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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THIS WEEK IN THE CFL
LABOUR DAY REMATCHES
- Saturday will be the 14th annual Banjo Bowl between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
- Saskatchewan took care of business in the front end of the home-and-home set. The Riders will be attempting to record their seventh sweep. Winnipeg has swept the pivotal Labour Day/Banjo Bowl series twice (including last year) and there have been five splits.
- Winnipeg is looking to win their third straight Banjo Bowl in a row. Winnipeg holds the slight edge in the historical record (7-6).
- This will be Kevin Glenn’s sixth start in the annual game, but his first in Rider colours. In his five starts he is 3-2 and has passed for 1,287 yards, six TDs and four interceptions.
- Matt Nichols starts for the Blue Bombers for the third consecutive season and has won the previous two games. He has passed for 530 yards, one TD and one interception.
- This will be the fifth time Investors Group Field has hosted the game; the Blue Bombers have gone 3-1 in Banjo Bowls since it opened.
- Each of the last 12 Banjo Bowls have been sold out. In that span, the attendance has totaled 374,337.
- Kevin Glenn will be looking to get his 100th victory as a starter. In 200 career starts Glenn is 99-100-1.
BATTLE OF ALBERTA 2.0
- This marks the 58th time that Edmonton and Calgary have engaged in back-to-back sets since 1949.
- This also marks the 29th consecutive back-to-back set following Mark’s Labour Day Weekend.
- Calgary has nine sweeps, Edmonton has five and there are 14 splits. Calgary will be looking to make it two sweeps in a row.
- Calgary has been dominate as of late in the home-and-home series. They have swept the two-game sets four of the last five years and seven of the last 10.
- Reilly has put up number in the last two games following Labour Day versus Calgary. He has passed for 432 yards and 352 yards (784 yards in total) while passing for five touchdowns and zero interceptions.
- One of Reilly’s favourite targets in those two prior games was Adarius Bowman. Bowman has caught 16 passes for 223 yards and three touchdowns.
- Newly-signed receiver Derel Walker recorded seven receptions for 164 yards and a touchdown in last year’s game.
- Calgary’s DaVaris Daniels has compiled 13 receptions for 268 yards and two touchdowns in his three career games against Edmonton.
- In last week’s contest, Calgary’s Alex Singleton set a career-high 13 tackles in a single game.
- 115,036 have attended the game in the past three years for an average of 38,345.
1,000 RECEIVING YARDS
- Ottawa’s Greg Ellingson and Toronto’s SJ Green both eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in their respective 11th
- Ellingson (1,033) has reached the benchmark for the third straight season and is on pace for 1,690 yards. This would set a new personal best, eclipsing last year’s 1,260.
- Green (1,002) reached the milestone for the fifth time in his career. Green is on pace for 1,640 yards which would smash his personal best of 1,197, set in 2013.
- The next three closest receivers are Brad Sinopoli (810), Naaman Roosevelt (738) and Brandon Zylstra (729).
- Last season there were 15 receivers who surpassed 1,000 yards: Adarius Bowman (1,761), Derel Walker (1,589), Emmanuel Arceneaux (1,566), Bryan Burnham (1,392), Ellingson (1,260), Chris Williams (1,246), Ernest Jackson (1,225), Nik Lewis (1,136), Roosevelt (1,095), Marquay McDaniel (1,074), Andy Fantuz (1,059), Sinopoli (1,036), Terrence Toliver (1,036), Kenny Shaw (1,004) and Weston Dressler (1,003).
- Emmanuel Arceneaux has made 17 catches in the last two games for 190 yards; four of those were for crucial second down conversions. Those 17 receptions in a two-game set are a career high for Arceneaux.
- The Montreal trio of BJ Cunningham, Ernest Jackson, and Nik Lewis have accounted for 135 receptions, or 61% of Montreal’s completed passes. They also account for 67% of the Alouettes’ receiving yards and 13 of their 16 gains of 30+ yards. 61% for a trio is the highest in the CFL, tied with Saskatchewan’s top three receivers (Naaman Roosevelt, Bakari Grant, and Duron Carter).
- Nik Lewis has caught a pass in every game he has played for Montreal this season, extending his current streak (dating back to July 24th, 2014) to 55 consecutive games.
WEEK 12 GAME NOTES
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