TORONTO — The Roughriders and Lions reach a decisive point in their season, while everyone’s talking about a potential Grey Cup preview as the Ticats and Bombers square off in a battle of division leaders.
It’s Week 7 in the Canadian Football League and it all kicks off with the Calgary Stampeders visiting the Ottawa REDBLACKS at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday. Ottawa opened the season with a 32-28 win in Calgary and will be looking to snap a three-game skid. The Stampeders enter the game 3-2 and are hoping to build off a Week 6 victory over the Argonauts.
The scene shifts to Edmonton at 9:30 p.m. ET with Toronto in town. The 0-5 Argonauts are closing-out a three-game stretch through Manitoba and Alberta. Edmonton looks to bounce back after last week’s 20-10 setback in Montreal. Emily Reid will be taking the stage at halftime as part of the Thursday Night Football Concert Series.
Friday Night Football features a heavyweight tilt of division leaders with the Winnipeg taking on Hamilton at Tim Hortons Field at 7 p.m. ET. The teams combine for a 9-1 record, with the lone loss coming in Week 4 as the Tiger-Cats fell to the Alouettes. The contest marks only the sixth time since 1958 that two teams, which have each played a minimum of five games, are entering a matchup with a single loss between them.
To round out the week, the Saskatchewan Roughriders will travel to BC Place to complete the back end of a home-and-home series on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET. Last week, Saskatchewan came out on top with a 38-25 victory. BC is looking for its first home victory and have announced a $100,000-minimum 50/50 guaranteed jackpot at the game.
Friday’s game between Winnipeg/Hamilton will be TSN’s Live Mic game.
CLASH OF DIVISION LEADERS
- Winnipeg (5-0) takes on Hamilton (4-1) in a game between the top squads in each division.
- Since 1958, five matchups have featured teams which have played at least five games each, while combining for only 1 loss.
- 9, 2013. Calgary (4-1) vs. SSK (5-0) (42-27 CGY)
QBs: Kevin Glenn vs. Darian Durant
- Aug 5, 2011. Winnipeg (4-1) vs. Edmonton (5-0) (28-16 WPG)
QBs: Buck Pierce vs. Ricky Ray
- 5, 2005. BC (5-0) vs. EDM (5-1) (25-19 BC)
QBs: Casey Printers vs. Ricky Ray
- 2, 2002. Montreal (5-0) vs. EDM (4-1) (37-14 MTL)
QBs: Anthony Calvillo vs. Ricky Ray
- 6, 1995. Calgary (5-0) vs. Baltimore (5-1) (29-15 CGY)
QBs: Doug Flutie vs. Tracy Ham
- 9, 2013. Calgary (4-1) vs. SSK (5-0) (42-27 CGY)
- Hamilton and Winnipeg are the league’s two highest-scoring teams at 37.4 points per game and 33.8 points per game, respectively
- They are tied in points-scored on offence with 157 and each has tallied 21 touchdowns
- They top the league in points-allowed: Blue Bombers at 16.0 points per game; Hamilton at 20.0 points per game
QBS ON THE RECEIVING END
- Montreal’s Vernon Adams Jr. caught a 21-yard TD pass from Eugene Lewis last Saturday.
- It was Lewis’ second-career TD pass; his first came in 2018 after finding George Johnson for a 61-yard score.
- Lewis is now a perfect 3/3 for 104 yards and two touchdown passes.
- The last time a QB caught a TD pass was on October 8, 2016 with Winnipeg’s Matt Nichols on the receiving end of a 4-yard pass from Rory Kholert versus BC. The Bombers went on to win the game 37-35.
- Winnipeg’s Darvin Adams has had a knack for slinging the football in the past few years. He is 3/3 for 80 yards and a touchdown pass.
- The only other active non-QB with a TD pass is Saskatchewan’s Emmanuel Arceneaux. On October 4, 2014, as a member of the Lions, he threw a 17-yard TD pass to Shawn Gore.
- Winnipeg is aiming to start 6-0 for the first time since 1960. Since 2000, only seven teams have managed the feat. Their results at the end of the year:
- 2018: CGY 13-5 (Best record in the CFL, Won GC)
- 2017: EDM 12-6 (Third in the West)
- 2008: SSK 12-6 (Second in the West)
- 2006: MTL 10-8 (First in the East)
- 2005: BC 12-6 (Best record in the CFL)
- 2004: MTL 14-4 (Best record in the CFL)
- 2002: MTL 13-5 (Best record in the CFL, Won GC)
- There have been 14 starts of 6-0 or better since 1958. Only four of those clubs went on to finish with the CFL’s best overall record at year-end.
- Saskatchewan’s Charleston Hughes now has 31 multiple-sack games. He is also on track to become the oldest sack leader in CFL history, a distinction currently held by Elfrid Payton, who set the mark in 2002 at the age of 35.
- Toronto’s SJ Green has 9,422 career receiving yards. He needs eight yards to eclipse Adarius Bowman (9,429) at No. 26 and 52 yards to pass Hall of Famer Hal Patterson (9,473) for 25th all-time.
- Winnipeg has not fallen behind in a game since midway through the third quarter in Week 1, and they have spent a total of 9:24 trailing an opponent this season. The team currently owns a streak of four wire-to-wire wins-in-a-row; the club record is five, set in 1981.
- Calgary is looking to avoid a two-game losing skid on the road. The last time they lost two straight away from McMahon was in 2015 – a span covering 36 road games.
- Ottawa is seeking a season sweep of the Stampeders after winning their first encounter in Week 1. The last East Division team to sweep Calgary in a season series was Toronto in 2012.
- The Argonauts did not record a sack in either of their first two games of the season, however they have tallied eight in their last three matches.
- Toronto is looking to avoid an 0-6 start – a mark which would match how they opened the 1981 campaign; that year, they went on to start 0-11.
- Matt Nichols has completed 10 passes for 20+ yards downfield this season, seven of which have gone for TDs.
- Calgary’s Brandon Smith returned last week following a two-game absence. The team holds a record of 122-38-1 (.762 win %) with him in the lineup.
- BC Lions QB Mike Reilly has been sacked 21 times this season; on the opposite end of the spectrum, Edmonton Eskimos QB Trevor Harris has only been sacked once.
- Roughriders receiver Shaq Evans is averaging 20.4 yards per reception to lead the league. Sitting second is Armanti Edwards with an average of 18.6 (among those on the Top 10 in receiving yards).
- Evans also leads the league with three 100+ yard games this season.
- Trevor Harris is making his 65th career start. He is 34-28-2 (.547 win %) and is 2-3 versus Toronto.
- Toronto’s James Wilder Jr. tops the league with 233 yards after the catch this season.
- Hamilton’s Brandon Banks leads the league with six TDs this season (3 REC, 1 RUSH, 2 KR), and his career-high is 11 (accomplished twice: 2017, 2018). He is on pace for 21 TDs, which would land him tied for third on the single-season list. Milt Stegall holds the record with 23, established in 2002.
- Montreal’s Patrick Levels leads the league with 36 defensive tackles, followed by Calgary’s Cory Greenwood(34) and BC’s Jordan Herdman-Reed (32). Greenwood and Herdman-Reed are both Canadian.
- Greenwood is on pace for 122 tackles which would be one shy of Alex Singleton’s club record, established last year. At this point in 2018, Singleton had 28 tackles.
- Despite being 1-5, the BC Lions have recorded the most first downs this season (130).
- This season, teams that trail at the half are 5-15; team trailing after the third are 2-19.
- Saskatchewan’s Solomon Elimimian (757) is 10 defensive tackles away from surpassing Greg Battle (766) for 7th on the all-time list.