Friday, November 12, 2021

Riders vs. Elks: Home Playoff Game On The Line

The math is so simple even Ryan Dinwiddie couldn’t screw it up (well maybe he could). Should the Riders win at home against the worst team in the CFL they clinch a home playoff game. That alone is great incentive. But the added bonus is that if they win this week then the road game against Hamilton next week is meaningless and we can rest some key starters ahead of the playoffs. I don’t even care how ugly a win it is (and let’s be honest, it’ll probably be pretty ugly) this is one of those “just win baby” scenarios.

Now there has been a lot of talk about how screwed we are come playoff time, and I’m not saying your wrong. But there will be plenty of time to worry about playoffs come playoffs. Besides, the ’89 Riders were not a better team than the Esks. The ’07 Riders were not a better team than the Lions so you never know. For the record, I’m not saying this team reminds me of ’89 or ’07. I’m just saying anything can happen come playoffs.

The second game of a back to back set is normally all about adjustments. But let’s be real, its not like the Elks will suddenly make adjustments to be good. And its not like our offense will suddenly adjust its way to being good either. So basically it will once again boil down to whether our defense can keep the score low enough for the solitary touchdown plus a few token FGs our offense will produce to be enough to get us to the onside kick where Duke Williams will save us.

I’m only kinda joking about that…

Defensively we once again get Taylor Cornelius (though I expect Arbuckle to show up in the 4th, probably in time to lead a late game comeback). D-line needs to set the tone upfront. This is the first of 3 meaningless games in 6 days for the Elks. Pride has its limits and a dominant performance by the D-line will test those limits pretty quickly. We need to shut down Fletcher this time around. We have film so we should be able to make adjustments. Would also help if our secondary doesn’t take the fourth quarter off (cough… Marshall… cough). No reason not to expect our defense to keep rolling.

Offense… I like them individually as people but let’s be honest: they suck. 20 points or less in 3 straight games. 3rd worst in scoring. 2nd worst in net yards. Less passing yards than any team not named Ottawa. They have been doing just enough to win the last 3 games and I appreciate their grittiness, but good they are not. Cody admitted to forcing it last game so hopefully with the benefit of game film he will be more willing to take what’s there. I repeat my plea for us to run. Edmonton has a bad run D and playing meaningless football on the road, they will wilt if we play a physical running game. Also I’d prefer to have our O-line do as little pass blocking as possible (based on how often Cody faces pressure, doing as little pass blocking as possible appears to be their preference). Run and stay committed to it. They may keep Powell’s gain small initially but they will get bigger as the game goes one.

Some bonus special teams stats for you to consider:

-        Rashard Davis – 8.4 yds per punt return. Jamal Morrow – 11.5 yds per punt return. What am I missing?!?

-        Jon Ryan – 37.2 avg net punting (5th among starting punters). Vedvik 42 avg net punting (would be first among starters). Admittedly a bit skewed by that 75er but still…

 We barely squeaked out a win in Edmonton. Despite what I expect to be a small crowd (even though the weather for November will be outstanding), I still think, being back home gives us a boost. The game will still be ugly as all sin but the win will be slightly more convincing.

Riders by a Powell TD (trying to wish the run game into existence) and going to be as bold as to call we score not 1 but 2 TDs.

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