October 30, 2012
CFL Blitz: Power rankings, tweets and schedule
By IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency
1. (1) B.C. — They are done playing in the cold. But they need QB Travis Lulay back in play Saturday or else he will be idle for a month heading into post-season.
2. (2) Calgary — Drew Tate has returned, but there is no distraction with the QBs. Kevin Glenn has been a pro about the situation.
3. (3) Montreal — Escaped a remarkable comeback attempt from the Esks. Outside of Anthony Calvillo and Jamel Richardson, they are inconsistent on offence.
4. (7) Toronto — When Ricky Ray is in, they are a contender. When he isn’t, they are a a mess on offence, but they are just preparing for post-season now.
5. (4) Saskatchewan — Two weeks in a row their offence was on the field with a chance to win, but it fails to get job done. Not positive.
6. (5) Edmonton — Offensive line needs to have better protection, but having a rushing attack in the form of Hugh Charles will certainly help.
7. (8) Hamilton — Ticats kept hope alive with win in final game at Ivor Wynne Stadium. Could be dangerous in post-season if they make it.
8. (6) Winnipeg — With playoff hopes dashed, Bombers can say good-bye to Canad Inns Stadium by evaluating young quarterbacks Alex Brink and Justin Goltz.
BY THE NUMBERS
1 — Touchdown pass Henry Burris needs to become fifth player ever to toss 40 in a single season. It would be the first time a Tiger-Cats quarterback has reached that mark. The last time a QB reached that plateau was 2008 when Anthony Calvillo threw for 43 — and he beat Burris out for league’s most outstanding player award that year.
0-7 — The Roughriders record when trailing after the third quarter this season. They are the only CFL team without a fourth-quarter comeback victory this season. So it should be no surprise that the Riders failed to get victories the past two weeks at home despite having the ball and a deficit they would overcome with a TD.
138.8 — Passer rating in two games for Ricky Ray. Since coming back from a knee injury, Ray has put up huge numbers for the Argonauts, throwing for eight TD passes and just one interception. Ray turned around a lethargic Toronto offence since he’s come back, but he will take a seat this week to get rested for the post-season.
2 — Yards Montreal Alouettes slotback Jamel Richardson needs to reach the 1,000-yard barrier for the fifth straight season, all of them with the Als. Richardson led the CFL with 1,777 yards last season but a few weeks ago looked like he was in danger of having a disappointing campaign. In three games, though, Richardson has put up 314 yards once again proving he’s Anthony Calvillo’s go-to guy.
UPCOMING GAMES (ALL GAMES ON TSN)
Hamilton at Toronto, Thursday, 7:30 p.m. EST
The Ticats need a win to give themselves at least a chance at making the post-season. They also need help too. With second place finally clinched, the Argos can go into preservation mode, which means Ricky Ray won’t play at all until the East semifinal. If the Argos lose and the Eskimos also lose, the Ticats would be Toronto’s opponent to open the playoffs.
Our pick: Ticats by 12
Calgary at Edmonton, Friday, 9 p.m. EST
Drew Tate starts at QB for the first time since July 7 in Toronto, and he will be taking the playing time seriously. The starting job for the post-season is up for grabs, so Tate will want to make an impression. The Eskimos just need to win to make the playoffs, but the result of the Roughriders game in Vancouver determines where they play.
Our pick: Stamps by 7
Montreal at Winnipeg, Saturday, 3 p.m. EST
It’s the only meaningless game. The Alouettes have a bye-week following this game, so they’ll probably won’t play some starters. This is the final game at Canad Inns Stadium (where have you heard that before?) so the Bombers want to go out on a winning note. With Buck Pierce and likely Joey Elliott out due to injuries, the Bombers will go with Alex Brink and Justin Goltz at QB.
Our pick: Bombers by 4
Saskatchewan at B.C., Saturday, 10 p.m. EST
The Lions have first place locked up, but this game will be crucial for quarterback Travis Lulay. Not that Lulay needs a win, but having missed two games with a shoulder injury, if he doesn’t play, then he’ll go into the West final in two weeks having sat out about a month. The Riders could need a win to clinch a date with Stamps, or they could lose and head to T.O. for first round.
Our pick: Lions by 9
When the individual team nominees are announced on Wednesday morning, the arguments will start. No matter who gets picked for the six awards from each team, there will be players who are slighted. This year has more close races than ever before. You could toss a coin on the Lions top defensive player between Keron Williams (sack leader) and Adam Bighill (middle linebacker). It’s a tough choice between Nik Lewis and Jon Cornish for most outstanding player in Calgary. Same goes for Henry Burris and Chris Williams as the Tiger-Cats MOP. There are few clear-cut favourites this season, so the debates will rage. And it will be fun.
TWEET OF THE WEEK
Great job by my dude @MattNichols16 in the 4th quarter of our game last week. I was happy that you were out there until you shook me out!
— Alouettes middle linebacker Shea Emry about Eskimos QB Matt Nichols, who put up 230 yards and three TDs in less than a quarter of work
On Twitter: @SUNIanBusby