Calgary Stampeders Host Saskatchewan Roughriders in Pivotal Game on Saturday
The top two teams in the West Division will now face each other in Week 18 of the regular season schedule with postseason positioning on the line, not to mention the opportunity to send a message to their potential playoff rivals.
In their previous two meetings this year, the Stamps and Riders have a dead-even split, with both teams earning a 15-point victory.
This time around, Calgary (13-3) is trying to seal up the best record in the CFL while Saskatchewan (11-5) is trying to catch Calgary for that honour. A win by Calgary in either of their last two games will lock up that spot, while the Riders need to win both of their games and have the Stamps lose both of theirs.
Last weekend, the Stampeders beat the Edmonton Eskimos 27-13 extending their four-game winning streak. The Roughriders pounded the BC Lions last weekend, winning 35-14; they are enjoying a three-game winning streak.
One of these streaks ends on Saturday.
One of the more interesting matchups will be in the running game where Calgary's Jon Cornish leads the CFL in rushing yards with 1,690 while Saskatchewan's Kory Sheets is second with 1,556 yards.
Sheets has already declared himself the superior running back, saying Cornish is only leading because he has played two more games this year. On the other hand, Cornish is also leading Sheets in yards per carry (7.2 versus Sheets' 5.6), so he might be overstating his position.
Performance of the quarterbacks will also be a key to victory.
Roughriders quarterback Darian Durant is currently second in the league in passing yards (3,952) with a solid QB rating at 97.2. When in doubt, he looks to his top two receivers, Chris Getzlaf and Weston Dressler. Getzlaf has 60 catches for 996 yards and Dressler has 64 catches for 960 yards.
Stampeders QB Kevin Glenn has been very effective this year in the starting role, throwing for 2,545 yards and earning an impressive 102.2 passer's rating while only playing in 12 games. His top target has been Marquay McDaniel, who has nabbed 70 catches for 959 yards.
So the defensive strategy for both teams will be similar: force mistakes from the quarterback and shut down the running game. Both teams have had defensive success this year, with the Riders surrendering the fewest points in the CFL (339) and the Stamps right behind them (362) with the second-fewest points against.
Calgary's pass rush should pose problems for Durant. Charleston Hughes is tied for the league lead in sacks with 15 and Cordarro Law is third with 12.
Saskatchewan's secondary has been very effective, with Dwight Anderson second in the league with five interceptions and three more Riders tied for ninth in the CFL with three interceptions apiece.
The home team has won both contests between these teams so far this year and it could very well be the case that the trend continues in this game; Calgary is 7-1 at home this year, with their only home loss coming on Sept. 21 when the Toronto Argonauts beat them 33-27.
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