It’s now or never for Argos

Cory Boyd, running back for the Toronto Argonauts. Photo courtesy of the Toronto Argonauts. (boyd3)

Toronto Argonauts look to win a crucial game against the Roughriders in Saskatchewan on Saturday afternoon.

While the Argos and Riders are the bottom feeders of their respective conferences, both clubs head into this weekend’s match-up riding very different streaks.

Toronto (2-8) will be visiting the hostile Rider Nation coming off back-to-back losses, while Saskatchewan (3-7) will be looking for its third-straight win.

The last time they met, the Boatmen defeated a reeling Riders squad 24-18 at the Rogers Centre, but just one month later the Green and White have seemingly turned their season around and pose a much greater challenge.

Last week the Roughriders dismantled one of the league’s best defences in Winnipeg, beating them 45-23 in the annual Banjo Bowl.

LISTEN NOW: Toronto looks to fix defensive woes

While Saskatchewan is looking like a new team on offence, Toronto’s defence is looking forward to the challenge.

“I enjoy playing against Darian Durant, they’re riding a high right now,” Argos’ cornerback Byron Parker told the team’s official website. “They won two games against a really good team.

“We’re looking forward to going there and getting their best game so defensively we can go out there and do what we do.”

Toronto is playing for both a playoff spot in the East and a crossover spot in the West.

The Double Blue are six points (three wins) behind Hamilton for the third and final playoff spot in the East and three wins behind B.C. for the final playoff spot in the west.

Who to Watch for from the Boatmen

New starting quarterback Steven Jyles holds an overall record as a CFL starter of 2-10. That said he has a completion percentage of more than 60% and has thrown 24 touchdowns against 18 interceptions.

Jyles is also a former Roughrider and backed up Darian Durant in the 2009 Grey Cup championship and will be hungry for his first win against his former club.

Toronto also has two players in the top-10 in the CFL for combined yards. Chad Owens is back on top with 1,764 and Andre Durie is seventh in the league with 890.

As far as the other side of the ball goes, defensive end Ricky Foley is tied for eighth in the league in defensive tackles with 46, while Willie Pile now sits in fourth with 54 defensive tackles.

The Argos running has been slow of late but were 5-1-0 when Cory Boyd ran for 100+ yards in 2010 and while Boyd is averaging three less carries per game than last season, in week one against Calgary he ran for 100 and the Boatmen were 1-0-0 to start 2011.

Keys to Success for the Argos and Riders

If the Argos want to come away with their third win of the year, the battle will likely have to be won on defence.

With Durant on fire and a receiving core of the just returned Andy Fantuz, plus Chris Getzlaf and Weston Dressler, mixed with the running ability of Wes Cates, who needs just four yards to move into second among all-time Riders rushing leaders, it’s easy to see what the club will be relying on to win.

While defence will be the focus on Saturday for Toronto, Jyles will need to step into his role as the leader of his new team and guide them to victory. But if the Double Blue hope to win they will likely need to give more carries to Boyd and let him do what he does best.

The only remaining questions heading into Saturday’s bout are can the Riders exploit the Argos’ defence by executing the corner routes like they did against the Blue Bombers, and can the defensive line make Jyles uncomfortable in the pocket?

With nowhere to go but up for these two clubs, fans can expect a hard fought battle when the Boatmen set sail in Rider Nation at 4 p.m. ET.