I don’t care if we have Covid, or the entire team can’t keep from crapping their pants, or we’re all hurt. Friday is a must win game. No excuse. We have won exactly 2 of our last 8 games (it’s been just a great 2 months). But as bad as it has been, we can still make the playoffs and if we somehow manage to get healthy for November, anything can happen.
So a home game against the worst team in the CFL is exactly the kick start this struggling team needs heading into a bye week. Now, you may be saying “Prophet, Edmonton is bad, but with the dreadful condition of the East division are their really the worst?”. I would argue yes. By pretty much any meaningful category they are the worst. Their offense has the least yards and least points. Their defense has allowed the most yards and points. They have allowed 52 TDs (that is as much as BC and Calgary combined) Even their return game has the least yards. They are not good.
I do laugh at people who are thinking Chris Jones should get fired. Do you not remember 2016? Year 1 of Chris Jones is burn it all to the ground and spend a season in an almost comical experiment to see who actually fits his plans. In year 2 of his tenure in Sask, he took us from 5-13 to 10-8 and one play away from the Grey Cup. Edmonton will be just fine… next year. As for this year, I still look at that roster and see such a void of talent that it looks like an extra-large practice roster. Maybe he just combined the pre-practice and practice roster into one?
Defensively, it will once again be Taylor Cornelius… who just signed a 2 year extension that he will not likely see the end of year 1 of that deal before being cut. Has Cornelius improved since his craptastic first season? Yes. But his improvement has him at 58% completion. So yeah, his “improvement” is really just being less awful. Tre Ford is looking to dress for the first time in months and knowing McAdoo like I do, that means that Ford will make a random appearance in the game at some point. We won’t have to contend with Kenny Lawler which is a good thing. In 2 games he accounted for 35% of Edmonton’s offense against us. Edmonton appears to have 2 promising young prospects in RB Kevin Brown and WR Dillon Mitchell. We are one of the best run stopping units in the CFL so if we stick to that, the run game should remain a non-factor. Almost half of Cornelius’ TD have come on long passes so we need to limit the big play. This Edmonton O is not good enough to string together long drives against this D. Also, while we are hardly in a position to criticize O-line play, Edmonton does not have a very good one and recently traded away on of their best lineman. D-line should be aggressive and disruptive in this one.
Offensively we get to go from back-to-back games against the best D in the league, to a game against the worst. I know I sound like a broken record (I should maybe update that expression for the younger reader)… I sound like a discman that skips (that’s as up to date as my references will get). Anywho, I will give you 2 stats that should dictate the entirety of our offensive plan. The Elks allow a league worst 5.3 yards per rush. Frankie Hickson gets a league high 6.9 yards per carry. Its so simple that even a Bomber fan could figure it out… run the ball!! Edmonton is essentially coasting through the rest of the season. They are not going put the effort into a grind out type of game. Hit them hard and by the second half those gains will get longer and longer. New daddy Fajardo will need to do his part by not turning the ball over. Edmonton has a league low 21 sacks though that is a deceiving stat because the Elks have 14 sacks in 11 games against the rest of the league and 7 in 2 games against us. We can make any d-line look ferocious. Lean on Shaq and Baker and Moore when we need to pass. Most important for the offense will be to start strong and put the Elks in a position of chasing and then not disappear in the second as we have a strong tendency to do. D will do their part to keep the score low, so we don’t need much from the offense… but we do need something.
I expect special teams to have an impact in this one. In case you haven’t noticed, Alford is kinda good. Edmonton has allowed the most punt return yards and allowed a league high 10 big plays on special teams. He will have a big one on Friday, only question is whether he gets all the way to the endzone.
The Elks are 0-9 against the West having lost by an average of 17-39. They have never held a west team under 24 points and they have played our god-awful offense twice. We have lost 4 straight home games and can’t afford to waste this opportunity.
In true Rider fashion they will somehow make it harder than it needs to be, but as much as its hard to trust the Riders with much this year I trust them not to screw this one up.
Riders by 14