TORONTO — In a game they needed to win, the Saskatchewan Roughriders came through vs. the BC Lions in Week 6.
Cody Fajardo bounced back in a big way, Marcus Thigpen scored a kick return touchdown and Shaq Evans had a career game, as the Riders held serve in the beginning of a critical early-season home-and-home.
The win keeps the Riders relevant in the highly-competitive West, moving within just a game of the second-place Edmonton Eskimos and Calgary Stampeders.
More importantly, however, was the team’s performance on both sides of the ball, as Fajardo continues to show signs of being the quarterback of the future, and the defence was able to turn up the pressure on Lions quarterback Mike Reilly.
With a mix of youth and experience, including veterans Emmanuel Arceneaux and Solomon Elimimian back from injury, are the Riders ready to go on a run? More in the Nissan Titan Power Rankings.
1. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Record: 5-0 Last Week: 1
Allowing just 13.2 offensive points per game, the defence has been the engine of the Bombers’ 5-0 start. But even without Chris Matthews this offence has looked as dangerous as any, led by Matt Nichols‘ 12:1 touchdown to interception ratio and 129.1 QB rating. You’re looking at a legitimate CFL powerhouse.
2. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Record: 4-1 Last Week: 3
The Ticats’ offence will see a true measuring stick in Week 7 with a clash against the CFL’s top-ranked defence. Jeremiah Masoli will need to limit the turnovers against an opportunistic Bomber defence, as the two division leaders settle in for a potential Grey Cup preview.
3. Edmonton Eskimos
Record: 3-2 Last Week: 2
The CFL’s most explosive attack looked ordinary against Montreal, failing to find the end zone for the second time this season in a loss to the Als. Still, there’s plenty to like about the Eskimos on both sides of the ball, from a league-leading 19 sacks on defence to an offence averaging 425 yards per game.
4. Calgary Stampeders
Record: 3-2 Last Week: 4
The defending champions are difficult to put a finger on early in 2019. They gave up 410 yards to the struggling Argos and managed just 244 yards themselves, winning on the strength of seven turnovers. Yet they’re doing it without Bo Levi Mitchell, with sophomore Nick Arbuckle playing just fine in his absence.
5. Montreal Alouettes
Record: 3-2 Last Week: 5
Don’t look now but the Alouettes are tied for third in the CFL following a three-game winning streak. Vernon Adams Jr. has been a punch in the arm in Montreal, yet Bob Slowik’s defence has been just as critical to the Alouettes’ success, most recently keeping the high-octane Eskimos out of the end zone.
6. Saskatchewan Roughriders
Record: 2-3 Last Week: 8
It doesn’t appear Cody Fajardo is going anywhere. The Riders’ pivot tightened his grip on the starting job, averaging 12.1 yards per attempt and totaling three touchdowns in a win over BC. If Fajardo can find consistency in his game, the Riders aren’t a stretch to host a playoff game this November.
7. Ottawa REDBLACKS
Record: 2-3 Last Week: 6
R.J. Harris and Dominique Davis were clearly missed by the REDBLACKS, who totaled just 12 first downs and 175 net yards in a 31-1 loss to Winnipeg. On the bright side, John Crockett looks pretty good at running back, while Jonathon Jennings gets at least one more week to try and figure things out.
8. BC Lions
Record: 1-5 Last Week: 7
Protection continues to be an issue for the Lions, who had no answer for Riders defensive end Charleston Hughes. Still, the Lions’ offence showed signs of life, tallying 432 yards of offence and 27 first downs on the road. It may not be too early to call Week 7’s rematch with the Riders a must-win game for BC.
9. Toronto Argonauts
Record: 0-5 Last Week: 9
The Argos showed signs of growth in their trip to Calgary, stifling the Stampeders’ offence while racking up 400-plus yards of their own. But they won’t have a chance if they continue to turn the ball over, coming off a seven-turnover game and leading the CFL with 21 giveaways this season, leading to 66 points the other way.