The Toronto Argonauts are not quite yet eliminated from the CFL playoff race, but they will have to get their offence in gear in the season’s final six weeks in order to have a chance.
Their first test will come when they host the league’s top team, the Montreal Alouettes, at the Rogers Centre this Saturday [TSN, 1 p.m. EST].
Montreal [10-2] has won three in a row, the Argonauts have dropped their last two, and now sit in the Eastern Conference cellar with six points. Toronto is four behind the B.C Lions for the league’s final playoff spot.
While the Argonauts have struggled to move the ball all season, scoring only 235 points, the Als offence has been the league’s top scoring threat behind franchise quarterback Anthony Calvillo.
He could be in line to earn a second straight most outstanding player award, having already thrown 17 touchdown with just five interceptions.
A Los Angeles native, Calvillo also leads the league in completion percentage [72.1 per cent] yards [3,597] and quarterback rating [105.7].
Calvillo will be looking for a repeat of his performance in Montreal’s 25-0 defeat of Toronto on Aug. 7. While he did not throw a touchdown, the pivot completed 35-of-43 passes for 395 yards.
That game marked a changing of the guard in the Argonauts campaign as starting quarterback Kerry Joseph found himself benched in the fourth quarter in favour of backup Cody Pickett.
Since that loss, Joseph has not started a game and the Argonauts are 1-5 with Pickett at the helm, though he did play the second half of last week’s loss to Winnipeg.
Andrus has said he’s going back to Pickett this week.
“Cody is our starter, he’s our guy,” the coach told Canadian Press. “As long as he’s healthy, he’ll be the guy.
“If we feel we need a change to maybe spice things up a little bit or get us moving we may do that. But right now I have no intention of him not playing the whole game.”
Pickett knows finding holes in the Alouettes top-ranked defence this weekend will be a challenge.
“They’ll man you up, get up in your face and play strong defence,” the quarterback said.
“We’ve got to do the best we can to stay on the field as long as possible to help out our defence. It’s a big challenge for us.”
If the Boatmen are to win, they will have to contain Alouettes running back Avon Cobourne, the league’s reigning offensive player of the week.
In his first game against the Argonauts, Cobourne ran for just 54 yards, but scored two touchdowns.
Notes: Since dropping a 19-12 road game against the B.C. Lions on Sept. 4, the Alouettes have outscored their opponents 103-46 … The Alouettes have not lost to the Argonauts since Oct. 20, 2007, a span of four games.