Friday’s CFL schedule brings doubleheader action while the chase for supremacy of the East Division continues.
First, the Montreal Alouettes visit the Toronto Argonauts for an important matchup after a Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ win on Wednesday. Later, the Saskatchewan Roughriders look to tame the red hot BC Lions.
Montreal Alouettes (2-3) vs. Toronto Argonauts (3-3)
The race for the Eastern Division remains fairly open. Toronto or Montreal, with a win, have the opportunity to keep pace with Hamilton.
Als are coming off an embarrassing loss to B.C., where QB Vernon Adams, Jr. was picked off twice and Michael Reilly threw more than 300 yards against their defence.
Argos have four straight games against Eastern opponents starting in week eight.
“Now it’s playoff season for us,” Toronto head coach Ryan Dinwiddie said on Monday. “We gotta start winning games and put some streaks together and if we don’t handle our business we’re going to be the odd man out when it comes to playoff time.”
Chris Jones, former Edmonton head coach, has been hired on by the Argos as a defensive consultant. Jones spent two seasons with the Boatmen and helped capture the 2012 Grey Cup.
Als are poised to bounce back after strong outings from Adams and William Stanback in their loss. Combining for 183 rushing yards, Adams added 270 yards in the air and completed 16 of his 23 passes.
Montreal has the most rushing first downs in the league and Adams sits second in the league in passing touchdowns.
The Argos defence sits last in opposition touchdowns allowed and seventh in offensive touchdowns allowed.
Storylines to watch: Both teams are coming off a loss, but the Adams/Stanback combo has the potential to be a problem for the leaky Argos D … Injuries could be a factor for the Argos, as QB Nick Arbuckle will not play on Friday while linebackers Henoc Muamba and Cameron Judge have also been ruled out.
Kickoff is at 7:30 ET
Saskatchewan Roughriders (4-2) vs. BC Lions (4-2)
This is one of the more interesting matchups of the week. These two teams have been heading in opposite directions since the start of the season.
Saskatchewan started the season 3-0 but have dropped two of their last three, including two losses to the Bombers, the Lions meanwhile started 1-2 and have won three in a row.
The Lions seem to be a far cry from their 2019 selves when they finished 5-13. They’ve allowed the second least points per game and own the second-best scoring per game.
Meanwhile, Saskatchewan is coming off a needed win against the Argos after losing back-to-back games against Winnipeg.
While Jordan Williams-Lambert is on the six-game injured list, Canadian rookie Kian Schaffer-Baker has seen increased action getting his first career CFL touchdown last week.
Schaffer-Baker, a Mississauga native, has trained with former Most Outstanding Player, Chad Owens, and will look to continue to make an impact as long as he’s given the playing time.
“Be ready for any opportunity,” he said on Monday. “You never know when your name is going to be called.”
Storylines to watch: The Riders have had penalty issues all season, owning the league-worst in penalty yards with 680. The Lions, at 364, sit second in the CFL … Riders must stay disciplined to come out with a win, otherwise this hot BC team will have a real opportunity for a blowout …
Lions QB Michael Reilly is second in the league in passing thanks, in part, to his terrific offensive options. Lucky Whitehead and Bryan Burnham are respectively the league’s leading and fourth-best receivers.