Wednesday, September 2, 2015

2015 CFL Power Rankings Week 10

1. Calgary Stampeders
I put Calgary up this high, mainly because they aren't totally ridden with injuries. Plus they dominated in the second half against the Bombers (which isn't really impressive, but it is something).

2. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
The Cats did lose at home last week versus Montreal, but more importantly they have a ridiculous number of injuries now, they likely won't be able to compensate for (Canadian offensive linemen and defensive end).

3. Edmonton Eskimos
The Edmonton Eskimos seems better now with Franklin in as quarterback. Plus they have a great defense.

4. Toronto Argonauts
They lost to Edmonton, although it was on the road. Still a decent team and Harris has emerged as one of the better quarterbacks in the league this year. Probably most important for Toronto is that Scott Milanovich is arguably the best coach in the league.

Ended up beating the Riders at home, although the first quarter was close. The REDBLACKS aren't really that great a team, but they do have an experienced quarterback and some decent receivers and that isn't too bad in 2015 and not bad at all for an expansion team on its second year.

6. Montreal Alouettes
Won in Hamilton with their backup quarterback Tanner Marsh with Jim Popp as coach. We will see how long this lasts.

7. BC Lions
Didn't play so at least they are rested. No Solomon Elimimian at middle linebacker. That's not good.

8. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Things aren't looking good without their Willy.

9. Saskatchewan Roughriders
Fired their coach, GM and Tino Sunseri. It is a start. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Thoughts on Montreal's Win Over the Ticats

I only caught slightly over half of the game at the stadium due to arriving at Pearson at 6:30 pm, although I did hear most of the rest on CKOC 1150's broadcast. Not a big fan of that broadcast although I do like Coach Sal. Obviously the home winning streak ended, which is sad, but not the end of the world.

I think compared to the Ticats's five game win streak prior to this game, the Cats didn't get out to a big lead early. That made things more difficult; teams that get way behind, even it was just bad luck don't play that well. The Cats were constantly in catch up mode themselves, but to be fair they never let the game really get away from them and only lost by three points.

Should the Cats go with Grigsby over Holley as their main running back? Holley hasn't done much (although the Cats don't run a lot) and but he is a better blocker in pass protection to warrant starting over Grigsby.

The Cats missed Andy Fantuz in this one. Due to the ratio, Coates takes his spot, and apologies to Coates, he isn't Fantuz. He didn't catch a pass and I only saw one pass thrown in his direction (although that resulted in a Montreal penalty). Montreal was blitzing a lot and had six sacks; Fantuz likely would have made a better quick target for Collaros to get rid of the ball quickly and avoid the rush. The Cats themselves didn't get a lot of pressure this game with only one sack, although they managed to knock Cato out of the game. Underwood had a good game with three catches for 93 yards.

Sears Jr. led the Ticats with 7 tackles, which I'm not sure is necessarily a good thing but I'm glad he's healthy again.

Strangely after the Cats knocked out Cato, Tanner Marsh seemed to play better than Cato did. That's unusual for a backup and I never thought Marsh was that great when he was playing before the ascension of Jonathon Crompton to the Montreal starting quarterback position.

In terms of victory, to me there were a few second and longs the Cats had Montreal in where if they could have prevented Montreal from getting the first down, things could have been very different (especially the final FG drive of Montreal where the Cats had the Alouettes relatively deep in their own end).

On to the Argos next week on Labour Day in the annual classic. Toronto lost the Edmonton yesterday on the road so the Cats are tied at 6 and 3 with Toronto. A win on Labour Day would have the Cats winning the season series tie-breaker and winning the vaunted Harold Ballard Cup.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

2015 CFL Predictions Week 10

Montreal at Hamilton
The Cats are hot, are at home where they are even hotter and the Alouettes have just fired their head coach Tom Higgins and replaced him with GM Jim Popp. The Alouettes actually played tough against Hamilton the last time they met at McGill coming away with a victory. The Cats are a better team now, especially their defence. Certainly anything can happen, but given Montreal's chaos and relatively lacklustre play of late, I can't see the Ticats losing.
Tiger-Cast 35 Montreal 22

Toronto at Edmonton
The Eskimos were humiliated at home last week by Hamilton, while the Argos won yet again. Edmonton's supposedly good defence didn't do too much against Hamilton, although to be fair the offense was continuously turning over the ball. The Argos have a surprisingly good offense with backup quarterback Trevor Harris and a mostly anonymous receiving crew. Argo head coach Scott Milanovich is likely a big reason the Toronto offense is so good. The Eskimos are starring Franklin over Nichols at quarterback, which might help, or it might not. The Eskimos are at though home, which still counts for something in the CFL.
Eskimos 26 Argonauts 24

Calgary at Winnipeg
Given the Bombers' struggles with quarterback Drew Willy injured, I can't see Winnipeg winning this one, even though they are at home. Marve might eventually become a good quarterback for the Bombers, but the Stampeders Bo Levi Mitchell is already there. I'm also not sure how much protection Marve will get.
Stampeders 29 Blue Bombers 19

Saskatchewan at Ottawa
The Roughriders have lost every game and managed to lose a whole lot of close games. The REDBLACKS have looked decent and then absolutely crappy. Ottawa is at home though and the Riders are not a great team. I think Burris manages to use his receivers well at home and the team takes fewer penalties than the previous week. Rider sucking continues, going into the Labour Day classic with the Bombers.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

2015 CFL Power Rankings Week 9

1. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Another week, another spanking of a team by the Ticats. This time it was supposed to be a defensive battle with the Eskimos, but it didn't turn out that way with the Cats hanging 49 points on Edmonton through capitalizing on turnovers. This was also an away game. Despite the Cats still having several important injuries, the Ticat offense kept rolling with whichever receivers were available. In the land of the blind that is the CFL, the Cats still have Zach Collaros.

2. Calgary
A close road win in Saskatchewan. Bo Levi Mitchell is obviously way better than the current average starting CFL quarterback. Not a bad defence.

3. Toronto
They just keep winning with Trevor Harris at quarterback. Credit has to go to head coach Scott Milanovich.

4. Edmonton
So they got spanked by Hamilton at home. They still have a good defence, especially against the wankerly offenses of the CFL. Still no Mike Reilly at quarterback, but at least they decided to start Franklin.

Could have beat the Argos on the road if they hadn't got so many penalties. I fully expect the REDBLACKS to continue to get a lot of penalties.

6. Montreal Alouettes
Won on the road, fired their coach, installed Popp as coach. I can't really see this ending well, but stranger things have happened in the CFL.

7. BC Lions
Losing to Montreal at home. Ouch. If somebody had told me Lulay had managed to play this long without his shoulder disintegrating I would have thought they would have had a better record. Not having reigning CFL MOP Eliminiam hurts.

8. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Bye week for Winnipeg, but still no Willy.

9. Saskatchewan Roughriders
They just keep finding ways to lose. Sure it was close, but the Riders manage to play just badly enough to lose every game. That's weird.

Friday, August 21, 2015

2015 CFL Predictions Week 9

Missed the first game this week. Damn.

Hamilton at Edmonton
The Cats have looked great lately despite injuries to CJ Gable, Bakari Grant and Andy Fantuz among others. However the Ticat defence has been fantastic. Edmonton's defence is also great; their offense without Mike Reilly hasn't been so great and now they are missing their start receiver Adarius Bowman. Normally I would go with the home team here, but Hamilton has been looking so strong lately and has an advantage at quarterback, it is hard to go against them.
Tiger-Cats 28 Eskimos 22

Calgary at Saskatchewan
The Riders aren't a 0-7 team so they have to win eventually. Most likely it will be at home. I just don't think it will be against Calgary this week.
Stampeders 33 Riders 22

Ottawa at Toronto
Toronto just keeps winning with Trevor Harris as their quarterback in the absence of Ricky Ray. I'm not sure the Argos get much of a bounce from Dead Ted's Dome (aka the Rogers Centre), but Ottawa didn't look good last week. Toronto for sure.
Argonauts 29 REDBLACKS 23

2015 CFL Power Rankings Week 8

I wrote this earlier in the week but didn't post it before the Thursday game.

1. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
It would be hard to argue against Hamilton as the top ranked team. They have won four in a row, are unbeaten at home and absolutely destroyed BC last week,
offensively, defensively and with special teams. That's despite injuries to Andy Fantuz, CJ Gable, Bakari Grant ad that safety. The Cats are deep in both import and non-import talent and their defensive front seven is second to none in the league. Another Brandon Banks punt return TD, plus a passing TD for him, is an endorsement for special teams coach Jeff Reinebold.

2. Calgary Stampeders
The Stamps demolished Ottawa at home, showing that apart from Hamilton, they are a cut above the other CFL teams. In a league rife with backup quarterbacks forced into starting, Bo Levi Mitchell is considerably better than the average quarterback. Even with an injury to start Canadian running back Jon Cornish, the Stamps offense is still formidable.

3. Edmonton Eskimos
Considering that the Eskimos have been missing starting quarterback Mike Reilly for weeks, the Eskimo defense has kept the team winning, even with some mediocre quarterbacking from backup Matt Nichols? Eventually Reilly will be back and the team will be even better. Adarius Bowman
being out hurts.

4. Toronto
Toronto keeps winning with Trevor Harris and basically some no names. I'm not sure how long it can last, but they are a decent team with Harris.

Spanked by Calgary and their own incompetence last week, Ottawa is having trouble while receiver Chris Williams is injured, even though they have a lot of other receiving options.

6. Montreal Alouettes
Rakeem Cato isn't looking as good as his initial games. At least the Michael Sam distraction is over.

7. BC Lions
They were dominated by Hamilton last week, even with Lulay and Harris. Now their best linebacker Eliminiam is out. Not good.

8. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
With Drew Willy out, the Bombers finally tried out Robert Marve at quarterback against the Argos at home. He didn't look bad, so at least there is some hope in Bomber land for making the playoffs until Willy returns. Not a lot of hope, but the West isn't that great this year.

9. Saskatchewan Roughriders
They're 0-7 and Durant and Glenn are hurt. Maybe next year Saskatchewan.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Should the Tiger-Cats Start Anthony Woodson Over Ray Holley?

With Andy Fantuz and CJ Gable injured and out for some time, the Cats have to find a way of replacing them and being mindful of the ratio. Last game the Cats used import Ray Holley at running back for Gable and non-import Matt Coates at receiver for Andy Fantuz, keeping their import non-import ratio the same for these two positions.

Holley hasn't really done much when he's played at running back, gaining 112 yards on 28 attempts for a 4.0 yard per carry average. Admittedly the Cats mostly passed when Holley was playing. Woodson has gained 61 yards so far in 2015 on 11 carries for a 5.5 yard average, a lot of that after Gable was injured early in a game. If the Cats aren't going to run much if Gable isn't in, I don't see why the Cats don't start Woodson at running back over Holley. Holley doesn't seem that much better than Woodson and Woodson is a non-import. If the Cats start Woodson, they could start another import receiver over Matt Coates who hasn't caught a pass yet in 2015 and balance the ratio. Underwood or Sinkfield could come in place of Coates.

The one issue is that the Cats would need another Canadian running back to back up Woodson and play special teams.