Canadian bacon: CFL Week 14 preview and picks
Charles-André Marchand is a play-by-play announcer and Canadian Football League analyst for CKAC-730 AM.
Montreal Alouettes at Calgary Stampeders (-3, 56.5)
Which team is really the best in the CFL? Part of that answer should be provided at the end of this duel between the two top clubs in the league, who boast identical 9-3 records. It will be the first of a home-and-home series and, who knows, maybe a preview of the 2010 Grey Cup.
The Stampeders need to stop QB Anthony Calvillo, who equaled a personal best with five TD passes against the Blue Bombers last week. It was also the 25th game in Calvillo’s career with 400 or more passing yards. Ben Cahoon only needs six receptions to tie Terry Vaughn for the most career catches with 1,006. For his part, Jamel Richardson from the Alouettes dominates the league this season with 74 caught passes.
Henry Burris will also need to beware of DE John Bowman who leads the league with four forced fumbles and comes second with nine sacks.
Saskatchewan Roughriders at Toronto Argonauts (+4, 49)
Darian Durant, the CFL’s Player of the Month, could make the difference in Toronto Saturday. Durant, a five-year veteran, dominates the Cohon circuit with 3,861 passing yards and 441 attempted passes. He is currently third in rushing TDs with five and ninth in rushing yards with 452. Running back Wes Cates may have slowed down but he still is on the verge of having 21 touchdowns this year.
As for Toronto, Ronald Flemons and Chad Owens have also dominated September and both were among the Player of the Month picks. Defensive end Flemons has recorded four tackles, four sacks, broke up two passes and got a tackle for loss yards in his last four games. On Special Teams, Chad Owens gained 639 yards on kickoff returns, 241 yards and a touchdown on punt returns and 111 yards on missed field goals returns. The Argos will also count on the comeback of their spectacular RB Corey Boyd, who’s been inactive for two weeks because of a concussion.
But it is also because of concussion that their starting QB Cleo Lemon will likely be replaced by Dalton Bell.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers at B.C. Lions (-4, 53)
Can a team have worse luck than the Blue Bombers? Their last three defeats came by a margin of four points, including last week’s lost to the Alouettes where they scored 40 points. It was the first time in 10 years that they lost despite such a productive offensive showing. The Bombers lost six of their last seven games and will attempt to stop a two-loss streak this weekend.
This curse continues plague the Bombers, with starting QB Steven Jyles listed as doubtful with the flu. Still, the Bombers have no choice. To have any hope of making it to the playoffs they need a win right now. If Jyles is in no shape to play, it will be Alex Brink, the third QB on the depth chart following the injury to Buck Pierce. He is the one who had the most reps this week in practice.
The Bombers and the Lions do share the fact that they give up almost as many points as they produce. The Bombers generated 331 points but gave up 334 in 12 games. The Lions scored 305 points but allowed as many in that span. The Lions will be looking for their second win in a row and just their second win in seven games. It won’t be easy but they should prevail.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Edmonton Eskimos (+1, 50.5)
DeAndra Cobb seems to be back on track after a tough start and now he is the fourth-best ball carrier in the league.
Veteran SB Kamau Peterson was back at practice for the Eskimos and could be available this Sunday. Linebacker Maurice Lloyd, RB Calvin McCarty, DB Randy Drew and DE Kai Ellis should also be back in the lineup. Slotback Kelly Campbell still remains doubtful as well as DB Lawrence Gordon.
The Tiger-Cats have better offensive production than the Eskimos, as well as a more efficient defense. In 12 games, Hamilton scored 295 points and gave up only 318 while the Eskimos only scored 225 and allowed 378.