GameDay: Calgary Stampeders at Toronto Argonauts
Calgary Stampeders (8-3) at Toronto Argonauts (2-9)
Friday, 5 p.m., BMO Field, TV: TSN, Radio: 770 CHQR, Sunny, 22 degrees, Wind 8 km/hour
Points for: 29.5 (3rd)
Points against: 22.0 (4th)
Yards rushing: 78.8 (8th)
Yards passing: 295.3 (3rd)
Net Yards: 357.1 (6th)
Yards Allowed: 435.7
Points for: 20.4 (8th)
Points against: 33.2 (9th)
Yards rushing: 72.5 (9th)
Yards passing: 318.8 (2nd)
Net Yards: 368.7 (3rd)
Yards Allowed: 435.7 (9th)
There’s been a perception around the CFL that this is going to be something of an easy game for the Stampeders, but that’s really not the case, at all. They’re missing the CFL’s leader in receiving yards, Reggie Begelton, and Cory Greenwood, the linebacker who has the most tackles in the league. Begelton’s absence is particularly notable, as the Stamps already have a depleted receiving corps. In fact, other than Eric Rogers, there’s not a single Stampeders receiver on Friday’s roster who has ever caught a touchdown pass.
Around Calgary this week, the Stampeders stressed again and again that the Argos are a lot better than people are giving them credit for. The Boatmen are coming off a big win over the Ottawa Redblacks but have dramatically cut-down on the turnovers that were haunting them earlier in the year. A push for a playoff spot may be a little too much to ask for from the Argos, but they’ve got some winnable games ahead and beating the Stamps would be huge.
When these two teams played in July in Calgary, the Argos kept things close through the first half but were undone by four interceptions from QB Mcleod Bethel-Thompson and ended up falling 26-26. The teams are very different now than they were two months ago, but the Argos proved – at least for a while – that they could hang with the reigning Grey Cup champions.
The Stampeders defensive backs have been outstanding this year and are leading the CFL in interceptions, with 19, while also allowing the fewest completions of 30 yards or more. The Argos, meanwhile, are averaging the second-most passing yards per game. The battle between the Stamps DBs and Argos receivers may determine the final result of this game.
It’s easy to make the argument that this game should be competitive, but it’s worth remembering that the Stampeders have dominated the Argos recently – in the regular season, at least. They’ve won the last 11 matchups between the two teams and hasn’t lost in Toronto since 2012.
Stamps DB Tre Roberson vs. Argos WR Derel Walker
We likely could have picked any combination of Stamps defensive backs and Argos receivers, but Roberson has been arguably the best DB in the league and is coming off a superstar performance in the Stamps’ win last weekend over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Walker had 90 receiving yards the last time the Argos played, meanwhile, and is fourth in the CFL in receiving yards.
Argos 24, Stamps 21
If a receiver other than Eric Rogers shows up and balls out, the Stamps should win this one. But the Stampeders receiving unit has largely been a two-man show recently, and it’s hard to know where they’ll find the offence they need to overcome an improving Argos team.
INSIDE THE GAME
It can’t be overemphasized how inexperienced the Stampeders receiving group is, outside of Rogers. They have a combined 500 receiving yards and zero touchdowns in their CFL careers. Argos receiver S.J. Green, on his own, has 9,939 receiving yards and 58 TDs … If you can get Aaron Peck on your CFL fantasy team this week, it might be worth doing. He’s never played before, but he’s filling in for Begelton and the Stamps throw the ball a lot to that position … The Argos really do believe they can make a run at catching the Montreal Alouettes and making the playoffs. They need a win Friday if they’ve got any hope.