Teams struggling to score points in early part of CFL season
The CFL needs to issue an official statement after last weekend and serve notice they will leave no stone unturned in their search for missing CFL offences following their strange disappearance early in the 2014 season. The league should employ every measure at its disposal, including a milk carton campaign, to find the missing offences.
The suspects in the disappearance include turnstile O-lines, accuracy-challenged quarterbacks and alligator-armed receivers. A league with a long history of run-and-gun offence suddenly switched to run-and-hide offence in 2014. The situation is only temporary in most cases, with the possible exception of the Troy Smith-quarterbacked Montreal Alouettes, but we anxiously await the return of offence to most of the other teams.
First up this week is an improbable Battle of Alberta between two undefeated teams. The 4-0 Eskimos host the 3-0 Stamps and the last time these two teams met as undefeated teams was 1979, right in the midst of the Eskimo dynasty years.
This game poses a problem for me because I can no longer underestimate the Edmonton Eskimos in 2014. They have one of the most physical defences in the league and rely heavily upon these guys in every game.
The Eskimo defence has forced a boatload of turnovers and compensated for an inconsistent Edmonton offence.
Eskimo quarterback Mike Reilly continues to take a beating in games and has substituted his pass game with a run game that will inevitably shorten his career if he continues along this perilous path.
Calgary has a better offence than Edmonton, although the absence of MOP tailback Jon Cornish will hurt them in this game. However, the Stamp defence is also one of the best in the league and I give the nod to Calgary in this game because they are more talented overall on both sides of the ball.
The Blue Bomber-Lions game may be another brush with reality for Winnipeg as the Bombers begin their slow descent into the basement. The 2-2 Lions found their mojo on offence last week against Montreal while 3-1 Winnipeg failed to find the end zone against the Eskimos.
Bomber quarterback Drew Willy looked very nervous when he faced the Eskimo pressure defence last week and may have an early case of battered quarterback syndrome as a starter. Meanwhile, B.C. quarterback Kevin Glenn finally looked pretty comfortable and produced the best passing numbers by a large margin last week in the CFL. The Lions will win this game.
What can I say about the 1-2 RedBlack and 0-3 Tiger Cat matchup? Two teams struggling for an identity, one of them winless and the other one new out of the box, meet at a temporary home because of a major new stadium delay for the winless team.
I lean toward Ottawa in this game because former Cat quarterback Henry Burris will want to prove his dismissal after a 2013 Grey Cup appearance was a big mistake. The ensuing Cat quarterback carousel of mediocrity since Hamilton tied a can to Hank has done little to dispel the Burris argument. Henry has not exactly shot out the lights as Ottawa’s starter, but Burris and his team of castoffs will be enough to beat Hamilton.
The last game of the weekend is a rematch between the 1-3 Toronto Argonauts and 1-2 Saskatchewan Roughriders. Their last meeting a few weeks ago was a blowout win for the Argos, but I anticipate a Rider victory in this game.
The Riders have been soft at linebacker and have relied heavily upon their front four to exert pressure on their opponents.
The Rider pass game has been inconsistent and blame can be attached to streaky quarterback Darian Durant for overthrowing his receivers, as well as his targets for dropping easy catches.
The shock of a poor start for the Riders should be enough to motivate them for their game against the Argos. Toronto will not have Rider killer Chad Owens available for this game and his absence will give the Riders enough of an edge to win the game. See you next week.