Mosaic Stadium is probably the last place the Edmonton Eskimos want to be today. After losing both games in a grueling 2 week set against their Provincial rivals the Calgary Stampeders, the Defending Champs now find themselves walking into a beehive with the Bombers potentially starting to pull away with the 3rd divisional playoff spot.
I’m taking the Saskatchewan Roughriders in WEEK 13, although there is still a fair amount of caution that is involved.
The basis of this pick is relatively simple. If we take a good hard look at both losses to the Esks there is one thing that may change between these two teams now that the Green and White are at home…
THE RIDERS NEED TO START FAST, and with the Mosaic Stadium crowd behind them during a crucial 1st quarter, there’s no better time to shoot out of a cannon.
During both games against Edmonton this year the Roughriders have spotted the 2015 Grey Cup Champs at least 14 points by stumbling out of the gate. Whether it’s been through turnovers, or penalties, or both; the Riders have yet to put an entire game together against Mike Reilly and company.
Realistically, that’s been one of the themes for the entire year when we look at Saskatchewan, however it’s the games against Edmonton that have really underscored the, “what if” questions surrounding the Riders ability to put together an ENTIRE game.
It won’t be easy. There’s been a ton of change on the Saskatchewan Roughrider roster again, including the loss of Naaman Roosevelt, but by now the Green and White should be used to having to overcome that barrier and the Saskatchewan still has the sure-handed leader Rob Bagg to lean on, something that has not been happening as of late.
One has to consider the path Edmonton is on as well. There may be the feeling of ‘having a point to prove’ lingering in that Eskimo locker room after dropping their last two games. If anyone knows how close the Eskimos have come to LOSING to the Riders during their last two bouts, it’s Edmonton themselves. Ridernation should expect to see a motivated Edmonton come out swinging, maybe even taking a few chances early in an effort to take the crowd out of the game immediately.
Normally anyone would hesitate to pick a 1-10 squad to beat anyone. Right now, the Saskatchewan Roughriders may look like the Cleveland Browns on many “pick-em” sheets, but there are some signs of life that have been starting to spring up.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders are starting to play better defensively, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this Chris Jones Defence get a lot more aggressive when attacking Mike Reilly and his offensive weapons.
The wind may be a factor in todays competition as well if it continues to persist and that increases the “anything can happen” factor that we need to look at this game with. Edmonton are not world-beaters, but they are the better team. That being said, the Saskatchewan Roughriders are the IMPROVING team.
I’ll take that gamble at home, with nothing to lose.
PICK: The Green and White