Riders host the 6-6 Ti-Cats. Due to the general crappiness of the Est division (or at least inconsistent play by the teams that should be good) Hamilton is in 1st in the East. I have been trying hard all week not to become one of those people who suddenly get way overconfident in our bottom dwelling team after a win... but as much as I'm convinced we are still not a good team I can't shake the feeling that we actually have a chance in this one.
Unless you've sufficiently repressed the memory with alcohol, you'll recall that the last time these teams met we lost 53 to 7. Since that meeting though, something has occurred that evens the scales a bit. That something its pretty much every relevant Ti-Cat player getting injured. The list of those unlikely to play includes Owens, Tasker, Tolliver, Stephen, Dyakowski, and Gable. Don't get me wrong Collaros is still playing and we are the Riders so we are certainly underdogs here but that is a big disadvantage for the Ti-Cats to overcome. Things are so bad that had to trade us for one of our DBs, that's pretty low.
Despite the injuries, the defense is still mostly in tact. Laurent, Chick, Lawrence, Davis... they have play makers all over the field and enter this contest as #1 in yards allowed. I'll be honest the match-up of Laurent and Chick on our O-line is concerning. To have any hope we need to start by feeding the ball to Steele like we did last game. If he doesn't get double digit touches then we are in big trouble. Durant also needs to not throw 4 picks like he did in Hamilton and not wait to score a major until the 4th quarter like he did last week. I would be testing whoever ends up at safety. I would also try and establish a short game. We seem to be able to pass for 3 or 20 yards with no in between. We need 5-8 passes to really keep the chains move and sustain drives. Lean on Bagg a bit more underneath. Most importantly we need to get the ball out quickly when we don't run... unless you really think Vonk can block Laurent.
Defensively we need to take advantage of the 2 main weaknesses of the Ti-Cat O (not including all their players being hurt). First is their O-line is struggling. With a clean pocket I'm convinced Collaros could throw 3 TDs left handed but he has been facing a ton of pressure and its leading to errant throws and turnovers (where the Ti-Cats lead the league). We need to attack that and make life miserable for Collaros. If he's throwing under pressure to a bunch of new receivers then bad things will happen. The other weakness is that Austin is the only coach who hates running more than we do. And it's not like he'll suddenly decide to run more with Gable out. We need to take advantage of their one dimensional offense. Increased pressure up front. Aggressive in pass coverage.
I do believe we have a chance in this game and could very well win... I just know that if I predict a win, they will lay and egg out of spite. So as a public service to you the fans, I will predict Collaros whoops us good. That will ensure that we have a chance of winning. You're welcome.
Hamilton by 10
On a personal note, Step-Prophet's RMF team will be playing at halftime so you will see me down there in my Prophet jersey doing some coaching.
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