Wednesday, July 1, 2015

2015 Week One CFL Television Ratings

Chris Zelkovich has the Canadian weekend sports television ratings here. Of the three weekend games, the Bombers at the Roughriders were top at 780,000, with the Eskimos at Argos at 498,000. The Friday night Ticats at Stampeders game was lowest at 455,000 which is a bit disappointing considering how good the game was. Those are pretty low ratings, although there was a lot of competition in the first week. The Blue Jays are still in the playoff mix for once, which makes a big difference. No idea what the ESPN television ratings for the CFL are for week one, but I'll look for it.

2015 CFL Week 2 Power Rankings

1. Calgary Stampeders
Even though it was close Hamilton, Calgary still won and no one was injured. Plus with all the injured quarterbacks, Bo Levi Mitchell looks even better and they still have Jon Cornish and Charleston Hughes.

2. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
But for a fifty yard field goal, Hamilton would have won in Calgary. Perhaps most impressive was Hamilton's defence, which forced five Calgary turnovers. Johnie Sears Junior looked especially good.

3. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Drew Willy doesn't suck apparently after having an awesome game against the Riders. Although the Bombers kicked ass early last year and look how that turned out for them.

4. Toronto Argonauts
Didn't expect them to beat Edmonton in Fort McMoney and was a little surprised by Trevor Harris' performance (although not totally). Chad Owens did well, which is important. Do the Argos even want Ricky Ray back now?

5. Saskatchewan Roughriders
Well Durant is already out for the entire year with a blown Achilles, but at least the Riders had the sense to sign Kevin Glenn as a backup so they're not totally in the toilet like 2014.

6. BC Lions
Haven't played yet, so a bit of a cypher. Assuming that Travis Lulay isn't injured yet, although considering the way CFL quarterbacks are dropping, my guess is his shoulder pops out as he steps onto the field.

7. Ottawa REDBLACKS
Well the REDBLACKs won, their first road victory ever. However it was against Montreal who got to find out how their third string Canadian quarterback was going to play. So I'm not convinced yet of Ottawa's prowess, but with all the backups in, an old Henry Burris isn't so bad.

8. Edmonton Eskimos
Well quarterback Mike Reilly is gone for 10-12 weeks already. So the Matt Nichols era begins. At least a lot of other quarterbacks are injured so that's something.

9. Montreal Alouettes
Lost back Dan LeFevour for the season and also Jonathon Crompton to the six game list, the Alouettes are down to their third string quarterback Canadian Brandon Bridge. That's not good, although I suppose it is for fans looking for a Canadian quarterback to start. Michael Bishop time?

2015 CFL Predicitons Week 2

Hamilton at Winnipeg
This a little tougher than I thought it would be a week ago, because Drew Willy had a great game against Saskatchewan. Zach Collaros also had a good game against Calgary, but was more impressive was that the Hamilton had a great game against Calgary with five turnovers. I think that Hamilton has a better game in week two and get pressure on Willy.
Tiger-Cats 27 Blue Bombers 23

Calgary at Montreal
Considering that Montreal lost both their starting and backup quarterbacks in week one and could be potentially starting a Canadian quarterback and Calgary won against a tough Hamilton team in week one, I don't think Montreal is winning. The Alouettes are at home, but Charleston Hughes is too opportunistic at defensive end for whoever ends ups at quarterback, plus Calgary's offense is excellent as well.
Stampeders 29 Alouettes 14

British Columbia at Ottawa
BC hasn't played yet so I'm assuming that Travis Lulay will start and isn't injured yet. Ottawa won their last game on the road, however that was against Montreal who blew through two quarterbacks.
I'm going to go with BC here, although they are on the road, mainly because I still somewhat believe in Wally Buono.
Lions 29 REDBLACKs 27

Toronto at Saskatchewan
The Riders also lost their starting quarterback in Durant for the season with a blown Achilles. At least this year they have Kevin Glenn as a backup. Toronto managed to win their home opener on the road in Fort Mac against Edmonton with Trevor Harris at quarterback rather than Ricky Ray. That's impressive and better than how I thought the Argos would do this year without Ray. Can Harris beat Glenn on the road in Saskatchewan? If it was at home I would take Toronto, but I think the Rider fans make the difference.
Riders 24 Argos 20

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Ticats Lose Season Opener to Calgary on Last Second Field Goal

The Tiger-Cats lost a heart-breaker to Calgary in the season-opener, losing 24 to 23 on a last second 50 yard field goal from Paredes. The Cats were up 18 to 10 at the half and only ended up scoring 5 points in the second half.

Collaros had a pretty good game, going 27 for 38 for 281 yards and a pick. Bo Levi Mitchell didn't have a particularly good game going 22 for 35 for 263 yards with a TD but 3 picks including a pick six in the opening drive. The Cats seemed to be missing Luke Tasker and relied mainly on Andy Fantuz who had nine receptions for 83 yards. Sinkfield had 5 for 76 yards.

Holley the new running back didn't really do a lot, getting 24 yards on eight carries. Cornish didn't do a lot compared to what he does normally, with 13 carries for 70 yards.

The Cats defence was most impressive, with two turnovers on quarterback sneaks plus three interceptions. The Cat defence also had four sacks. Sears had a good game with two picks, and a sack. Butler also had a pick and a sack. Gainey had 11 tackles, although considering he's in the secondary, I'm not sure that's a good thing.

The Cats lost yet another season opener, however they looked good on the road against Calgary and I think most would say Calgary is probably better than any other CFL team besides the Ticats right now. The Cats have a bye week, so let's hope some of the injured players are back by then, including Tasker and Norwood.


Friday, June 26, 2015

Hamilton Ticats at Calgary Stampeders Half-Time 2015 Opener

Exciting half. Pick six by Sears starting out for Hamilton on star quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell which was awesome. Calgary answered with a TD, but Hamilton ended up ahead at the half, with a contribution from a Brandon Banks punt return TD (revenge for the 2014 Grey Cup).

Zach Collaros looked good with 11 of 14 passing albeit for not a lot of yards.

Sears looked great with a sack and a pick for six and the Hamilton pass rush looked good overall with three sacks despite the line being somewhat injured.

Holley started out well as the new starting running back, but then not much was seen from him until the end of the half.

Andy Fantuz looked great until he took a hard hit near the end of the fourth quarter. Hopefully he is OK.  Grant had a couple of catches, but I was expecting more considering Tasker is out.

Bo Levi Mitchell looked better in the first half than the second after the Ticats started getting after him. Cornish hasn't been very Cornish like so props to the Ticat defence.

Ticats at Stampedes Preview Week 1 CFL

I've looked at the Ticats website and no sign of the depth chart yet. Seems pretty strange as they had one for the last pre-season game. So I will have to go by some assumptions.

I'm not exactly sure which offensive tackles will start but I do know they will be Americans. Figueora I believe is on the injury list so not him. Likely in the middle will be guards Dyakoski and Bomben plus Filer as centre, all non-imports. 

Collaros will start at quarterback and a lot of how the game goes will depend on him. The problem is that Gable, Grigsby and Madu are all injured at running back and Steve Tasker is out at receiver.

The Cats do have import Bakari Grant who looked good in the pre-season and if the Cats are going to win, is going to have to have a good game. Non-import Fantuz is healthy and will also need to have a good game. I'm assuming that Brandon Banks will play some five and six receiver sets. The new import Tolliver will likely start as a receiver and hopefully he pans out as the new 2015 receiver find for the Ticats. The non-import Coates could possibly also see a little bit of time.

The new running back Holley at least had some time in the last pre-season game taking over from the injured running backs. How he does receiving will be important for the offense. Prime is likely the non-import running back. Medlock obviously kicks and punts and it will be interesting what the Cats do on the new points after rule.

On defence, the line will be Justin Hickman as an end, Henry as a tackle and non-import Laurent as another tackle. If Norwood hadn't injured himself in a household accident he would have started (he had 13 sacks in 2014) and I'm not sure who replaces him.

Linebackers are I'm guessing Harris and Reed although without the depth chart I'm not sure exactly who the third is. Rico Murray is unfortunately injured.

In the secondary, Brandon Stewart is likely one of the starting corners with Gainey or Sears as one of the others. Butler a non-import starts at safety.

Calgary obviously has Bo Levi Mitchell and Jon Cornish and the defence will at least have to slow them down. I can see the Cats minimizing production from Cornish but then getting torched from the air. This game could be a shootout although I'm not sure that is recipe for the Cats winning.

Apparently the Cats haven't won their home opener for ten years, which is kind of depressing. Hopefully Collaros comes up with a monster game.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

2015 CFL Picks Week 1

Well the regular season is already starting. Here we go.

Ottawa at Montreal
I didn't think Alouette quarterback Jonathon Crompton looked good in the pre-season and I didn't think that he was really as great as some said last year. I felt his stats weren't fantastic and Montreal's defence was really good. I wonder if Dan LeFevour will eventually take over as starter from Crompton. Still Montreal is a fairly talented team, especially on offense and GM Jim Popp is usually good at finding import talent (although Michael Sam didn't work out great).

Ottawa has loaded up on receivers, but are still going with the rather ancient by CFL standards Henry Burris at quarterback. Ottawa to me still doesn't have a lot of depth and as a ways to go, although they should be better than last year. Probably not good enough to beat Montreal at home however.
Alouettes 22 REDBLACKS 16 

Hamilton at Calgary
Despite all Hamilton's injuries I still like the club, but they are missing some key parts like DE Eric Norwood and receiver Luke Tasker. They are in Calgary though and Calgary is still the class of the CFL, with most of their team from the Grey Cup winning squad last year around, plus they have Bo Levi Mitchell. The homer in me would like to take Hamilton, but they have historically played Calgary poorly in Calgary. Collaros could have a great game, but that's a lot to depend on.
Stampeders 29 Hamilton 23

Edmonton at Toronto
Technically this is a home game for Toronto but it is being played in Fort McMurray. That's obviously not that far from Edmonton which probably means a pro-Eskimos crowd. And Ricky Ray is still hurt from last year, meaning Toronto has to depend on quarterback Trevor Harris. The Argos have been bought by Bell and Larry Tanenbaum, but they are still probably suffering somewhat from the Braley era of cheap spending in terms of talent beyond Ray. Although they still have Chad Owens

Edmonton is a good team, but the wheels kind of fell off the bus at the end of the season with quarterback Mike Reilly being injured. I'm assuming Reilly is staying healthy to start the season (I'm not sure how long that will last) and thus the Eskimos should be good. And better than the Argos.
Eskimos 23 Argonauts 18

Winnipeg at Saskatchewan
I'm not sure exactly how good the Riders will be this year. Last year with Darian Durant in, they were good, without him they were terrible. This year they have Kevin Glenn in as a backup in case Durant goes down again which is something. The Bombers have Drew Willy, who isn't terrible although I'm not sure he's great either. I have to think for this game that home field advantage has to be the deciding factor. Plus the fact that Winnipeg didn't look very good at all in their last pre-season game versus Hamilton.
Riders 24 Bombers 20