Friday, 19 August 2016

Picking WEEK 9 in the CFL!

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cjevanshomedesigns.com

LAST WEEK: 4-0

There's some great ball on the horizon this weekend.  We hope that this column helps you out during your CFL cigarette breaks and water cooler convos!  Thanks to CJ Evans Home Designs for bringing this to everyone!

Enjoy the action folks!!!  Here are our Picks for Week 9 in the Canadian Football League...

Montreal @ Ottawa
My how opinions have changed!  It was just three weeks ago when everyone and their mother had been proclaiming that the Montreal Alouettes offence WAS BACK after the drubbed the Saskatchewan Roughriders 41-3 at McGill Stadium. 

In that week 6 clash the Green and White looked liked everyone was coming fresh off a healthy shift on St. Catherine’s street the night before, and the win caused the media to go ape-sh*t with resurgence narratives.

Fast forward to today and the lead article on CFL.ca’s “Insight and Analysis” column is somebody calling for Anthony Calvillo to “take the reins off of the Als Offence.”

Despite the article not mentioning ANYTHING that the Als might look to do against Ottawa, the piece illustrates the fact that the CFL media and fan base are quite concerned over the lack of productivity out of La Belle Province.

While Montreal tries to figure their way through things, the RedBlacks need to start fast off their bye week because their other two Eastern Conference foes (Toronto and Hamilton) are playing two teams that are still trying to figure things out themselves, and they obviously want to keep a foot hold on top spot in their division.

It behooves Ottawa and future Hall of Fame QB, smiling Hank, to get a win here because the BC Lions walk into TD Place in Week 10, and that’s no laughing -  err smiling -matter.

As these two teams kick off Week 9, both seem headed in different directions.  One can never count out any team in the CFL but it’s hard to see the Angry Bird taking flight now when the majority of the season has been a struggle.

Pick:  The RedBlacks in the Nation’s capital.

Calgary @ BC

I’ve been waiting for this re-match since the Stamps pulled out that impossible win during their first clash in Calgary.  This is as Mayweather vs. Pacquaio-ish as it comes in the Canadian Football League

If one looks closely, the Week 6 meeting was a bit of an anomaly for the Stamps when it came to protecting the QB.  The Lions sacked Bo Levi Mitchell 4 times during their game back in late July and managed to keep him uncomfortable and under pressure throughout the competition. 

Up until that game, BLM had gone relatively untouched, and it was a big reason why the Lions looked like they had things in the bag.  One will argue a number of points when trying to diagnose how the Stamps came back; the bottom line is that they got it done. 

As of late, it seems to be a trend in Calgary.

It’s going to be interesting to see how BC plans on duplicating their stellar defensive performance from Week 6.  It will be equally captivating to watch Calgary try and execute knowing that they need to be better in order to pull out a win in enemy territory.

Realistically, Defence, may be the only discrepancy between these two teams. The conference rivals match up well on paper, with the Lions getting the nod on D.

Does that mean if Calgary finds a way to play better during this second meeting, they’ll win the game?

Absolutely not…

Not only do the Leos have Jeremiah Johnson back off the injury list (when he’s healthy it’s hard to find a better RB in the league), but Wally Buono and his troops should have learned a great deal about themselves during that first game in Alberta; ESPECIALLY at the QB position.

There were throws that Jonathon Jennings simply should not have tried to make in the waning minutes of Stamps/Lions Week 6 clash.  That’s not to say that he was solely responsible for the Calgary comeback, but there was a lot of teachable film that Jennings needed to see from that game that the 2nd year signal caller needed to see and learn from.

By all accounts, Jennings has been money from then on (BC’s final drive in the 4th Quarter of last week was beautiful) and with this game holding more meaning than the first, Jennings and his teammates have probably been anxiously waiting their chance at a re-do.

I really believe that this game could go either way, which is exactly what one wants when the best two teams in the CFL meet. 

Both teams rely on the big fellas up front to set the tone, both teams can run the rock, and both teams have QBs that are playing at a high level.  The Lions and Stamps also have great receiving corps, along with talented DBs in the secondary to defend against the pass. 

The difference in this game may be at the LB core, and that’s where we may find the scales tipping slightly in BCs favour.  2016 has been business as usual for Adam Bighill and Solomon Elimimian.  They’re the cornerstones of the Lions Defence, and may be what the doctor ordered when it comes to stopping an efficient Calgary run game, and taking away large portions on the field during the pass. 

Marquee games are often decided by one or two plays.  The Week 6 game between these two teams lived up to the hype, and if Week 9 follows the same script, we’re in for a treat, and the BC LBs may be the difference makers.

Pick: The British Columbia Lions and the best unis in the CFL

Edmonton @ Toronto

During our mid-week OFFSIDES podcast, I had a lot of trouble trying to come up with a label for this game.  To this point, both teams have underperformed, and it’s been annoying to watch, knowing how much talent there actually is on both rosters.  As I stumbled around looking for a phrase to coin this game with, our co-host (Coach Gary Etcheverry) thankfully had a perfect title; the battle of mediocrity.
Much like the game we just talked about, this competition could go either way; but not in a good way.  Due to the fact that neither of these squads have been world-beaters on Defence one would probably look to the Offensive side of the ball to find the keys to victory.

I’ve gotta go with Edmonton in this one.  Mike Reilly, Derel Walker, and Adarius Bowman are the bright spots on a team that is still trying to figure everything out. 

Last week, Western Conference teams won every game on the CFL sched and with Toronto’s BMO field crowd not offering much in the way of home side advantage, this game is a chance for Edmonton to gain some ground on one of the top two teams in their division (somebody has to lose the BC/CGY game).

Pick:  The Edmonton Eskimos

Saskatchewan @ Hamilton

The Saskatchewan Roughriders need to start winning some games here in order to get themselves into the playoffs and make some noise.  When one looks at this upcoming contest in Hamilton, one may find that the easiest way to forecast the winner is to break things down using the three phases of the game.

Here’s the good news; when it comes to the Offensive side of the ball, the Roughriders have the advantage, based on he fact that Doubles has been playing out of his mind in 2016. 

Analysts and experts are so excited that Zach Collaros has returned, and for good reason, however right now (with a young Offensive Line playing decently in front of #4) Darian Durant gives the Green and White the nod in this phase.  He (Durant) is playing with a chip on his shoulder, and looks notably youthful. 

The Face of the Franchise is carrying this squad, and with this being only the 2nd game that Collaros is playing in coming off a long rehab stint, it’s still too early to tell whether or not the Hamilton O is back to where they were, prior to Collaros going down in 2015.

Unfortunately, it’s the other two phases of this game where things take a turn on Saskatchewan. 

Hamilton possesses the CFLs version of Devin Hester (in his prime) in Brandon Banks, and his ability to instantly change the face of a football game leaves CFL fans in absolute awe.  Banks will hit at the absolute WORST time for an opponent so the Riders kick coverage teams are going to have to put forth their best effort, ESPECIALLY on long field goals (just ask the BC Lions).

The TiCats also get the nod defensively with their multiple look scheme that they’ve employed to keep them in games while Jeremiah Masoli was at the helm.  Hamilton’s defensive scheme does well at getting to the QB, but if one can find the open spots quickly, there is a chance to hit the TiCats for large chunks.

Looking at the game through the 3 phases (Offence, Defence,and Special Teams) makes things easy and takes all the loyalty out of it.  Although the Green and White hold the Offensive advantage, that can be quickly nullified by sudden change plays in the other aspects of the game. 

Right now the Saskatchewan Roughriders need all of your support!  The one thing that the X’s and O’s cannot measure is HEART.

We always try keeping our hearts out of these previews on Pro Perspective.  That helps us keep the focus on the actual football.  Unfortunately, over the last two years, that has meant that these predictions have gone against our beloved Green and White the majority of the time.  It sucks.

Luckily HEART is a HUGE factor in football games, and it gives Saskatchewan a chance on Saturday.

Pick:  Gotta go with The Black and Gold in the Coffee Grounds and as usual I HOPE TO HELL I'M WRONG!!!

#ProPerspective



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