Wednesday, September 30, 2015

2015 CFL Power Rankings Week 14

1. Calgary Stampeders
A lot closer game than one would expected versus the Bombers in Bomberland, however Calgary pulled out a win at the end, aided by a botched call by the officials. Still Calgary just wins.

2. Toronto Argonauts
The Argos proved that they still have it after beating the REDBLACKS in Ottawa. Who cares about Ricky Ray? Quarterback Trevor Harris is still getting it done.

3. Edmonton Eskimos
Bounced back from only 49 yards the week before to beat BC. Mike Reilly is looking better and they still have a good defence.

Lost to the Argonauts. The REDBLACKS seem to have trouble with the better teams. Still looking good for a playoff position.

5. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
How bad are the Cats without starting quarterback Zach Collaros. Not great, but they still have a great defence and good special teams. New starter Matthews will have a good receiving corps to past too, although obviously he's quite inexperienced.

6. Saskatchewan Roughriders
The Riders looked decent winning with Kevin Glenn against Montreal at home last week. They have Jerome Messam at running back and one of the better running attacks in the league. Who knows, maybe they will make the playoffs after all.

7. Montreal Alouttes
Maybe Crompton isn't that good after the Alouettes lost to the Roughriders. GM Jim Popp's record after taking over as head coach isn't so great.

8. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Managed to stay close to Calgary with Matt Nichols as quarterback and were eventually screwed on a bad call. This team seems snake bit this year.
9. BC Lions
Way down on the quarterbacks, the Lions just don't seem to have it in 2015. Harris is having a good season though as is Bighill.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

When Was the Last Time a CFL Team Won with 49 Passing Yards?

Lost in the Edmonton at Hamilton game last week amid the season ending injury to Tiger-Cat starting quarterback Zach Collaros, was the number of passing yards that Edmonton had in their 25 to 18 victory.

Mike Reilly passed for just 49 yards in the game, with seven receptions from 22 attempted passes, including an interception. That was the entire passing output of the Eskimos that day in quite good conditions. What I'm wondering, when was the last time that a team passed for 49 yards or less and was actually victorious in the CFL? I actually have no idea and don't really have time to go and look, but it seems to me it could be some years, although there's probably some bad weather game in there somewhere that could be worse.

I did have time to look for 2015 and so far, the second least number of passing yards for a winning team was 127, for BC's 27 to 24 victory over Saskatchewan on Friday July 27th in week four. That is a low number of yards, but still considerably higher than 49 yards.

Friday, September 25, 2015

2015 CFL Predictions Week 14

Calgary at Winnipeg
Yeah I don't really see the Stampeders losing in Winnipeg this week, home field advantage be damned. Although Winnipeg should be motivated since they are still in the playoff race and the Stamps aren't really that far from locking up first in the West.
Stampeders 31 Blue Bombers 19

BC at Edmonton
Considering that BC is having quarterback injury problems and Edmonton actually has Mike Reilly back (although he only passed for 49 yards last week in Hamilton) and Edmonton is at home, that smells like an Eskimo victory.
Eskimos 27 Lions 16

Toronto at Ottawa
This game is definitely interesting. Both teams have winning records. Ottawa hasn't been particularly good against good teams this year in the CFL compiling their winning record and at times has been blown out. I'm going to go against home field and pick Toronto.
Argonauts 26 REDBLACKS 24

Montreal at Saskatchewan
Crompton is back, as is Glenn. The game is in Saskatchewan, where the Riders achieved their single lone victory of 2015. On neutral ground, I think Montreal is a better team, however the Riders weren't terrible last week, although they again managed to lose a close one to Ottawa. Montreal has playoff motivation. I think the Riders manage to pull one out for once.
Roughriders 30 Alouettes 28

Thursday, September 24, 2015

2015 CFL Power Rankings Week 13

1. Calgary StampedersWith Zach Collaros' injury, let's face it Calgary is alone and Bo Levi Mitchell doesn't have competition for the best quarterback anymore. Plus they beat BC this past week.

2. Toronto Argonauts
Still have Trevor Harris healthy. Don't really have much in the way of fans, but that hasn't really helped the Riders this year so I don't think it is that important.

3. Edmonton Eskimos
The fact they only had 49 yards passing in Hamilton last week is troubling. They do have a good defence, though and Mike Reilly is back. 49 yards though. Jeez.

Henry Burris has been healthy all year long which is an accomplishment in the CFL. Looks like a pretty good shot to make the playoffs after a two win season in 2014. That's pretty good for an expansion team.

5. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
So no Zach Collaros and Matthews didn't really impress in his relief roll. The Tiger-Cats do have the best defence in the CFL though.

6. Montreal Alouettes
Beat Winnipeg and Jonathon Crompton is back. Need to see more from them to move up the rankings, although they are looking good for the cross-over.

7. BC Lions
Down to their third string quarterback and lost again. Not looking good for the Lions.

8. Saskatchewan Roughriders
Almost won at home. Still stuck at one win. Glenn is back, which is something.

9. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Not a good time in Bomberville. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Does Jeff Matthews Have What It Takes to Be A Successful Starter This Season for the Ticats?

Obviously Zach Collaros' knee injury on Saturday isn't good for the Cats. At best he is likely to be gone for a number of games. Jeff Matthews would seem to have a decent chance to start for the Cats, although his play on Saturday in relief wasn't good and it would not have taken much to defeat the Eskimos.

Matthews tossed three interceptions, two that were pick sixes and one in the Eskimo end zone. A couple of them seemed down right baffling. Matthews also fumbled and lost the ball on a running play. However, having seen bad Ticat backups forced into the game (Billy Dickens, Timmy Chang) Matthews wasn't terrible. He didn't have two and and out after two and out after getting blitzed repeatedly which is what happens to most CFL rookie backups. He went 7 for 10 with 90 yards and a TD before being yanked, which was more yards than Reilly had the entire game (49 yards on 7 for 22 attempts). This week is a bye week, and no doubt Matthews will get considerably more snaps. Plus the Cats will likely try to add more of a running game to help out Matthews, including using four receivers and a fullback more often (which the Cats have rarely done). Weirdly while Matthews was in on Saturday, he often played with six receiver sets, which Collaros doesn't do that often.

The Ticats defence is arguably the best in the league right now (i.e. giving up 49 passing yards) and their special teams are up there too. Besides Collaros though, the Cats have other injury problems, including Dyakowski, Bomben and Olson on the offensive line in the last game alone. Plus Gable and Fantuz are still out, who both would be especially useful on a Matthews led team.

Are the Cats the favourite to win the Grey Cup still? No. Can they still make the playoffs? I think they can, although losing this past game against Edmonton where they had chances to win is going to hurt. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Ticats Edmonton Depth Chart

Pretty much the same as last week's game. Ellefsen is in for Gascon-Nadon as a backup non-import defensive end. Holley starts at running back with Woodson backing him up, no Grigsby.

Wide receivers are Tolliver and Coates. Slots are Sinkfield, Tasker and Underwood.

2015 CFL Predictions Week 13

Again late on my predictions.

Edmonton at Hamilton
Two good teams battling in the Hammer. Based on Hamilton's recent hotness and also their record at home, the Ticats have to be the favourite here, despite having some key injuries (Bakari Grant, Andy Fantuz, C.J. Gable amongst others). Edmonton finally has quarterback Mike Reilly back and an excellent defence. Reilly is good, but Collaros is in the middle of a great season.
Ticats 29 Eskimos 27

Ottawa at Saskatchewan
Battle of the Roughriders/Rough Riders. I'm not convinced that Ottawa is a particularly great team, but they are at least OK in 2015. The Riders not so much. They do have Kevin Glenn back as their quarterback, which is something, although it wasn't like the Riders actually won when he started earlier in the season. Henry Burris had a great game last week, so one pretty much has to go with the Riders, although Burris does have a tendency to suddenly suck at times.
REDBLACKS 26 Roughriders 22

Winnipeg at Montreal
Not really sure about this one. An important game for both teams if they want to make the playoffs. Jonathon Crompton could be back for Montreal as the quarterback which I guess may be an improvement although I'm not positive. I'll go with home field advantage here. That's usually quite safe in the CFL.

Alouettes 22 Blue Bombers 19

Friday, September 18, 2015

2015 CFL Power Rankings Week 12

A bit late on the power rankings this week.

1. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
A road win by eight points, even if a bit messy is nothing to sneeze at. Plus the Cats completed the regular season sweep of the Argonauts, which was nice.

2. Calgary Stampeders
Sure they lost at home, but with the imminent return of Canadian running back Jon Cornish, the Stampeders become an even better team.

3. Edmonton Eskimos
Quarterback Mike Reilly is back and playing well. Beat the Stampeders at home this past week, although one should be nervous about Reilly's health.

4. Toronto Argonauts
Admittedly they have lost two games in a row to their archrivals and they are being booted by the Jays for their playoff run, the Argos are still a decent team and quarterback Ricky Ray is healthy again.

Are the REDBLACKS for real? Seems so after beating BC handily on the road. Quarterback Henry Burris is looking good rather than crotchety and the team has a winning record later on into the season. Not sure if they can beat a good team, but there are a lot of loser teams in the CFL in 2015.

6. Montreal Alouettes
Didn't play last week, which must help for injuries. Plus quarterback Jonathon Crompton is supposedly healthy again. I don't think that helps much, but there are worse quarterbacks in the league.

7. BC Lions
Not a great season for BC. Does Wally Buono still have it as a GM?

8. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Won the Banjo Bowl solidly with Matt Nichols as quarterback. Picker up quarterback Tajh Boyd from the Ticats for a pack of smokes. Still not a good team.

9. Saskatchewan Roughriders
After winning their first game of the season, the Riders came back to Earth last week. At least Kevin Glenn is back, although the Riders managed to lose a lot of games with him as the starter.

Friday, September 11, 2015

2015 CFL Predictions Week 12

Hamilton at Toronto
Often in the CFL it is hard to win back to back games against the same opponent. The Ticats were so dominant last week against the Argos at home, especially on offense, that I think the Tiger-Cats will take this one. The Cats were successful even with all their injuries. Plus there should be a healthy number of Ticats fans at Dead Ted's Dome tonight.
Tiger-Cats 31 Argonauts 29

Saskatchewan at Winnipeg
The Banjo Bowl and a rematch from last week. The Bombers lost but will start Matt Nichols at quarterback who they obtained from Edmonton. Can the Riders make it two in a row? I think they have the momentum, although they are not a good team by any means. They are playing Winnipeg however.
Roughriders 25 Blue Bombers 20

Calgary at Edmonton
The Esks are at home after losing the Labour Day classic last week. Their offense didn't do much, but their defence was good as usual. Mike Reilly could potentially play more. I'll pick the home team here.
Eskimos 19 Stampeders 16

Ottawa at BC
Eastern team often don't do well in BC, however this game is at 4 pm Eastern, which is a lot better than an 8 pm Pacific start. The Lions don't have Lulay this week, but that didn't really stop them against Montreal last week. I'm going to go with the home team this week. Ottawa just isn't very good on the road.
Lions 27 REDBLACKS 19

Guard Bomben is Back for Ticats in Argonauts Rematch

The Ticats have released their depth chart for the rematch against the Argos in Toronto tonight. Probably most noteworthy is that Canadian guard Bomben is back in after being injured. O'Neill had started in place last week and the line was quite good overall.

Rico Murray is out. Also so is running back Nic Grigsby with Canadian Woodson taking one of the running back spots with Holley starting.

Hamilton has already won the Harold Ballard Cup against the Argos, and thus the season series and the tiebreaker for the playoffs. A win for Hamilton would really solidify their chances of taking home field advantage in the East.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

View From West Stands of Tim Horton's Field

Snapped this photo from the West stands during the Labour Day Classic. 

2015 CFL Power Rankings Week 11

1. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Crushed Toronto despite a lot of injuries. The true hero was Zach Collaros who continually burned Toronto's zone defence. The Hamilton defence was decent, even missing Norwood.

2. Calgary Stampeders
The team with the best record, but definitely not the best offense. Benefiting from games against the loser Riders and Bombers

3. Edmonton Eskimos
Mike Reilly is sort of back. The Eskimos need to get their offense on track to be really good.

4. Toronto Argonauts
Not a very good outing against Hamilton. Still better than a lot of teams in the CFL and Ricky Ray now seems to be somewhat healthy giving the Argos a lot of depth at quarterback, which is something pretty much unheard of in the CFL of 2015.

Didn't play, didn't lose. That's good enough to stick at the fifth position.

6. BC Lions
Beat Montreal with backup Beck after Lulay was injured with a knee ligament sprain. The Lions were not particularly good with Lulay anyways. Perhaps more distressing was that Andrew Harris rushed 21 times for 65 yards, with the longest run being 8 yards. That's not going to beat the good teams in the CFL.

7. Montreal Alouettes
Lost to the Lions, which is basically the team that they are most alike in the power rankings. After playing reasonably well to beat Hamilton, Tanner Marsh went 16 for 30, passing for 103 yards and count them, five interceptions. Ouch.

8. Saskatchewan Roughriders
Off the Schneid! And no longer at the bottom of the Tigercatatonia Power Rankings. The no longer winless Riders are still a crap team. But now at least they are a crap team with one win.

9. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
I'm assuming that with Winnipeg acquiring quarterback Matt Nichols that they will be somewhat better eventually once they learn the playbook. Although after the beating they took by the Riders, the Bombers aren't exactly looking good.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

2015 Labour Classic Tiger-Cat Depth Chart is Out

The Cats just released their depth chart for the game against the Argos.

For the offensive line, as per usual, American tackles with Olson and Lewis. Bomben is out at guard with the veteran O'Neill in. Dyakowski and Filer are still at guard and centre. As per usual the three interior positions are Canadian.

Bakari Grant is still out. Coates is in as the lone starting Canadian receiver at wideout. Tolliver is the other wide receiver, with Sinkfield, Underwood and Tasker as the slots.

Grigsby is listed ahead of Holly at running back, with non-import Prime as the fullback. Collaros is the quarterback with Matthews backing up and likely in for sneaks.

Medlock punts and kicks this week as punter Hugh O'Neill is out injured (likely beard related), with Banks as the returner.

That's four Canadian starters on offense.

On defence, Norwood is out injured at defensive end and Sears Jr is out in the secondary. Import Tracy comes in for him, with Hickman as the other end. Non-import Laurent and Hall are the defensive tackles. Lawrence, Reed and Harris are the starting linebackers.

Gainey and non-import Stephen are the starting corners. Rico Murray and Davis are the starting defensive halfbacks. Non-import Butler starts at safety. So that's three starting Canadian defenders.

Norwood, Grant, Bomben and Sears Jr. being out injured definitely hurts, although not fatally. The question is O'Neill a big downgrade at guard for Bomben and whether Tracy can get pressure on the quarterback in place of Norwood. Laurent, Henry and Hickman are still three solid players on the defensive line.

Also interesting will be the performance at Grigsby at running back. Expect more passes to him, although I doubt a lot of runs. Can Grigsby pass block adequately is another question.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

2015 CFL Predictions Week 11

Looks like I missed the Thursday game, as I thought there would be a Friday game.

Winnipeg at Saskatchewan
Ass versus ass. The bottom of the CFL barrel. The Riders have cleaned house, but obviously they still suck. Winnipeg isn't good either. Will the Bombers send their prairie rivals to 0 and 10? Since they are starting Brian Brohm at quarterback, which isn't very good, I'm not sure. Even though the Riders are at home, they've shown incredible ability to lose close games. So Brohm and the Bombers.
Blue Bombers 20 Riders 18

Toronto at Hamilton
Hamilton has a lot of injuries. Losing Norwood and Sears to the six game injury list definitely hurts the defence. The Cats are still missing Fantuz. Others may well be injured, but the Cats haven't released their lineup cards yet so I'm not sure of the composition of their offensive line. Both teams are coming off of losses. I think the Cats still have a bit of an edge due to Tim Horton's Field (although that didn't help last week).
Tiger-Cats 26 Argonauts 22

Edmonton at Calgary
The Eskimos traded Nichols to Winnipeg and will go with Franklin at quarterback. On the road and against a now experienced Bo Levi Mitchell, the Stamps have to be favoured, even with the superior Eskimo defence.
Stampeders 33 Eskimos 27

Hamilton Tiger-Cats Can Secure 2015 The Harold Ballard Cup With A Win Over The Argonauts on Labour Day

The Ticats lead the season series with the Argos 1-0 after a win at Tim Horton's Field earlier in the year. With three games against the Argos this year, the Cats can secure the Harold Ballard Cup award to the winner of the season series between the teams. The Cats won the 2014 Harold Ballard Cup and the 2014 Labour Day classic 13-12 in a nail bitter.

Harold Ballard of course was a former owner of both the Cats and the Argonauts. Probably more important for the Cats than winning the Harold Ballard Cup (although that would be awesome) would be that the Cats would lock up the tie breaker with the Argos in case they finished the season with the same number of points. With both teams sporting 6 and 3 records that could be important for who hosts the East final. Given the Cats record at Tim Horton's stadium, hosting the final would definitely help their Grey Cup chances.

I'm always a little surprised the Cats don't make a bigger deal about the Harold Ballard Cup (it isn't even on Wikipedia).

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

2015 CFL Power Rankings Week 10

1. Calgary Stampeders
I put Calgary up this high, mainly because they aren't totally ridden with injuries. Plus they dominated in the second half against the Bombers (which isn't really impressive, but it is something).

2. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
The Cats did lose at home last week versus Montreal, but more importantly they have a ridiculous number of injuries now, they likely won't be able to compensate for (Canadian offensive linemen and defensive end).

3. Edmonton Eskimos
The Edmonton Eskimos seems better now with Franklin in as quarterback. Plus they have a great defense.

4. Toronto Argonauts
They lost to Edmonton, although it was on the road. Still a decent team and Harris has emerged as one of the better quarterbacks in the league this year. Probably most important for Toronto is that Scott Milanovich is arguably the best coach in the league.

Ended up beating the Riders at home, although the first quarter was close. The REDBLACKS aren't really that great a team, but they do have an experienced quarterback and some decent receivers and that isn't too bad in 2015 and not bad at all for an expansion team on its second year.

6. Montreal Alouettes
Won in Hamilton with their backup quarterback Tanner Marsh with Jim Popp as coach. We will see how long this lasts.

7. BC Lions
Didn't play so at least they are rested. No Solomon Elimimian at middle linebacker. That's not good.

8. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Things aren't looking good without their Willy.

9. Saskatchewan Roughriders
Fired their coach, GM and Tino Sunseri. It is a start.