The second week of the Canadian Football League will kickoff Friday night with a double-header, starting with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers hosting the Toronto Argonauts. This game will be followed by the B.C. Lions hosting the Calgary Stampeders.
Saturday night will also feature a double-header as the Saskatchewan Roughriders host the defending Grey Cup champions, Montreal Alouettes in a Grey Cup rematch.
Last season these two teams kicked off the CFL season with a high-scoring affair. One can only hope they can match the intensity this matchup has brought the past two seasons.
Finally, the Edmonton Eskimos will host the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Toronto Argonauts at Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Date: Friday, July 8, 2011
Time: 6:30 p.m. CT
Toronto Record: 1-0 | Winnipeg Record: 1-0
The Toronto Argonauts will head into Canad Inns place Friday night, looking to keep their winning streak alive, while the Winnipeg Blue Bombers will look to defend their home turf for one of the last times before heading to their new stadium next season.
Cory Boyd, Chad Owens, Willie Pile. These are three names that the Bombers will look at and hope to contain Friday night. Both Boyd and Owens are dangerous offensive weapons for the Argonauts and have showcased their talents at the expense of the Bombers.
On the Bombers side, their roster is relatively close to last years; however, the returning players can add another year of experience to their resume. This game will be a true testament to their depth early on, as the team will have several missing players due to injuries sustained after week one.
Look for quarterback Buck Pierce to lead his offensive troops down the field, and hook up with a few of his new targets, that of Clarence Denmark and Perry Floyd. Defensively, Alex Suber will need to build on his play from last week, while the defensive line needs to contain and rattle quarterback Cleo Lemon.
With injuries to several receivers for Winnipeg, expect fourth overall draft pick Jade Etienne to potentially make his regular season CFL debut and showcase why he was worth a high pick.
The last win over Toronto for Winnipeg would come in Week 13 of the 2009 season, at home no less.
Verdict: Toronto by two points.
Calgary Stampeders at B.C. Lions
Date: Friday, July 8, 2011
Time: 9:30 p.m. CT
Calgary Record: 0-1 | B.C. Record: 0-1
One of the motivations for this game will surely be the fact that whoever wins, will get into the win column. Unfortunately, the losing team will start the season 0-2, which is the last place you want to be in.
Many expected Calgary to continue their success heading into the 2011 season, however, ended up being stunned at home by the Toronto Argonauts. Statistically, the Stampeders did everything right, however, were unable to close out the remaining three minutes.
Meanwhile, the B.C. Lions tried to get everything right against the defending Grey Cup champions and they came close. Quarterback Travis Lulay played a solid game, connecting on 26-of-45 passes for 366 yards and a touchdown.
Should the Stampeders want to pull out a win, they’ll do so without receiver Jabari Arthur, and Dimitri Tsoumpas. As for the B.C. Lions, this is a perfect time to capitalize and start the season 2-0, something they haven’t achieved since 2007.
Verdict: B.C. Lions by six points.
Montreal Alouettes at Saskatchewan Roughriders
Date: Saturday, July 9, 2011
Time: 3 p.m. CT
Montreal Record: 1-0 | Saskatchewan Record: 0-1
The Grey Cup rematch has arrived as the Montreal Alouettes look to face the Saskatchewan Roughriders once again. Many remember the past two Grey Cups which featured both teams and stunning finishes, one following a missed field goal and another ending on a pick.
Both teams will continue to strive for the top and best performances out of their star players, but it will be the emergence of the rookies that hopefully make the difference.
Gone are the days of Andy Fantuz for Saskatchewan, who will also be without receiver Rob Bagg. Instead, Darian Durant will look towards slot backs Weston Dressler, Jason Clermont and Chris Getzlaf to pump-start the offense, while adding Terrence Nunn and Efrem Hill to the mix.
As for Montreal, they have a new number one running back, looking to make a name for himself in Brandon Whitaker. Whitaker averaged seven yards a carry for 119 yards overall in their win over the B.C. Lions last week.
At the same time, Jamel Richardson averaged 18 yards per reception for 162 yards on the night. S.J. Green added 88 yards himself and combined were 250 yards of offense for Montreal.
Each team will look towards their defense for key stops along the way, as Saskatchewan looks to avenge their Grey Cup loss, while Montreal looks to avenge their loss from last season in week one that went to a double-overtime.
Verdict: Montreal by three points.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Edmonton Eskimos
Date: Saturday, July 9, 2011
Time 6 p.m. CT
Hamilton Record: 0-1 | Edmonton Record: 1-0
Kevin Glenn and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats will look to rebound from their week one loss which saw Glenn benched just after the fourth quarter started, in favour of backup quarterback Quinton Porter.
Both Glenn and TiCat head coach Marcel Bellefeuille appear to have patched things up, but you cannot deny that Glenn wants to go onto the field and prove his coach's decision wrong.
At the same time, look for receiver Arland Bruce who was held to just 22 yards all game, to make more of an impact than what Alex Suber of Winnipeg allowed in Week 1.
As for rookie head coach Kavis Reed, he will undoubtedly have his players ready to play at a high level once again, following their commanding victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders last week.
A team that lost five of their first seven games before finishing the season with seven wins altogether and starting 0-3, notching one win so far doesn’t sound too bad. However, notching two straight wins for rookie head coach Kavis Reed would do wonders for a team that is rebuilding towards the glory days.
Verdict: Edmonton by seven points.