Welcome Canadians, Americans, and football lovers all around the world. We at Breaking Football are fans of all football including the Canadian version. 65 yards wide, 110 yards long with 20 yard long end zones and 12 players on the field; this is the league we love during the NFL off-season. Thursday night saw an explosive game with the Edmonton Eskimos hitting a FG with 8 seconds left on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers as they went on to win 33-30.
Even with 3 hours of lightning delay, football fans stayed up all night to see the voted #1 player in the league (QB Mike Reilly) lead the Eskimos to a win over Chris Streveler: the first straight out of college rookie QB since Canadian Football Hall of Fame QB Anthony Calvillo in 1994. Friday night we got to see Saskatchewan get their revenge win against Toronto, 27-19, after losing to them in the Eastern Final last year. Charleston Hughes terrorized Ricky Ray with 3 sacks in the 1st half which gives him 102 in his CFL career.
Zach Collaros showed why he is still a starter in the CFL going 18-for-25 for 203 yards and 1 score. RB Jerome Messam showed he is one of the league’s best workhorses rushing for 72 yards on 21 carries. If those games are any indication of how this weekend will go, we are in for a treat as we get explosive, fun match-ups going into the new season. Here are some exact things to look for while we enjoy sweet, glorious football.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats vs. Calgary Stampeders (Saturday 7 PM ET, ESPN2)
While Eskimos’ QB Mike Reilly is the #1 player in TSN’s Top 50, Calgary QB Bo Levi Mitchell is right behind him at #2. While Bo Levi lost a few weapons in the off-season, he is still cooking with WRs Kamar Jorden, Marken Michel, and DeVaris Daniels. Last season, Calgary had the Grey Cup within their grasp as they were driving down the field with the lead 24-16.
With 5:16 left in the 4th on the 8 yard line, Jorden caught a pass and fumbled the ball as he tried to push forward for yards, with DB Cassius Vaughn of the Argos taking it 110 yards to the house as the Argos tied the game with a convert, then won it with a late FG. That taste has been in the Stampeders’ mouth all off-season and I expect them to come out swinging in this game.
Hamilton has had a media frenzy the past couple of months with the arrival of Johnny Manziel. But as I have told several people on Twitter, Jeremiah Masoli (#49) is the starter and I don’t see HC June Jones replacing a solid producer at QB. While this Hamilton team does not look exciting on paper, June Jones is a good coach and he will not have Hamilton fall by the wayside. And you can never count out Hamilton because they have the best playmaker in the CFL: Speedy B aka Brandon Banks (#22). With that being said, expect for points to be raining in this game.
Montreal Alouettes vs. British Colombia Lions (Saturday 10 PM ET, ESPN2)
First of all, Alouette is a French-Canadian song that talks about plucking the feathers from a lark. However, the Alouettes do not win by flying; they prefer land. RB Tyrell Sutton leads the ground game for Montreal, while Jeremiah Johnson heads it for BC. Both men average about 6 yards a carry and have a knack for finding a hole and bursting through. Seeing that both teams have inconsistent QBs, they will be given a decent workload in this game.
Darian Durant was Montreal’s QB, but he struggled last year with 15 TDs and 16 INTs. Because Montreal couldn’t restructure his contract, Durant was released. Journeyman QB Drew Willy will be the Als’ starter. Willy was also one of the better QBs of the league at one point, but injuries have slowed him down and relegated him to backup roles.
BC’s QB Jonathan Jennings was looked at to be a potential star in this league, but he struggled last year as well throwing 16 TDs and 19 interceptions. Hopefully 2018 will be a better year for these QBs, but as of the first game, expect both coaches to be a little conservative and run the ball more.
Enjoy the CFL folks! FOOTBALL IS HERE!