Stamps Gameday: vs. Eskimos (Aug. 3)
Edmonton Eskimos (4-2) at Calgary Stampeders (4-2)
Saturday, 5 p.m. MT, McMahon Stadium, TSN, News Talk 770, 21 degrees, Sunny, Wind 21 km/hour, Edmonton -0.5
Points for: 26.8 (5th)
Points against: 17.0 (1st)
Yards rushing: 107.0 (4th)
Yards passing: 321.8 (1st)
Net Yards: 424.2 (1st)
Yards Allowed: 234.7 (1st)
Points for: 27.8 (4th)
Points against: 22.7 (4th)
Yards rushing: 72.8 (8th)
Yards passing: 306.8 (2nd)
Net Yards: 354.0 (1st)
Yards Allowed: 315.5 (4th)
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH:
When they go to bed on Saturday night, one of these teams is going to be tied with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers atop the West Division standings. You get the feeling this could be a three-way dogfight all season long, and with the Eskimos and Stampeders set to square off three times in the next month their head-to-head matchups are going to go a long way towards determining who gets to host a playoff game in November.
No team in the CFL has more sacks this year than the Eskimos, who have taken down opposing QBs 23 times. The Stamps, meanwhile, have allowed the second-most sacks in the league. That might mean the Eskimos are licking their lips at the possibility of repeatedly taking down Stamps QB Nick Arbuckle, especially with Calgary’s all-CFL guard Shane Bergman sidelined. Justin Lawrence and Ryan Sceviour will be in at guard for the Stamps, and they’ve got a big job to do.
The Stampeders defensive backs have been having a pick party this year, and are leading the CFL in interceptions, with 14. Eskimos QB Trevor Harris, meanwhile, has only tossed up two interceptions the entire year. As a member of the Ottawa Redblacks last year, Harris did throw up three picks in the Grey Cup against the Stamps, so it will be interesting to see how aggressive he gets on Saturday.
The Stamps are getting running back Romar Morris back on Saturday, less than nine months after he tore his Achilles tendon in the 2018 West Divison Final. The Eskimos know all about what Morris can do, as he had two receiving touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns in last year’s Labour Day Replay.
When the Battle of Alberta has gone down at McMahon Stadium in recent years, the Stamps have gotten the better of the Eskimos more often than not. They’ve won eight of the last head-to-head matchups with the Eskies at home, including last year’s Labour Day Classic.
Eskimos DE Kwaku Boateng vs. Stamps LT Derek Dennis
You could choose any player on the Eskimos defensive line and any player on the Stamps offensive line here, really. The point is that the Stamps need to protect QB Nick Arbuckle. Dennis is as effective as any left tackle in the league, and Boateng has been brushing off opposing o-linemen all season.
INSIDE THE GAME
Former Stamps receiver DaVaris Daniels is in the lineup for Saturday’s game, although he’s a candidate to be made inactive right before kickoff … Saturday will mark the 229th time these two teams have met. The Eskimos have won 127 of those games, the Stamps have won 98 and there have been three ties … These teams are set to face-off three times between Saturday and the Labour Day Replay. Expect this rivalry to get extra spicy by the time mid-September rolls around … A lot has been made about the Stamps’ injury situation, but Greg Ellingson’s absence for the Eskimos on Saturday figures to be big, too.
ESKIMOS 21, STAMPEDERS 17
This one figures to be something of a defensive battle, but you’ve got to give the Eskimos a slight edge because of the experience they’ve got at quarterback. The Stamps aren’t far off, but struggled to get the ball in the endzone last week. We’ll know a lot more about both these teams after Saturday.