The Saskatchewan Roughriders squeaked out an 18-17 win against Ottawa last week after a horrendous start. But, a win is a win and the Riders now sit tied for third in the CFL West Division. It is crucial that the Riders come out with a much faster start against the Argos because they have the ability the put up big numbers on offence and a slow start would make it difficult for the Riders to get back in the game. It is going to be a tough game against the East Division’s best team but I know a few ways the Riders can get it done.
See What Richardson Can do
Trent Richardson is starting his first professional football game in three years tonight. He is a former first round pick so lets see what he can do. I would expect the Riders to give him the ball at least 15 times to see what Richardson is made of. His conditioning could come into question so I wouldn’t be surprised if Kienan LaFrance got a few touches too. What could really be the difference in who gets the more touches is if Richardson proves he can pass block. Chris Jones loves a running back who can block so if he can prove himself in defending Kevin Glenn, Richardson should get the majority of the snaps. I’m excited to see him play.
Stop Wilder Jr.
Many teams have tried, many teams have failed. James Wilder Jr. is a down hill runner who is very hard to slow down once he gets going. Hes rushed for over 550 yards on only 73 attempts and averages seven and a half yards per carry, the best average in the league. It took the Argos half a season to figure out their true offensive identity but I truly believe they are now a run first offence and that is scary for a Rider defence who has not been able to stop the run. The Riders HAVE TO send more than than three lineman on first down or Wilder is going to run wild on them. The way to stop him is to stack the box and hope the Rider defensive backs can play man coverage until the run is consistently stopped.
Win the Turnover Battle
The Riders have done a good job at this since they started stringing wins together. Against Toronto is has to happen again. It starts with Ed Gainey. He has to be the leader in the defensive back field and go make plays to get the Riders momentum early. Pressure would also help force Ricky Ray to make passes he doesn’t want to but I know the Riders don’t blitz very often so it falls on the defensive backs for good zone coverage.
Build off Last Week’s Strong Special Teams Play
Christion Jones got the come back started with a huge punt return touchdown last week. Creating good field position with excellent returns will be key to the Riders putting up points this week. Jones has the ability to change the game with a flip of a switch which was on full display against Ottawa. If the Riders can get another return like that this week it will go a long way towards a Saskatchewan win.
Get Roosevelt the Ball
Naaman Roosevelt is back for the Riders and I’m sure he’s looking to have a huge game. Roosevelt was knocked out of the game against Calgary with what I feel was a clean hit. He missed last week’s game but will be ready to go against the Argos. The Argos have some injuries on defence and I feel as though the Riders offence can exploit the Toronto D. If Roosevelt is established in the pass game early I think he will go off for over 100 and at least one touchdown. I expect big things from Naaman against the Argos.
It seems like I say the upcoming game is the biggest game of the year every week. But it seems every week keeps getting bigger and bigger and I feel the need to point it out. This week is huge for the Riders. They have to win against East teams to make it easier for a possible slip up against a West opponent later in the season. It will not be easy to beat the Argos this week. They are the best team in the East and are no push over. The Riders will have to give it everything they have and have a much better start this week if they have any chance of winning. It should be a great game in Toronto.