Eskimos offense will take it to Argonauts
July 10, 2018 3:00 AM
by Ian Cameron
Time for a look at the best of the Canadian Football League for Week 5.
Calgary -3 at Ottawa (54.5): The Ottawa Redblacks will play the Calgary Stampeders for the second time in three weeks. Ottawa got back on track following a 24-14 loss in Calgary by knocking off Montreal last week, 28-18, in a game that cashed me a Best Bet winner in last week’s column on Ottawa laying -6.5 points.
Redblacks’ QB Trevor Harris was much more efficient, completing 28-of-42 passes for 342 yards through the air and 3 TD’s. Montreal couldn’t sustain prosperity following their surprising 13-game SU and ATS losing streak, snapping victory on the road in Saskatchewan last week in which the downtrodden Alouettes won outright as double digit road underdogs.
The Redblacks defense has been a major factor so far as well ranking 3rd in total yards allowed at 341 per game and second in points allowed at 19.7 points per game. This will be a revenge spot for Ottawa after losing in Calgary in Week 3 while the Stampeders had a bye week last week following a strong 3-0 SU and ATS start to the 2018 season.
Calgary has been a picture of consistency for the last decade in the CFL and the Stamps appear to be on their way toward another strong regular season. Calgary’s new look offense with some changes along the offensive line, new faces at receiver and a new starting RB has looked fairly good. They did struggle to get going until late in the game against Ottawa a couple weeks ago but for the most part QB Bo Levi Mitchell has been operating a consistent and balanced attack.
Normally teams off their bye week are relatively healthy but that may not be the case for the Stampeders entering this game. Calgary has some key cogs that are listed as questionable for this week’s trip to Ottawa including defensive lineman Cordarro Law, defensive back Ciante Evans and wide receiver Marken Michel. Calgary and Ottawa have played relatively tight and competitive games with one another in recent seasons and even the 24-14 Calgary win just two weeks ago was a close game up until the fourth quarter when the Stamps started to gain some separation. Ottawa has not cashed Unders in consecutive games since their 40-17 win against Saskatchewan while Calgary is a perfect 3-0 to the Under. OTTAWA
Toronto +7 at Edmonton (54): I thought it was a very good spot and situation for the Toronto Argos last week when they hosted the Edmonton Eskimos coming out of a bye week as a desperate home team at 0-2 to begin the season. The bye gave head coach Marc Trestman time to integrate new starting QB James Franklin into the offense in place of the veteran Ricky Ray whose season came to an abrupt end due to a neck injury suffered a few weeks ago.
Franklin was solid and even at times terrific in a 20-17 win against Edmonton, which included him putting together a game-winning TD drive in the game’s final minutes to put the Argos on top. RB James Wilder Jr. gave Toronto the running attack they had been looking for all season having a terrific game, rushing for 120 yards at a 5.7 yards per carry clip. That balance took some pressure off the shoulder of Franklin who was making his first start as a member of the Toronto Argos. Edmonton will feel like they let one slip away here.
The Eskimos offense, led by QB Mike Reilly, had no problem moving the football. They owned a dominant 370-217 edge in total yards but they constantly stubbed their toes in Argos territory. Edmonton had a missed FG, penalties that knocked them backward and multiple failed tries at converting red zone opportunities into touchdowns, including a Reilly interception in the end zone late in the first half. The result was a ton of yardage but not a whole lot to show for it in terms of points on the scoreboard, which truly made the difference in this game. The good news for Edmonton though at 2-2 is they return home with a chance to earn some redemption in the rematch here against Toronto.
Best Bet: EDMONTON
Winnipeg NL at BC Lions: There is no line, side or total currently available for this game as we await word on whether or not the BC Lions decide to make a QB change for as things continue to get worse, not better in regards to the performance of Jonathon Jennings for the Lions at the QB position.
It was on full display in BC’s 41-19 loss in Winnipeg to this same Blue Bombers team last week. Jennings threw two horrendous INT’s (without a TD pass in the game), one of which was returned all the way for a TD by former BC Lion and now current Winnipeg Blue Bomber LB Adam Bighill. Jennings was taken out after the second INT and replaced at QB by Cody Fajardo, the former Nevada Wolfpack product.
Wally Buono, head coach of the BC Lions and in his final season as a coach in the CFL, now has a tough choice to make as the options are limited behind a struggling Jennings at QB. Cody Fajardo has not proven much as a starter in this league and the other option is a consistently injured Travis Lulay who may not even be fully cleared to play yet and could be one hit away from having his career end. Winnipeg welcomed back their No. 1 QB Matt Nichols last week and he was solid in his season debut ,showing very little rust.
The BC defense has now conceded 40 or more points in back to back games. Lions also searching for answers at QB. WINNIPEG