CFL Preview - Hamilton (5-8) at Edmonton (5-8)
From The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, CFL Editor
DATE & TIME: Friday, October 5, 9:00 p.m. (et).
GAME NOTES: A pair of teams seeking their sixth win of the season get together
at Commonwealth Stadium on Friday night, as the Edmonton Eskimos entertain the
Since starting the 2012 campaign with five wins in eight opportunities, the
Eskimos have been in a vicious downward spiral that has seen the squad drop
five straight outings, including a 39-15 final at Calgary last week. Part of
the problem was that the Esks were running out of quarterbacks, with injuries
to both Kerry Joseph and Steven Jyles, which opened the door for Matt Nichols
to earn his first start in the CFL by default.
A record-breaking passer at Eastern Washington where he threw for nearly 100
touchdowns, Nichols found himself trailing by a 20-7 score at the half versus
the Stampeders and was never able to fully recover. The signal-caller
completed 14-of-26 passes for 167 yards and a score, but was picked off once
and sacked three times. Nichols did lead the team in rushing with 36 yards and
a major on two attempts, but for him to leave the pocket with both Joseph and
Jyles already injured may not have been the smartest thing in the world.
Overall, the Edmonton offense sputtered, generating just 242 yards on 66 plays
which may have been the impetus behind head coach Kavis Reed also adding
offensive coordinator as one of his titles on Sunday. One of the first moves
for Reed is to reinstate Joseph as the starter beginning on Friday night, even
though the quarterback is not quite 100 percent.
Unfortunately, with these last five games of the regular season being so
important for an Edmonton squad that is last in the West Division standings
with just 10 points, coach Reed really doesn't have much of a choice but to go
with the most experienced quarterback who is the closest to being healthy,
even though Joseph has thrown more interceptions (six) than touchdowns (five)
here in 2012.
As for the Tiger-Cats, they too are well aware that it is crunch time with
only about a month remaining in the regular season, and their third-place spot
over in the East Division guarantees them nothing when it comes to playing
into late November.
With opportunities to pick up victories running short, Henry Burris took
control of the 'Cats last week and guided them to a 41-28 home win versus
division-leading Montreal. Burris, named the CFL Offensive Player of the Week
for the third time this season on Tuesday, connected on all but just four of
his 32 pass attempts, leading to better than 300 yards and five touchdowns,
the signal-caller shaking off four sacks and an interception along the way.
Andy Fantuz and Dave Stala caused quite a bit of damage as both receivers
landed in the end zone twice. Running back Avon Cobourne carried the ball 19
times for a game-high 111 yards against his old team, while Burris placed
second on the unit with 34 rushing yards on four chances.
During a long and storied career which has seen Burris, one of only three
quarterbacks to start every game for his team this season, throw for 289
touchdowns and better than 45,000 yards, the quarterback again finds himself
with the best efficiency rating in the league through 13 games at 108.1.
Burris has thrown the most TDs (32) and is second in total passing yards
(3,846), the former moving him to within one of the Hamilton single-season
record and the latter putting him on the verge of his ninth season with at
least 4,000 passing yards.
Burris has had some monumental outings against Edmonton over the years, even
throwing for 418 yards and three touchdowns in the most recent meeting, but at
the same time he has also put himself in many vulnerable positions, to the
point where he has been sacked a total of 13 times in the last five
In 18 games against Hamilton in his career, Joseph has an impressive TD-to-INT
ratio of 20-to-5, but at the same time he's had some trouble holding onto the
ball with a total of nine fumbles, although he has tempered that with six
rushing touchdowns so perhaps those miscues can be seen as a cost of doing
business in the CFL.
Edmonton owns a 52-29-1 record in the regular-season series against the
Bombers dating back to 1950, and still it was Winnipeg that blew away the
Eskimos in the most recent meeting just three weeks ago in a 51-8 final.
Bouncing back and forth between starting quarterbacks can't be good for the
Esks, or any team for that matter, which is why Hamilton has the inside track
for the win this week.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Hamilton 27, Edmonton 17
10/03 11:20:56 ET
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