CFL Preview - Edmonton (3-13) at British Columbia (9-7)
From The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, CFL Editor
DATE & TIME: Friday, October 25, 10 p.m. (et).
GAME NOTES: The British Columbia Lions try to bring an end to an ill-timed
three-game slide on Friday night when they host the Edmonton Eskimos in Week
18 action at BC Place.
Less than a month ago, the Lions where in the thick of things when it came to
competing for the top spot in the West Division standings, but this current
slide has knocked the team down to third place behind both Calgary and
Saskatchewan. Prior to the losing streak, BC had dropped just four games in 13
Last weekend, British Columbia was stymied by the Roughriders on the road,
35-14, going from an early 7-0 lead in the first quarter to a 31-7 hole at the
break. Granted, the Lions limited the hosts to just four points after
intermission, but by then the damage had been done.
The Lions produced a mere 240 yards of total offense and 13 first downs, with
nine penalties for a loss of 70 yards hampering their efforts versus the
Riders. Quarterback Thomas DeMarco completed only 13-of-30 passes for 147
yards and two touchdowns, while being picked off four times. In addition to
the four interceptions thrown by DeMarco, BC also lost possession of three of
its five fumbles, one of which was returned for a touchdown.
Nick Moore and Shawn Gore both logged receiving touchdowns for the Lions, the
former posting a game-high five receptions for 73 yards.
While the Lions have lost out on a golden opportunity to perhaps control their
own destiny in the postseason, that was never an option for the Eskimos who
are currently tied with Winnipeg for the worst overall record in the league
with a mere three wins in 16 chances. Last week, Edmonton suffered a 27-13
setback versus Calgary, the team's fourth consecutive defeat following the one
and only time they managed to post back-to-back victories in 2013.
Outside of a seven-yard touchdown pass from Mike Reilly to Adarius Bowman in
the second quarter, the Eskimos offense made very little impact versus Calgary
at home. Reilly finished the contest 18-of-34 for 247 yards and a score, but
he was picked off once and suffered five sacks along the way. Somewhat
surprisingly, the quarterback was also the leading rusher for Edmonton with 43
yards on seven carries.
Receiver Fred Stamps stepped up to grab seven balls for a game-high 132 yards,
marking the sixth time this season he has gone over the 100-yard mark, but
still it did nothing to change the outcome. Stamps, who now has five straight
1,000-yard seasons under his belt, leads the league in receiving with 1,259
yards, one of only three players with more than 1,000 at the moment.
Stamps, who now needs just 143 yards to establish a new career high in that
department, may not have the most catches (68) in the league at this moment,
but his 11 majors are second among all receivers and has him tied for fourth
in the league overall.
While Reilly currently ranks third in the league in passing yards with 3,836
and is tied for third in passing scores with 22, his 16 interceptions and
penchant for leaving the pocket and trying to become a threat as a runner has
hampered the productivity of the Eskimos as a whole. One can only wonder what
the numbers would look like for the Stamps if Reilly wasn't the fifth-ranked
rusher in the CFL after 16 games with his 72 attempts for 624 yards. Perhaps
if the payoff were more advantageous for Reilly when he takes off running it
would make more sense, but with just one major on the ground it seems the
signal caller is running scared more often than not.
Even though DeMarco might not be the quarterback the Lions would prefer to
have in the cross hairs these days, the fact that Edmonton is tied for last in
the league when it comes to preventing completed passes should work in BC's
favor. At the moment, the Eskimos are permitting 66.1 percent of all pass
attempts against them to be completed. On the other side, the Lions have the
best pass defense in the league in terms of yards per game (243.8), which
means Reilly will probably by tucking the ball away and taking off even more
In terms of the all-time series between these two teams, the Esks own a
103-75-4 advantage when taking into consideration only regular-season bouts
dating back to 1954. The squads played back-to-back games during the first
month of the campaign, with both contests being won by the Lions, the first
being a 17-3 triumph in Edmonton and the other a 31-21 final at home.
British Columbia has not only won four straight in the relationship, it has
taken seven of the last eight and eight of the last 12 encounters as well.
With very little to play for on either side, other than personal
accomplishments, there's no telling how these teams will treat this game. It
might not be a bad idea for the Lions to rest some key players and get backups
some meaningful playing time, but no matter how they intend to handle it, the
bottom line is that they are still considered the favorite.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: British Columbia 30, Edmonton 22
10/23 11:05:32 ET
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