Mark’s #LDWeekend is here, and with it come three high-stakes rivalry matchups which will help shape the balance of power entering the second half of the season.
This #TotalPickEm column is intended to give you some insight into the matchups, but for full breakdowns be sure to visit the main page of CFL.ca for comprehensive resources.
Sunday | Winnipeg at Saskatchewan
The first end of a home-and-home between the prairie rivals goes Sunday in Regina, as the Riders (6-3) host the Bombers (8-2).
Saskatchewan is a known commodity at this point; QB Cody Fajardo has been steady if unspectacular (85/124, 2:0 TD-INT ratio) over the past month, and the team has a number of playmakers on the defensive side of the ball.
Winnipeg, meanwhile, is venturing into uncharted waters with QB Matt Nichols still sidelined and star RB Andrew Harris set to begin serving his two-game suspension.
As I said a few times over the last couple days, I expect Nic Demski, Johnny Augustine, and John Santiago to all be involved in the #Bombers run game alongside QB Chris Streveler.
It’s going to be a very different Bombers offence on Sunday, and the visitors will likely need their defensive stars to come up big in order to engineer a road win.
Monday | Toronto at Hamilton
In the immortal words of Matt Dunigan, it’s time for the Toronto Argos to “get busy.”
Corey Chamblin’s club has played better over the past few games, but Toronto (1-8) remains firmly on the outside — eight points out — looking in on the playoff picture.
The Ticats feel they aren’t getting the respect they deserve from the rest of the league, and they may have a point: Hamilton is 8-2, and 2-0 since Jeremiah Masoli went down. Orlondo Steinauer’s group is winning games on defence — but winning nonetheless.
Ball security and early offence will be key if Toronto wants to avoid another loss to their Ontario rivals.
Monday | Edmonton at Calgary
It’s been a long time since the Calgary Stampeders were fourth in the West Division at this point of a regular season, but here we are.
With Bo Levi Mitchell’s recovery taking longer than anticipated, Nick Arbuckle remains QB-1 for the Stamps (5-4), who currently sit in a crossover spot ahead of Labour Day’s matchup with the Esks (6-4).
Both teams have questions to answer in the second half.
For Calgary, much of it stems from the base of ‘when will Bo return’, and whether that will vastly improve a team that has shown signs of greatness but struggled for consistency.
In Edmonton, it remains to be seen whether the Esks can win against playoff-bound teams — and with the team’s next three games (@ CGY, v CGY, v HAM) coming against opposition with winning records, time will tell shortly.
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