TORONTO — Cody Fajardo is looking to repeat his breakout performance from Week 2, while Vernon Adams Jr. hopes to make his bid count for a starting job in Montreal as Week 3 kicks off across the Canadian Football League.
It all starts Thursday when the Winnipeg Blue Bombers host the Edmonton Eskimos beginning at 8:30 p.m. ET. The Blue Bombers will be well-rested following a Week 2 bye, while Edmonton comes in starting the season 2-0 following victories over Montreal and BC. At the half, the voice of Thursday Night Football, The Reklaws, will perform as part of the Thursday Night Football concert series.
Friday Night Football delivers an East Division clash between the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and the Montreal Alouettes. The Tiger-Cats are coming off a big victory over the Toronto Argonauts and will be looking to improve to 3-0. Montreal will attempt to reach .500 following a Week 1 defeat against Edmonton. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.
Week 3 continues on Saturday when the Calgary Stampeders play the BC Lions at McMahon Stadium at 7 p.m. ET with both teams looking for their first victory of the season. It also marks the return of DeVone Claybrooks, who coached in Calgary for seven seasons, winning two Grey Cups.
The week concludes on Canada Day with the Toronto Argonauts visiting the Saskatchewan Roughriders at Mosaic Stadium. Toronto is looking for a bounce back performance after a disappointing 64-14 loss to their QEW rival, Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Saskatchewan is in search of their first victory of the season after losing both their games by six points or less.
ESPN2 will broadcast Edmonton/Winnipeg and Montreal/Hamilton this week, while ESPN+ will broadcast BC/Calgary and Toronto/Saskatchewan.
Teams are scoring at a record pace. Through seven games, teams are averaging 62.6 points per game. Last season through two weeks, teams averaged 51.6 points.
Two and outs per game are down 10 per cent to 8.7.
Second down conversions are at an all-time high of 52 per cent, compared to 46 per cent last season.
There have been 10 challenges through two weeks, with three being successful.
Last season, the league averaged 150.5 plays per game, while this year has jumped to 155.7 – this has largely been a product of more productive offences.
57 per cent of games have been decided in the final three minutes.
East teams are 3-1 against west teams.
35 per cent of scoring has come in the second quarter this season. As a result, teams that have led after the first quarter are 1-5.
In seven games thus far, winning teams have allowed an average of just one sack per game, while the seven losing clubs have average three sacks allowed per game.
Teams that have gained big yards have been the most successful. Last week, the three winning teams averaged 479 yards of net offence.
Two teams have gone over the 600-yard mark this season (Edmonton in Week 1 and Hamilton in Week 2).
CANADA DAY GAMES
The most recent Canada Day game was in 2017 between Winnipeg and Saskatchewan, which resulted in 83 points (WPG 43-40) in OT.
Other recent Canada Day games include a double-header in 2016 (BC @ HAM, WPG @ CGY) and a matchup in 2012 (CGY @ MTL)
Toronto takes on Saskatchewan on Canada Day for the first time in 35 years. In 1984, Toronto defeated Saskatchewan 25-10 in Toronto.
Prior to his first career start, Saskatchewan’s Cody Fajardo’s personal best was 75 passing yards. Against Ottawa in Week 2, Farjardo passed for 360 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 34 rushing yards and scored a touchdown.
Among Saskatchewan Roughrider quarterbacks making their CFL starting debuts, Fajardo’s 360 yards were the most in club history.
In the same game, Ottawa’s Dominique Davis set personal bests with 354 passing yards and four total touchdowns (3 Pass, 1 Rush).
In Week 1, Davis was 0-for-4 with two picks on deep throws; in Week 2, he was 6-for-9 for 176 yards and two touchdowns (passes of 20-plus yards downfield).
Bo Levi Mitchell has lost four of his last five regular season starts (1-3 to end last season and 0-1 this season).
Mitchell owns the series against Mike Reilly, going 7-4 in starting matchups.
Seven games into the season, there have been three kick return TDs – a pace more than double last year.
In the “Possession Data Age” (2007-2019), Hamilton became the first team to score a touchdown on six consecutive drives.
Ottawa and Saskatchewan combined for 39 points in the second quarter last week. They were four points off the record which was set on Oct. 14, 1985, between Hamilton and Saskatchewan.
The Riders and REDBLACKS game also combined for 85 points; since 2011, there have only been six games with 85-plus points.
Ottawa’s kicker Lewis Ward has made 57 field goals in a row – 18 more than the next best consecutive streak.
The Ticats’ 50-point victory over Toronto matched the largest victory in team history.
Hamilton’s Gabriel Amavizca-Ortiz kicked two converts to become the first global player to score points in the CFL.
To begin the season, CFL kickers have made 90 per cent of field goal attempts; last year, kickers set a record by hitting 88.3 per cent.
The Lions have not lost more than three straight games to open a season since 2011 – the year they won the Grey Cup.
Edmonton is number 1 in defence, only allowing 220 yards per game, which is almost 100 yards per game less than any other club in the CFL.
The Eskimo’s CJ Gable has now rushed for 100+ yards in three straight games.
Vernon Adams has made four previous starts and has a 3-1 record.
This year, teams have cashed 67 per cent of chances inside their opponents’ 20-yard line.
Bye Weeks: Winnipeg was 3-0 last year coming off a bye, and 5-0 since 2017. Since 2012, Calgary is 11-1 when coming of a bye.
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