CFL Preview - Edmonton (7-9) at Montreal (10-6)
From The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, CFL Editor
DATE & TIME: Sunday, October 28, 1:00 p.m. (et).
GAME NOTES: With the Eastern Division title already locked up, the Montreal
Alouettes now turn their attention to the Edmonton Eskimos as the two squads
collide on Sunday afternoon.
Last Saturday, the Als recorded a 34-28 win over Saskatchewan on the road, the
team's second straight win and the 10th overall for the season. Because
Toronto was sent packing by Winnipeg a day earlier, the Alouettes were in
control of their own destiny and are now assured of hosting a division finals
game on Nov. 18.
Edmonton's chances of making the postseason are slightly more convoluted at
the moment. Because the Eskimos hold a tie-breaker over Saskatchewan, the
squad has to at least win one of the last two games on the schedule in order
to secure a cross-over spot in the playoffs, or wait and see if Hamilton and
Winnipeg both split their final two games in order to sneak in.
For a team that opened the 2012 campaign with three wins in four tries, the
Eskimos could have made it much easier on themselves if they hadn't dropped
five straight games in the month of September. Last week, Edmonton saw a brief
two-game win streak come to an end when it bowed to British Columbia on the
road in a 39-19 final.
If it wasn't for kicker Grant Shaw, the final score against the Lions would
have been even more dismal as he produced all 10 points for the Eskimos in the
first half. As a unit, Edmonton generated 293 yards of offense, but the squad
was also slowed by 10 penalties which cost them 86 yards as well.
Kerry Joseph took more than his fair share of hits as he was sacked seven
times. The signal-caller converted a mere 6-of-24 passes for 146 yards and a
score, but was also intercepted once.
Part of the problem for the Eskimos was that running back Hugh Charles
sustained an injury and that curtailed many of the options Edmonton may have
had on offense. Charles gained 35 yards on seven carries and Jerome Messam had
a single 22-yard run on his lone attempt, which may be why the team was
prompted to bring back Cory Boyd whom they had released just 10 days prior.
Boyd, who began the season with the Toronto Argonauts and was the league's
leading rusher with 447 yards before being released by them, appeared in four
games for Edmonton previously and was credited with 18 carries for 76 yards
and another 40 receiving yards on four catches.
Having someone like Boyd ready to pick up the slack right off the bat is
something that the Eskimos should be thrilled about being able to do on such
short notice, but if Joseph isn't able to direct the offense it might not make
much of a difference.
As for the Alouettes, they started off slow in their meeting with the
Roughriders last Saturday afternoon, but then picked up the pace in the second
and third quarters when they tallied a combined 27 points in order to surge
ahead. Down the stretch the defense did permit a pair of touchdowns to
Saskatchewan which closed the gap significantly, but still the Als held on.
Anthony Calvillo had a modest day passing the ball by his standards,
converting 16-of-28 for 262 yards and a score, but while the signal-caller was
sacked twice by the Riders, he also ran the ball three times for a collective
36 yards and two touchdowns. Any other time an effort like that may have
earned Calvillo the CFL's Offensive Player of the Week award, but in this case
that accolade went to teammate Jamel Richardson who caught eight passes for
Richardson has been rather quiet this season when it comes to statistics, at
least compared to years gone by. Last year, he led the entire league in
receiving yards with close to 1,800, resulting in 11 touchdowns stemming from
112 catches, but this year he has half that number of receptions for 949 yards
and five majors.
The receiver really can't blame Calvillo for his dip in production because the
quarterback is again on pace to throw for more than 5,000 yards for the second
straight year and the seventh time in his career, needing just 239 yards in
the next two games to reach that plateau. However, Calvillo has seen his
accuracy dip to 60 percent and his interceptions rise to 12 after throwing
just eight picks all of last season.
While Calvillo is preparing to break the tie he holds with Doug Flutie for the
most 5,000-yard passing seasons in CFL history, Edmonton is dealing with the
fact that it is next-to-last in the league in passing yards (4,154) and has
nearly as many INTs (16) as TDs (20), as it juggles quarterbacks depending on
their health and effectiveness.
Montreal won the only prior meeting this season between these two teams back
on Aug. 17 by a score of 38-25, as Calvillo threw for 327 yards and four
touchdowns. With that decision, the Als have now taken five in a row from
Edmonton, but still trail in the all-time, regular-season series by a count of
37-26-2 dating back to 1949.
With the understanding that their place in the playoffs is now solidified, the
Als might take their foot off the gas in the final weeks, but that doesn't
necessarily mean Montreal is destined to fall in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Montreal 27, Edmonton 22
10/24 11:35:52 ET
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