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TORONTO — Week 12 rolls in with the first and only tripleheader of the season on Saturday as the second half of the 2017 season gets under way.
The Montreal Alouettes and BC Lions kick off the week on Friday night. The Lions are coming off a bye and will look to Travis Lulay to help pull out a win at home. The Lions have dropped to 5-5 and are sitting in the basement of the tough West Division. The Als, on the other hand, have sputtered as of late but are just three points out of first place in the East. Can the Lions snap their three-game losing skid or will the Alouettes get their first win on the road?
Then things head to Winnipeg for the start of Saturday’s tripleheader. If this week’s Banjo Bowl is anything like last week’s match between the Riders and Bombers, fans are in for a treat. The Riders have been one of the best teams in the West lately as Kevin Glenn has cruised his team to a 5-4 record. The Bombers, too, have been hot. This match between two rivals is must-see TV this weekend.
Things then move to Ottawa where the REDBLACKS host the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. In their first game with new head coach June Jones, the Tabbies found the win column for the first time this season. Keeping that momentum going this week will be key to getting a win and making up ground in the wide open East Division. They’ll have a tough task, however, as the REDBLACKS have won their last three contests – including one three weeks ago against the Tiger-Cats. Keeping the league’s leading passer Trevor Harris in check will be key for the Ticats if they hope to shut down Ottawa’s potent offence.
The final game of the weekend is on Saturday night as the Calgary Stampeders head to Edmonton to take on the Eskimos. These two teams met last week and the Stamps trampled the Esks in the Battle of Alberta. But this week things could change as Mike Reilly has his favourite target from last year, Derel Walker, back in the fold. But if anyone can shut down the Esks and their dangerous receiving corps, it’s the Stampeders. With a 8-1-1 record, Calgary is the one to beat this season. Can they continue to dominate this week?
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Home Field Advantage: Home Teams have flipped the switch this season going 27-17-1 (.611). In 2016 they had the complete opposite record at the same point of the season: 17-27-1 (.389).
Roy’s Joy: Roy Finch returned a punt 90 yards for a touchdown on Monday for his third return touchdown of the season, which ties a Calgary Franchise record with Derrick Crawford.
Masoli Magic: Hamilton Tiger-Cats QB Jeremiah Masoli improved his career record as a starter to 5-5. He is now 2-0 against the Toronto Argonauts.
Bye Weeks: Teams coming off a bye this year are 6-3. The Lions are coming off a Week 11 bye to host the Alouettes.
70 for Lulay: Travis Lulay will be making his 70th start on Friday. He has a career record of 42-27 (.609).
Fans: Through 11 Weeks, 1,120,092 fans have attended games this season.
West is Best: West Division teams are 19-3 versus the East Division this year. The last East victory came in Week 10 when Ottawa beat BC 31-24.
Kickers Iron Legs: Hamilton Kicker Sergio Castillo has made 13 of his 15 attempts (86.7%) this year. Last week he tied the longest field goal of the season when he booted a 57-yard kick (Justin Medlock is the other kicker to hit a 57-yard field goal this season) Montreal kicker Boris Bede has made 21 of his last 23 field goal attempts after a lone miss on the season’s very first drive in Week 1. Bede has made both of his attempts at 50+ yards, including a 53-yard kick last week to tie his career best. Bede’s current 69.7-yard kickoff average is the highest in CFL history and is on pace to break the record of 67.9 yards set by Jamie Boreham in 2010.
Home Field Advantage at McMahon: Calgary is the lone team undefeated (5-0) at home this season. Calgary has won 15 consecutive games at McMahon Stadium (dating back to 2015) and has a point differential of +263 during that stretch.
Road Victory: Both Montreal and Hamilton will be looking for their first road victory of the season.
Rushing TDs: BC’s Jeremiah Johnson and Calgary’s Jerome Messam lead the league with nine touchdowns each.
Point Differential: Winnipeg has the second-most average points against (31.6); however, they have also scored the second-most points (33.2).
Sack Leaders: Toronto continues to lead the league with 33 sacks, seven more than the next-place team (Calgary). The Argonauts have 10 players with at least one quarterback sack, and six players with three or more sacks:
Shawn Lemon: 7
Victor Butler: 7
Dylan Wynn: 4
Jeff Finley: 4
Cleyon Laing: 3
Troy Davis: 3
Ball Hawk: Saskatchewan’s Ed Gainey entered the season with five interceptions in his career – he has more than doubled his career total this season with a league-leading six.
Rushing Yards: Winnipeg is the only team this season to have rushed for 1,000 yards. Montreal is 27 yards shy.
Close Games: The BC Lions are 4-0 in games decided by four points or fewer. Ottawa is 0-5-1. 53% of games this season have been decided in the final three minutes