TORONTO — Offences have been heating up around the league with scoring going up 18.4 per cent over Weeks 9-15 in comparison to Weeks 1-8.
That trend should continue when two young pivots battle it out at TD Place on Friday night with Saskatchewan’s Jake Dolegala facing Ottawa’s Dustin Crum. The Roughriders quarterback is coming off a game where he threw three touchdowns, his second time this season going for a trio of scores. Speaking of triple majors, Crum also scored three times against the BC Lions in Week 15, albeit with his legs as he continues to showcase his dual-threat abilities.
Another pivot who can score in multiple ways will play later on Friday as Tre Ford and the Edmonton Elks host Vernon Adams Jr. and the BC Lions. It’s the third time these two teams face off this season with the Lions outscoring the Elks 49-0 so far. That said, this is a different team wearing the Green and Gold. In their first eight games, the Elks averaged 13 points per game. Since then, the team has averaged 29. BC meanwhile is coming off an emotional comeback victory against the REDBLACKS that saw the team overcome a 19-point deficit in the second half to score the game-winning touchdown with under 16 seconds left.
The weekend features two enticing matchups on Saturday with the Montreal Alouettes trying to get back on track against the Calgary Stampeders coming off a bye. The East holds a 12-11 edge over the West so far and these two teams have split their previous six meetings with each game being decided in the final three minutes. Who wins the battle between veterans Cody Fajardo and Jake Maier?
Week 16 ends with two familiar opponents going head to head in the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Toronto Argonauts. The Tabbies head to BMO Field having won three of their last four games, including wins against the Lions and the Blue Bombers. Quarterback Taylor Powell is another young gun responsible for the increased scoring around the league and has thrown for seven touchdowns and only two interceptions over his last three games. Chad Kelly and the Argos have secured first place in the East with a franchise-best 11-1 record to start the season and will look to stay dominant as they welcome their nearby rivals. Can the Ticats make it four out of five?
HOW IT STARTED/HOW IT’S GOING
Statistic (average per game) | Weeks 1-8 | Weeks 9-15 | Change
- Scoring | 46.1 | 54.6 | +18.4 per cent
- TD drives | 3.8 | 5.3 | +39.4 per cent
- Big plays | 5.3 | 5.9 | +11.3 per cent
- Sacks | 5.7 | 4.5 | -21.1 per cent
- Passer rating | 87.7 | 99.9 | +13.9 per cent
- Percentage of games decided in the final three minutes | 0.58 | 0.68 | +10 per cent
LAY OF THE LAND
(Team | Remaining opponents | Combined record)
- Winnipeg | Bye, TOR, @BC, Bye, EDM, @CGY | 28-24 (.538)
- BC | @EDM, SSK, WPG, @HAM, CGY, Bye | 30-37 (.448)
- Saskatchewan | @OTT, @BC, HAM, @CGY, TOR, Bye | 33-31 (.516)
- Calgary | MTL, @HAM, Bye, SSK, @BC, WPG | 37-29 (.561)
- Edmonton | BC, @TOR, MTL, @WPG, Bye | 36-16 (.692)
- Toronto | HAM, @WPG, EDM, OTT, @SSK, @OTT | 32-48 (.400)
- Montreal | @CGY, @OTT, OTT, @EDM, Bye, HAM | 20-46 (.303)
- Hamilton | @TOR, CGY, @SSK, BC, Bye, @MTL | 36-28 (.563)
- Ottawa | SSK, MTL, @MTL, @TOR, Bye, TOR | 40-23 (.635)
- Edmonton is 4-1 in its last five games.
- Over their past six games, they have built leads of at least seven points.
- During that stretch, they have averaged 205 rushing yards per game, including 200+ in their past three contests – a feat last accomplished by Saskatchewan in 2002. The last team to do so in four straight was Edmonton in 1991 – a team that went on to make it seven in a row.
- In his last two games, Kevin Brown has 34 rushes for 318 yards (9.4 yards per carry) and two touchdowns.
- In their first eight games, the Elks averaged 13 points per game. Since then, the team has averaged 29.
- Tre Ford has had at least 50 rushing yards in each of his six starts this season, including four for 70+ and a 135-yard effort in Week 13.
- In their last two contests, the Elks have shutout their opponents in the fourth quarter (34-0). In both those games, they trailed by 10+ points and went on to win.
- The East holds a 12-11 edge over the West.
- Home teams are 32-27 (.546) this season.
- Last week, Saskatchewan’s Jake Dolegala matched a career-high with three touchdown passes.
- Ottawa’s Devonte Williams has 373 yards from scrimmage in his last three games.
- By erasing a 19-point deficit in the fourth quarter last week, BC set a club record for the largest home comeback victory. The team trailed Ottawa by 16 with 2:22 left.
- BC has won six in a row versus the Elks, including shutouts in Weeks 2 and 8. No team has shutout the same opponent three times in a season.
- Last week, Rick Campbell collected his 70th win as a head coach, equaling his father Hugh Campbell’s total during his Hall of Fame career.
- Vernon Adams Jr. has passed for 300+ yards in five straight games, while totaling 1,732 yards and 14 touchdowns in that span.
- BC’s Terry Williams recorded a CFL season-high 284 combined yards last week.
- Alexander Hollins (900) is 100 receiving yards away from his first 1,000-yard season.
- Sean Whyte is slated to play in his 200th career game.
- Montreal, BC and Toronto are undefeated when leading after three quarters with a combined record of 21-0.
- Montreal and Calgary have split their previous six meetings with each game being decided in the final three minutes.
- Last week, Montreal’s Shawn Lemon collected his fifth sack of the season and the 97th of his career.
- Calgary’s Reggie Begelton (919) needs 81 receiving yards for his second 1,000-yard season. His career-high is 1,444 set in 2019.
- In his last four starts, Hamilton QB Taylor Powell is 3-1, while passing for 1,080 yards and eight touchdowns, with 79 rushing yards.
- Simoni Lawrence (720) needs three tackles to move past Kevin Eiben (722) into the Top-10 all-time.
- Tim White (906) is 94 receiving yards shy of his second consecutive 1,000-yard season.
- Toronto’s 11-1 start is its best-ever in the club’s 150-year history. Four more wins will tie the team record.
- Toronto is 7-0 when scoring first this season.
- The Argonauts are looking for their first season sweep of Hamilton since 2007 (3-0).
- Defensive lineman Brandon Barlow notched a hat-trick of sacks last week, bringing his total to seven on the season.
- In his last three games, Adarius Pickett has 32 defensive tackles, including 12 last week. He has notched nine or more on five occasions this season.