What’s good minions?! Welcome back to PJ’s Place. Hope all you Canadians enjoyed Canada Day and I hope all you Americans enjoyed Independence Day! It’s nice to have a little break in the work week. But now it’s time to get back to the grind! Week 4 is upon us and the CFL action stops for no one. One thing to know this week: ALL GAMES will be on ESPN+ this weekend and the doubleheader will be on Saturday night. All that said, get your 7 day trial and that leftover BBQ because football is live this weekend in Canada!
Hamilton Tiger-Cats vs. Saskatchewan Roughriders, Thursday, 9 PM ET — Riders QB
What more can I say about the Ti-Cats and Jeremiah Masoli? 8 consecutive 300+ yard games, a 2-1 record and a great offensive mind in HC June Jones. Their Canadian RB duo in Mercer Timmis and Sean Thomas-Arlington is also lethal. And the Roughriders are currently a dumpster fire with no QB. Brandon Bridge will start but is liable to get pulled if he struggles. Duron Carter will continue to start at CB on defense and I can only hope and pray that Chris Jones puts him on Terrence Toliver and not Brandon Banks. Carter is susceptible to get done up by Toliver but he would go up against someone not as fast and quick as the smaller, quicker WRs he’s been facing the past 2 games.
I don’t see the Riders slowing Hamilton down that much; it’s going to be up to the offense to keep Saskatchewan in the game. Brandon Bridge is going to have to perform well and limit turnovers. One thing that would help Saskatchewan and Bridge is leaning on their running game. When they beat Toronto in Week 1 (granted Toronto isn’t too good right now either and Collaros played the whole game at QB), Jerome Messam had 21 carries for 72 yards; he consistently moved the chains for the Riders.
He received 0 carries last week and he is now listed as the RB3 behind Marcus Thigpen and Tre Mason. Why don’t they go back to Messam and running the ball? Their OL has been giving up QB pressures all season but they can run block well enough to get yards. I don’t know folks I’m not in coaching… yet.
Bottom line, the Riders need Brandon Bridge to step up and be the next great Canadian QB that everyone hopes he will be. Or this team will perish.
Ottawa Redblacks vs. Montreal Alouettes, Friday, 7:30 PM ET — QBs (Live Mic Game)
Doesn’t matter if you like these teams or not; you must tune in to the Live Mic Game.
These are 2 teams who have started their seasons drastically different. Ottawa started their season with the blowing out of Saskatchewan and last week was stone walled by Calgary in a thrilling match that saw Trevor Harris pulled in the 4th quarter. Montreal was competitive in a loss against BC in Week 1 but then absolutely obliterated by Winnipeg in Week 2. But they are now trending up after their first win last week vs. the Riders. Drew Willy is out and Jeff Mathews will now start at QB for Montreal while Trevor Harris tries to bounce back from a terrible performance vs. Calgary.
Ottawa held their own vs. Calgary but the defense was in Harris’s face all night and he couldn’t make plays when Otttawa needed them. John Bowman has helped propel Montreal’s defense to good enough by his pass rushing disruption while Jamaal Westerman is on the other side doing the same. The Als have a new energy after that win and Jeff Mathews will have to produce for the Als to keep that same energy. Harris will have to rebound from the lowest completion percentage of his career (45%). Look for both teams to dial up the pressure on these QBs.
Edmonton Eskimos vs. Toronto Argos, Saturday, 5:30 PM ET — Defense (My Game of the Week)
Game 1 of the Saturday night doubleheader! Mike Reilly and the high powered Eskimos offense rolls into Toronto against Reilly’s former apprentice: James Franklin. Franklin has looked good in every appearance he has made in the CFL so I have no doubt that Toronto is in good hands. Plus he always has a positive attitude which is key in for anyone’s psyche. And Franklin has had a week to work with Trestman and their offense so I expect Toronto to come out blazing along with Edmonton.
I want to see James Wilder Jr. get the ball more. Wilder Jr. only has 76 yards rushing on 15 carries and 98 receiving yards on 8 catches. FEED THE REIGNING MOST OUTSTANDING ROOKIE. The man was dominate last year; while he his their leading receiver in catches and yards, that’s not good enough (granted they’ve only played 2 games). Let him run the ball and do what he does best. It looks like that’s what they’re trying to do but they need to do it more consistently. Let the man be your workhorse. Edmonton did that with CJ Gable last week and he ran for a career high 165 yards.
Edmonton’s offense is dynamite in a bottle but they’re going to need their defense to step up. Who’s going to stop the league leading WR Duke Williams? Their defense is young but getting better by the week though. Leading tackler LB Christophe Mulumba is all over the field in coverage, rushing the passer and stopping the run while DB Money Hunter is also all over the field in coverage.
This defense is sneaky good as they are tied to lead the league in INTs (4) and second in sacks (8). Contrary to Toronto’s defense which is full of vets and players that are fresh off of their Grey Cup win last season. I expect Toronto to come out with high energy since they’ve had time to collect themselves and come back to Earth after their 0-2 start. The reigning Grey Cup champs have realized it’s a new season.
BC Lions vs. Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Saturday, 8:30 PM ET — QB Play
Game 2 of the Saturday night doubleheader! Right before I wrote up on this game I received word that QB Matt Nichols will be starting for Winnipeg. That is huge! Nichols is coming off of a phenomenal 2017 where he had 4,472 yards, 28 TDs and 8 INTs. While watching rookie Chris Streveler flash every game was fun, it’s time for Winnipeg to get back to business with Nichols who was injured the first 3 games. I expect Winnipeg to air it out all game long and test this Lions secondary that was shredded by Mike Reilly last week.
BC stops and goes with QB Jonathon Jennings. In Week 1 against Montreal, he was hot and the defense was hot. Last week, BC started hot and jumped to a 14-2 lead in the first half before Edmonton took the lead before the half and ran away with the W. BC has to find a way to start hot and stay hot. I sound like a coach but they have to be a 2nd half team. (Ugh, that hurt to type but it’s true). BC has all the tools and potential but they have to keep it rolling throughout the whole game. Or Wally Buono’s last ride is not going to be an enjoyable one.
Enjoy the weekend minions! I sure will. Check my Twitter for highlights during the game as well.