Best in the West test the the Best in the East
Top Shelf Picks
Sometimes the CFL is an outstanding league. A league set apart where certain players and coaches can partake in a higher standard of business and athletics. Sometimes, it can be viewed as a backwater town fantasy league where one man can own a quarter of the League.
In this week’s match-up we see owner David Braley’s BC Lions square off against his Toronto Argonauts.
In this circumstance Braley is the perfect owner of two teams of the CFL.
A pillar of strength in rebuilding the Lions, it only seems natural that he is the base and bankroll to re-establish the eminence of what is the Argo’s.
The man in charge isn’t the only common factor of these two clubs, both squads headed into the weekend tied for top spot in their conference.
Let’s see how they will fare as opponents in this week’s Top Shelf Keys to the game.
In a move that confused everyone in the offseason, the Edmonton Eskimos dealt QB Ricky Ray to the Argonauts. Even while learning a new system, Ray has already amassed over 1500 yards.
After a couple of hiccups, Lions QB Travis Lulay had a tremendous game in Calgary finding his big name targets with relative ease.
While both trigger-men should be on target it will be the one who makes the fewest mistakes. Combined they have 9 picks between them and one pick could skew the game in either direction.
Keron Williams and his league leading 6 sacks have proved that the Lions can rush the passer but they must stand firm against the run game on Monday. A tough task since the Double Blue roll out the CFL’s leading rusher in Corey Boyd.
Toronto will run in all situations and the boys up front must be wary of the elusive Boyd.
Last game the Leo’s receivers came into form against Calgary, this week they should hold court again in what looks like a defence that is suspect against the pass even though they’re ranked second in the league.
The Argo’s have given up at least 19 points in every contest. If the Receiving corps can get some separation, look for Travis Lulay to find his targets for big numbers.
Shake and Bake
With the Special Teams defense getting stronger every week the onus now shifts back to the return game to help the O. Tim Brown ranks 4th in return yards but that’s in large part to a defence that forces punts.
It’s about time to see Tim shag a punt, get some solid blocking, and crank off some big returns.
Ever since the Hamilton game this department has been average at best.
A vaunted Defensive secondary without a single pick versus a team which favours the passing attack. It’s time the Lions DB’s get to the ball faster than anybody.
The secondary is familiar with Ricky Ray from his time the CFL West and should know his tendencies.
It’s almost a third of the way through the season and the pass defenders are being out-picked by the Linebackers.
- RB Andrew Harris has been named Canadian player of the month for July, let’s hope that he can transition into a better August.
- Keron Williams has had a sack in all four previous contests
- Khalif Mitchell’s appeal hearing is after the Toronto game, meaning he will play against the Boatmen
- Chad Owens is an explosive return man for the Argos and the Lions Special Teams defence will have their hands full.
- WR Earnest Jackson will start his first game of the season, replacing Nick Moore.
- The Argo’s haven’t been defeated on home soil this season.
One game to go before the Lions have their Bye-week but they shouldn’t worry about summer vacation before all the work is done.
Toronto is an opposing threat that will test the Orange and White in a battle of division leading clubs.
Call it a preview to the 100th Grey Cup if you want, but if the Lions want to have any success in TO in November they need to make their mark on Monday.
Cheers, The Bartender