CFL Preview - Toronto (3-5) at Edmonton (6-1)
From The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, CFL Editor
DATE & TIME: Saturday, August 23, 4 p.m. (ET).
GAME NOTES: Despite being two games under .500, the Toronto Argonauts still
find themselves all alone in first place in the East Division standings as
they prepare to meet the Edmonton Eskimos on Saturday afternoon at
Toronto won just once through the first five games of the 2014 campaign,
surprising Saskatchewan in a 48-15 decision at home in Week 2, but has
benefited from being in a very weak division that has three teams all tied for
second place with records of 1-6.
Last week, the Argos were put to the test by playing two games in a span of
five days, a wrinkle in the schedule brought on by the addition of the Ottawa
RedBlacks this season. The team came out on top against Winnipeg on August 12
by a score of 38-21, but then bowed to British Columbia a few days later,
During the meeting with the Blue Bombers, Toronto was able to get beyond a
disturbing 17 penalties, amounting to 122 lost yards, as quarterback Ricky Ray
threw for 297 yards and four touchdowns. Ray, who was sacked only once, tossed
one of those majors to Curtis Steele, the running back who also stepped up to
provide 92 yards and a score on 10 rushing attempts.
Getting the message that their mistakes were becoming too much of an obstacle,
the Argos were charged with only three penalties for 23 yards versus the
Lions, yet still the hosts suffered the 16-point loss.
Ray ended up 23-of-39 for 181 yards and a score, but was sacked twice and
tossed a couple of interceptions, one of which was returned 31 yards for a
touchdown late in the fourth quarter by Ronnie Yell.
As for Edmonton, the former home of Ray, it is tied with Calgary for first
place in the West Division, but unlike Toronto, the Eskimos have an impressive
6-1 record, a perfect 4-0 on the road.
However, as impressive as the Esks have been in the early going, they looked
to be out of sync during Week 8 action at Ottawa where they barely pulled out
a 10-8 victory over the league's newest member. Edmonton kicker Grant Shaw was
responsible for all of the points on the board, his 27-yard field goal in the
final minute of regulation putting his team over the top.
Shaw, who is now tied for the league lead in kicking points with Paul McCallum
of BC with 79, converted 3-of-4 field goals and added a single in the second
frame of the meeting.
Edmonton quarterback Mike Reilly managed to convert 26-of-35 passes for 271
yards, but was picked off once and sacked three times. He also ran for a game-
high 78 yards on eight carries, but he and the rest of the Esks were still
held back by 14 penalties amounting to a loss of 133 yards.
Reilly is currently listed seventh on the CFL's rushing list with 320 yards,
which might not be the best thing for the Eskimos given how valuable he is as
the team's passer. He has completed close to 66 percent of his pass attempts
for 1,619 yards and 11 touchdowns, but due to six interceptions Reilly has an
efficiency rating of 91.6 at the moment.
Further up the list is Ray with his 96.5 efficiency rating stemming from a
league-best 2,165 yards and 13 majors through the air. After last week's
action, Ray now has six interceptions as he continues to operate without Chad
Owens and Andre Durie, both of whom have been on the six-game injured list.
Now in his 12th CFL campaign, Ray is closing in on joining an elite group that
has thrown for at least 50,000 yards. Ray now needs just 369 yards to reach
the plateau and join the likes of Anthony Calvillo (79,816 yards), Damon Allen
(72,371), Danny McManus (53,255), Henry Burris (53,160) and Ron Lancaster
(50,353) in the exclusive club.
In terms of an all-time series between these two clubs, one that takes into
account only regular-season battles dating back to 1961, Edmonton still clings
to a 45-40-1 edge over the Argos. However, Toronto won the latest matchup last
September by a score of 34-22 in Edmonton. Still, the Esks have taken five of
the last seven meetings and eight of the last 12 overall.
The teams are set to play each other once more during the regular season
during Week 15.
Toronto is showing signs of life in an otherwise dead division, but after
playing two games last week the team has to be tired and that leaves Edmonton
the perfect opportunity to pounce.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Edmonton 28, Toronto 19
08/20 11:05:35 ET
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