After a short week, the Riders are in Ottawa for a Friday night match-up against the 5-8-1 RedBlacks. This is the first on a 2 week eastern road swing for the Riders and a chance to get back in the win column.
A lot a pressure will be on our offense in this one. The fact is that over the past 6 quarters (2nd half of Hamilton, plus the Calgary game) they have put together exactly 2 drives. There’s no way to describe that as anything put awful (unless of course if we were in Montreal then it would be considered a drastic improvement but I digress). The good news is that Ottawa’s defense is nowhere near as good as Calgary’s (I don’t think anyone’s is near as good as Calgary’s). The official stats would tell you that Ottawa has allowed the 2nd least points this season. While technically true, the stats are inflated by 2 of their last 4 games being against Montreal and another being played in a torrential downpour. This unit has the second least giveaways and allows the 3rd most passing yards. We should be able attack them. It starts upfront as we won’t be passing to anyone if Kevin Glenn is on his ass or Brandon Bridge is awkwardly running for his life. O-line needs to control the line of scrimmage and I think they can. We also need to help them out by actually establishing and staying committed to a run game. The RedBlacks allow 5.8 yards/carry (2nd worst in the League). We will have to wait to see if Richardson can save our run game (spoiler alert: he can’t) but LaFrance and Morris need to get a heavy workload here to ease the pressure on our line and QB. Roosevelt is predictably out but hopefully Carter will be closer to 100% because I think he could have a massive game (though out of precaution we should make sure he always lines up on the opposite side of the field as Rick Campbell). Grant and Holley will need to step up to fill the Roosevelt void. Not much about the RedBlack defense scares me. We can’t be reckless but I think our O can finally have a productive outing against them.
Defensively I could summarize my analysis with two words: Ryan Lindley. About the nicest thing I can say about his performance last week was that it was nice of Lindley to give Durant some company in the terrible play club. Lindley has as many TDs as I do. It will be his second game and the rain should be less of a factor so he probably won’t be as awful… but I don’t honestly believe Ryan Lindley poses a huge threat to our defense. Ellingson and Sinopoli are great receivers but that is predicated on Lindley’s ability to get the ball to them. Look for Ottawa to try and get William Powell (who ran for 107 yards last week) going early to take pressure off of Lindley. Priority 1 is stop the run and control the line of scrimmage. With SirVincent Rogers out they are now down 3 starting OL. We need to exploit that. If Ottawa is forced to rely on beating us through the air then they are screwed. We just held the vaunted Stampeder offense to 15 points… no reason why we can’t dominate this group (even if Drew Tate makes an appearance). Ottawa has turned the ball over the second most times this season we need to keep that going. Gainey is due for a 2 pick performance.
Short week, on the road, after a disappointing performance at home and missing one of the top offensive weapons, there is always a risk of a letdown game here. But I don’t see that happening. We were one score away from beating far and away the best team in the CFL so I expect the Riders to come out swinging and come away with a win they should have against a weaker Eastern opponent.
Riders by 10
Be forewarned, when we win I intend to using the title “Capital Punishment” in my Monday post. Patent pending for all you media types who will surely want to steal this.