The Cats are at home versus the Esks with a chance to go 2 and 3. Both are coming off losses with Hamilton the 2 point underdog. So there is definitely a chance for the Cats to win and pick up their second win, in July no less and Edmonton is playing on a short week. Ah, the soft bigotry of low expectations.
Obviously the big story is Jesse Lumsden's return and how that goes. Edmonton's defence is one of the more mediocre thus far (although not as bad as Winnipeg). Edmonton has given up 6.3 yards per rush so far this year, so that bodes well for Lumsden. Hopefully the Cats won't go too crazy this game relying on Lumsden exclusively. Instead they should try to mix in some Smith and have Printers make the odd first down scamper. With Lumsden playing and the import Cavka likely at guard, will that make the O-line effective. Fred Perry, Edmonton's rush end was lost last week with a delightfully gruesome leg injury (which I witnessed at a bar in Pearson's international departures terminal while munching on some surprisingly tasty nachos), so maybe it is time for a dominant offensive performance with Printers having forever to throw and long runs ripped off effortlessly. I'm almost overconfident.
Oh wait, Miles is out with a bad hamstring and erstwhile Catatonia favourite JoJo Walker is apparently in for him (despite being recently released) at slotback. I'm hoping Bauman and Woodcock will have good games, because I don't have a lot of confidence in Hamilton's import receivers. Maybe Mitchell will prove me wrong and score the Ticats first TD through the air.
I'm picking Lumsden on a screen or shovel pass for that illustrious honour.
On defence, well, if the offense can avoid sucking with turnovers and 2 and outs in the first half, they probably won't do too bad. Edmonton has a pretty pass happy offense with some rushing, but the Cats haven't done a bad job stopping the rush this year (although the stats don't really show it). Having Ricky Ray as your QB means you are going to have a lot of passing yards in your game, however it doesn't necessarily mean you are going to win. Last year Ray passed for a ton of yards (which Jason Maass definitely did not do), but the Esks were only marginally better than Hamilton. I'm not exactly sure how that's possible, but I believe it has something to do with a porous defence and falling behind. Hopefully Moreno will have a big game for once this year and the rejigged line with McKay-Loescher not starting (and Clinton Wayne nonimport starting at tackle wtf?) will get at least some pressure. Maybe we'll blitz and not get burned too badly.
This is the first of the blacked out games, which is a grievous mistake in my opinion. What if Hamilton actually does well in this game? Who's going to see it? Interestingly the most watched game so far this year was Toronto at Edmonton on July 10th, with 475,000 viewers.
Unfortunately, I won't be at the game in my usual seat in section 7, but I will attempt to watch it on broadband here in Deutschland. Failing that it is CHML, followed by the replay tomorrow. Go Cats! May the other team have a run of stunning incompetence.