I'm I going to make any guarantees about this article? Well I guarantee that you will get a chance to read this before kickoff. Do I guarantee it will be good? Why start now? By the way, anyone who says this is thier favorite guarantee clearly does not remember 88 Fingers Louie telling Fred Flinstone, "Guarantee? Yeah, I guarantee it's a piano". Anyway, that has added some hype to the game, but let's be honest. It didn't add anything for me or anyone who is reading this. We were already hyped for this game. The Riders are under the gun to win the season series against the Lions. They have to win by 14 to do that. Just getting a win is going to be a challenge enough.
Probable starters: Riders - Durant, Lions - Glenn. I will still maintain that Durant is not playing bad football. What he is not doing is making spectacular plays in the passing game to score points or be the difference maker in winning game. When the game is on the line, he showed his ability to make plays, this time with his legs. He's not making the spectacular play but he's also not making big mistakes to cost the team. Kevin Glenn has been a bit of an eingma this year for the Lions. When he's been good he's been really good like in Regina, the POW vs Hamilton and the big comeback in Calgary. But he's thrown a tonne of interceptions in his losses and even in the Calgary win threw a pick 6. I'll still take Durant over him. A week ago I would have bet money that Lulay starts tomorrow, but it looks like he's only getting spot duty. Edge Riders
Probable starters: Riders - Ford, Messam (Allen?) , Lions - Logan, Harris. I did not see Messam get hurt but it looks like he suffered an upper body injury (hockey season is coming) and missed some practice time this week. If he can't go we will miss him. If he can't go, I really hope we dress Allen to have some size in the backfield, even if Allen didn't do much in the 2nd half of the first Lions game. Andrew Harris should be back giving the Lions their Logan / Harris 1-2 punch. We all remember all too well how Harris was the one who did the most damage in the first game. Tim Brown might be dressed too but I suspect that he will be will come in only to give Logan a break on offense and will see most of his action on special teams. Edge Lions
Probable starters: Riders - T. Smith, Bagg, Getzlaf, Swain, R. Smith, Lions - Jackson, Ianuzzi, Arceneaux, Taylor, Gore. I still haven't given up on Swain and Ryan Smith, but numbers-wise this looks like a mismatch. For the first time since th Ottawa game, we get Taj and Getzalf together to start a game with no issues. Rob Bagg is the one guy who has exceded expectations this year. Courtney Taylor is similar to a guy like Bowman in Edmonton. He make a lot of big plays and is one of the league leaders on 2nd down. But he will drop a few balls that have to drive his coaches and fans crazy. The Lions are really strong at slotback, particularly Arceneaux. Edge Lions
Probable starers: Riders - T - Fulton, Heenan, G - LaBatte, Best, C - Picard, Lions - T - Olafioye, Ramsey, G - Valli, Fabien, Norman. According to the Rider players themselves, the line did not have their best performance last week. This would be a good week to try and redeem themselves. We are one of the top teams in the league in sacks allowed and even at that, I think the numbers don't do our line justice. We seem to give up more than our share of sacks by failing to pick up extra rushers off the outside that aren't the responsibility of the line. The BC line was much maligned going into the game in Regina, but had a really good game that day opening holes for Harris and protecting Glenn (only two sacks against). I am sure they are confident in Olafioye vs Chick. How Ramsey does may be another matter. Edge Riders
Probable starters: Riders - DE - Chick, Foley, DT - George, Walker, Lions - DE - Bazzie, Smith, DT - Taylor, Mitchell. These are two very good defensive lines. Fans in Edmonton may have something to say about it but possibly the two best fronts in the league. Some fans of other teams are suggesting that the Riders have an average line outside of Chick. They haven't been paying attention. The other 3 guys are all having fine years. Walker and Guyton have been good newcomers in the middle. Bazzie is having a very good year for the Lions but has been overshadowed by Chick. The rest of the Lions line is very good too. I am not sure if Mitchell is quietly doing his job or having a sub-par year so far. Edge Riders
Probable starters: Riders - MLB - Kilgore, OLB - Peters, Harris, Lions - MLB - Elimimian, OLB - Bighill, Williams. We all knew Chad Kilgore was going to get in when he got healthy. The question was how do we re-align our linebackers when it happened. Unfortunately, Sam Hurl being out this week made the decision for us. Harris remains in for Weldon Brown. Speaking of Brown, that injury has been kept pretty secretive. The Lions have the best group of linebackers in the league. Did you guys see the Seinfeld episode where they discuss the Three Tenors and refer to "the other guy"? Well in this group, Willims is "the other guy". Edge Lions
Probable starters: Riders - CB - Williams, Jackson, HB - Maze, Turenne, S - Brackendridge, Lions - CB - Marsh, Yell, HB - Phillips, Parks, S - LaRose. The injury to Weldon means Turenne remains in at HB where Harris normally plays. As I thought, I saw the Als try and put SJ Green on Turenne with little success. Yes, I know the Als QBs play has their fans looking for Shane Falco but Turennes still played well. Some of the names have changed but the Lions secondary remains very physical and aggressive. Yell has looked really good so far this year. Edge Riders
Probable starters: Riders - Jackson, Lions - Brown. Tristan must be recovered from whatever injury it was that kept him off returns last week afer the first quarter. It was probably a precautionary measure since he is the starter at CB. Tim Brown is coming off a player of the week award after exploding last week. If he needs a break, the Lions have Logan behind him who is just as dangerous. Edge Lions
Probable starters: Riders - Milo, Lions - McCallum. When you have a sub - 40 yard kick to make it a 2 score game in the last few minutes, your kicker has to make that kick. Nothing more to say than that. If Milo makes his 38 yarder, we are still talking about the lack of offence, but there is no drama at the end. Edge Lions
Probable staters: Riders - Bartel. Lions - Schmitt. Bartel hasn't been bad this but maddingly inconsistent. In my opinion he is being (or being told) too cute on those sideline ones. I would say, try and aim it out but don't try and be too fine. I would just as sson see a mishit to the endzone where at least we get a point vs a mis-hit out to the 20 or so where depending on the out of bounds penalty, it could be no points and no field position. A perfect example of Bartel's inconsistency? Despite his shanks, he is actually ahead of Schmitt in ave and net. I actually thought Schmitt's numbers would be way higher kicking indoors. This is a case where I am going to go with my eye test vs just going by stats. Edge Lions
When the Rider have the ball
This is really what this game will come down to tomorrow. I expect the Rider defense to play their usual good game like they have on this win streak, but we can't expect 0 TDs, and points of turnovers every week. Even with a good performance by the D, we need much more than what we have seen from this offense in the last two weeks to win. It's going to start up front. The Riders had a decent offensive game in the first half against the Lions last time, but stalled in the red zone three times. The promising thing is we did have the run game going. I am going to point out that Hugh Charles had a good game running the ball. Ford and Charles have similar styles so he could have success. Hopefully he blocks better and has better ball security than Charles! Like I said, I really hope Allen is in the lineup, because we will need him to bring the thunder part of the lightning and thunder run game. I really do expect Messam to sit tomorrow.
I don't have the answers on what's wrong with our passing game, but along with everyone else, I agree it needs to be more productive. The last time I remember a really big play down the field was the Argo home game on a post route to Taj. The Lions have an aggressive secondary and we are not going to make a living on short routes and expecting our receivers to run for first downs. The Lions secondary does a good job of coming up and laying the smack down. We've got to take some shots. It's tricky because I don't want Darian to be reckless with the ball either. We need to get some plays to Swain and Ryan Smith to get the Lions to respect them so they can't sit on the big 3.
Darian needs better protection that last time out. The offense didn't put many points on the board, but without some great plays by Darian avoiding the rush and finding a receiver it could have been worse. We absolutely need to do a better job of picking up rushers from the backside. Hopefully not having Eron Riley and Hugh Charles in there alone will lead to an improvement. We really could have used Messam and Moore in the lineup to run some two TE sets. Normally I would call for screen passes to slow down the rush, but Elimimian is too damn fast at sniffing those out. Some misdirections or screens to the wide receivers would be a better idea away from the linebackers.
When the Lions have the ball
Based on the way the offense has played the last two weeks, the defense needs to hold the Lions to about 14 points. That is highly unrealistic. I think our defense is good enough to hold the the Lions enough to give us a chance to win. Last game it was all about Andrew Harris being a one man wrecking crew. Between passing and receiving he had over 200 yards of offense. Whether it's him or Logan, the Riders can't let the Lions running game have their way. Our tackling is much improved from that game which will help. I had a feeling that early in the season you had guys trying to do too much and getting caught out of position. This has improved too which is really big against the Lions. They run a lot of misdirection and "tricks" like direct snaps and quick tosses. Everyone has to be assignment strong to limit those plays from being big plays.
Kevin Glenn had the kind of game that Darian is getting criticized for in the last matchup. He only threw for 170, but did not turn the ball over. He has a groupd of receivers where he can just get the ball to them and let them do their thing. They are the athletic type who can go up and win jump balls. The middle of the field is going to be where the effeciveness of the Lion passing game will be decided. They are strong in the middle, and the Riders are strong in the middle with Maze (we really could have used Weldon in this one). Harris and Turenne need to step up and have big games. I am guessing that's where the Lions are going to go after those two.
Our front four is going to have a big game. If we can get pressure on Kevin Glenn with 4 and drop 8 into coverage, I don't fear him being able to make plays like running away to beat us. If we have to blitz, he's a veteran and can beat it. If the Lions get the running game going, the play action game will give us fits. The Lions aren't big on the two TE sets like other teams, but I wonder if we will see it tomorrow or lots of Lumballa as they try and slow down John Chick.
One word of caution for our fans. I am expecting big things from Kilgore over the year. Coach Chamblin is usually not quick to hand out praise to newcomers, yet he told Glen Suitor in pre-season that we may have found our Bighll / Sherritt type LB. However it's his first ever CFL start. Don't expect him to be an immediate superstar. If he has some issues tomorrow, let's not immediately throw him under the bus.
With this team on a roll right now, I had this game circled on the calender. I like our chances at home agaisnt Winnipeg next week, so this game was the biggest obstacle I saw in the way of a 6 game win streak. With only 2 games against the Lions this year, that loss at home is really costly. Tomorrow is our only chance to win the season series, and even then it's a tall order needing to win by 14. Winning this game, and then next week would really solidify the Riders position in the top 3 in the West and position us in great shape to take a run at the top 2. With a loss, and the rest of the West beating up on the East, we'd fall into last, although the West is so tight that is hardly distressing.
A win tomorrow would be great, epscially so see Skulsky's face if the Riders win. I cringe thinking of the arrogant "told ya so's '" out of Lotusland with a Lion win. Unfortunately, even if our defense plays a good game, without a lights out effort, I haven't seen enough from our offense the last two weeks to suggest we can keep up scoring. Losing a guy like Messam who has been an offensive spark recently hurts too. We need all hands on deck and be playing well in all aspects of the game to win this one. Anything can happen, but I am having a tough time visualizing it all coming together suddenly.
My score: Lions 23 Riders 17
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