I would have liked to have seen tonight's Argos game in person, however it just didn't work out. So I'll be watching the Cats for the first time on TV this year. It will be interesting to see what the commentators have to say, especially the TSN panel.
First off, last I heard, the Cats were 10.5 point underdogs. If I could chuck all my sentimentality and was just looking to win, I would take the Argos to cover the spread, based on what I saw last week. The Argos have a better defence than Montreal, however their bend not break philosophy may benefit the Cats with some longer, run supported drives in the first half. We can only hope.
Another reason for pessimism, is the Cats Canadian injury problems. With Guard Cedric Gagne-Marcoux (at least I'm pretty sure he's a guard) out for quite a while with a fractured shoulder, the Cats may play an import Guard. Ouch. So that's two Tackles and a Guard as imports. I know having Lumsden as a starter makes you more apt to have another import on the offensive line to boost the run blocking, but that's just sad. DE McKay-Loescher might be out with a bad back, adding even more ratio problems. This is probably why Woodcock is starting, considering the dregs the Cats have for import receivers. Why have a tool like JoJo (are both J's capitalized? if a resume passed by your desk, would he even get a look?) Walker as your fourth receiver? Where's Bauman and why is he injured all the time? I'm guessing Beveridge starts at safety. The Argos are pretty damn lucky to have two starting Canadian linebackers. So anyways, weak Canadian talent. What else is new?
On offense, the Cats have to establish at least a semblance of a running game, and Printers has to have a similar completion percentage. I think he also has to run more than three times this week and take first downs if the Argos are willing to give it to them. Actually go for it on third and one and convert. That's about it.
On defense, I think a lot depends on how the Argo quarterbacks play. I think Joseph presents more of a problem than Bishop because of his running ability. The last few years, the Cats have given up quite the number of QB rushing first downs. I suggest blitzing the odd time with a DB and dropping back an end or a linebacker into coverage on the opposite side. Joseph's throwing ability is not that remarkable, and any chance to rough up 34 year old quarterback, you take it. Bishop will probably play at some point. Bishop generally has a rather feeble completion percentage (52.1 % last year), but kills you with three or four bombs for TDs. The Cats need pressure to force Bishop into bad throws and hopefully interceptions. One last point, the Cats have to stop on second and long (which I define as over and including 2nd and eight). I'll try and keep track tonight of these situations for both the Argos and Cats tonight. Uh, Moreno needs a monster game, preferably with an interception. That's about it.
Frankly, I'll be happy if the Cats beat the spread. Good luck Cats.