What up CFL peeps?! Another week rolls on at PJ’s Place, as the NFL gets closer and closer to the regular season and starts to take over the football spotlight. While I’m sure we can’t wait for the boys down south to start back up, we are always going to watch our boys up north for the exhilarating, exciting, incredible game of Canadian football.
(Since I didn’t do my Week 9 takeaways)
Last week, Edmonton’s penalties and 2nd half drought got the best of them as BC took advantage, Hamilton struggles to finish as Winnipeg keeps their fire hot and Johnny flashes good things in an L to Ottawa. But this week — brace yourself — there’s no Johnny. I know, I know, there’s no reason to watch the Als now. But hey, Antonio Pipkin might be good.
Before we get into Montreal’s drama, let’s look at the other games that are going on this weekend.
Ottawa Redblacks vs. Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Friday (8/17), 8:30 PM ET, ESPN+, Defense
Two explosive offenses, two prolific QBs, two dynamic RBs, two stifling defenses. This is easily the most evenly matched game this weekend. Winnipeg leads the league in points, rushing yards and rushing TDs. And they are tied for best in the league in sacks allowed (9). Ottawa is 4th in points, 2nd in passing yards and 4th in passing TDs.
After an embarrassing comeback L to Toronto, the Redblacks came back and drudged out a W against the Fighting Manziels despite giving the ball away five times. Winnipeg got their fire going early against Hamilton and held them off to seal their W at home last week. They’ll have to do it again this week. If Ottawa wants to win, they better stop Andrew Harris or he’ll run wild and Matt Nichols will throw all over the yard.
British Columbia Lions vs. Toronto Argonauts, Saturday (8/18), 4 PM ET, ESPN+, Toronto O
The first game of the Saturday night double-header. Two teams that had to ditch their young QBs of the future to win now. Travis Lulay is a future CFL HOF and is moving the Lions in the right direction after their horrid 1-4 start.
Man, I do not get the story of McLeod Bethel-Thompson though. Played five games at UCLA as a redshirt freshman (1 TD, 5 INTs), then transferred to Sacramento State and played in 12 games in three seasons (7 TDs, 8 INTs). Plays in three games for the Arena Football League’s San Jose Sabercats (3 TDs, 1 INT) and started two games for the United Football League’s Sacramento Mountain Lions.
Bethel-Thompson then bounces around five NFL practice squads and 3rd string QB jobs from 2011-2016. In 2016, the Blue Bombers sign MBT to the practice squad and then cut him a month later. In 2017, MBT plays in The Spring League and gets signed by the Argos and backs up Ricky Ray as the Argos win the 105th Grey Cup.
Now this year, Ricky Ray gets injured, James Franklin steps in and is not too good. In comes MBT leading a 38-14 comeback W in his first CFL start over the Ottawa Redblacks. The pure definition of a journeyman QB. I just have one question: What made teams keep signing this man?
Obviously the last game answered that question. I hope MBT and Case Keenum do more great things to make 2018 the year of the journeyman QB.
Montreal Alouettes vs. Edmonton Eskimos, Saturday (8/18), 9 PM ET, ESPN2, Als
Here is the Alouettes statement about Johnny:
“On Tuesday morning, Johnny Manziel mentioned to our medical staff that he felt symptoms that could be associated with the prescribed medication he uses for a previously diagnosed medical condition. He then missed practice in order to have some blood work done. In view of the hit he received on Saturday and the potential mitigating side effects of his prescribed medication, the Alouettes medical staff has placed Manziel under the CFL concussion protocol for further observation and precautionary reasons. Manziel will be closely observed and assessed in the next few days.”
Woooo boy. No Johnny? Expect few Alouette fans to watch this game. Antonio Pipkin will start at QB; the 15th starting QB for Alouettes since HOF Anthony Calvillo retired in 2013. Kwaku Boateng and the boys are going to feast on the poor Alouettes OL. They’re getting better but Edmonton brings the heat on defense.
If you’re a bettor, I wouldn’t even think about betting on Montreal. But anything can happen in the CFL.
Calgary Stampeders vs. Saskatchewan Roughriders, Sunday (8/19), 7 PM ET, Riders O
A rare Sunday night CFL game! The mics will be live and the teams will be SCRAPPING! In the first match-up, Calgary jumped out to a 24-0 lead and kept it for the W 34-22. But Brandon Bridge was starting. Now the Riders have Zach Collaros starting at QB. I know the Riders defense is going to be good because they shut down Calgary in the 2nd half.
But will they open their offense for Zach Collaros? Duron Carter is gone but I don’t expect the Riders to miss a beat on offense or defense. Especially with the signing of Loucheiz Purifoy. Expect an even better battle than the first folks. IT’S SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL!!!
Enjoy the games! I’ll try my best to tweet highlights along the way!