After a tough loss to B.C last week the Riders quickly get a chance for revenge on Sunday in game two of the home and home. The Riders seem to be two different teams at home and on the road so lets hope the home Riders show up. A lot of people are acting like the sky is falling because of big losses to teams like Calgary and B.C but one win against one of the Tier 1 teams (Calgary, BC, Edmonton) and the Riders stay alive. If they can be within four or six points of Winnipeg come Labour Day, the Crossover is a still a wide open possibility with back to back wins against the Bombers which is extremely do-able. The Riders just need a big momentum building win against a CFL powerhouse and I know a few ways that they can do that this weekend against B.C.
1) Force turnovers
It’s time for our defense to make some big plays. Last week against B.C they held a few times in the first half to keep the game close but they have to start creating multiple turnovers in a game. It’s too easy for opposing QB’s to march the field every single drive. Bring pressure and the turnovers will come. It’s time to stop babying the DB’s in coverage with 3 or 4 man rushes and bring some heavy pressure this weekend and get Jonathon Jennings uncomfortable coming back from an injury. What have they got to lose?
2) Protect KG/Get rid of the ball faster
Kevin Glenn didn’t have a whole lot of help from his offensive line last week but he also didn’t throw the ball up and let his start receivers make plays like Lulay did. The new look O-line needs to be able to give KG just a little more time to go through his reads this week. It’s a good line but they have had bad games against the Tier 1 teams. This week is a big game for them to prove they can play with the big boys. At the same time KG needs to trust his receivers to make plays for him. he did a good job of that in the Toronto game but went away from it last week and took multiple sacks. Throw the ball up to the big boys.
3) Get Cameron Marshall 15-20 touches
When Cameron Marshall gets the ball that many times the team usually has a big day in the passing game. He ran the ball a total of 5 times last week and caught it out of the backfield just 3 times. That isn’t enough. Teams are just pinning their ears back looking for sacks every play when they know the Riders aren’t going to run. Even if it isn’t successful you have to run the ball at least 15 times in a game to keep the other team guessing and get the new O-line out there hitting people together to build them some confidence with their new look. They must do that this weekend if their is any chance to win.
4) Win the Special teams battle and score
The Riders have been consistent on special teams all year and it has been nice to see. But they need a big spark to get this team turned around. There is nothing like a special teams score to get the fans and team in the game. I’m going to say this right here, if the Riders score on special teams on Sunday they win the game. Momentum is something the Riders desperately need to shift and a special teams score is the answer.
5) Contain Jeremiah Johnson
Jeremiah Johnson is a beast in the backfield and the Riders haven’t been doing a very good job at stopping the run this season. That has to change this Sunday if the Riders want a win. The Riders have a big boy at the defensive tackle spot this weekend. New Rider Nick James will start at the position, He is 6’5 325 pounds so maybe he can help with the run game as he is a monster. Any way they do it they have to keep Johnson from taking the game over or it will be another tough night for the Riders,
This is a huge game for the Riders. The fans are getting impatient for some wins. The Riders have the talent to hang with the top CFL teams. It is now just about their execution and self belief. If they beat this Lions team on Sunday it will go a long way in showing the fans and the team itself they are good enough to hang with the big boys. I truly believe the Riders come away with a win this Sunday. Let’s hope I’m right.