LIVESTREAM PPV: CFL – Calgary Stampeders @Saskatchewan Roughriders, July 28, 7p (9p EST, 3a July 29 CEST)

REGINA — The Saskatchewan Roughriders will host the Calgary Stampeders on Saturday night in a statement game for both teams at Mosaic Stadium.

At 3-2, the Riders have looked as good as anybody — other than the historically-great Stamps — on the defensive side of the ball; as things stand, Chris Jones’s team will believe it has every chance of working its way into a home playoff game.

Tonight they will host a 5-0 Calgary team which hasn’t tipped its hand yet in 2018 in terms of a weakness. Dave Dickenson’s bunch is strong across the board, with the offence averaging 29 points per game and the defence allowing under 10.

But Regina is a difficult place to go into and win, and Saskatchewan is surging. Could Week 7 mark the official return of Riderville?

It’s business as usual for the Stampeders in Calgary.

The organization has reached a point where five straight regular-season wins, and a significant lead atop the West Division, is merely the status quo.

You can hear it in Coach Dickenson’s interviews, and it was clearly audible in Bo Levi Mitchell‘s voice as he lamented the offence’s performance in a comfortable 25-8 win over Montreal last week: The Stamps have one goal in mind.

Getting to the Grey Cup seems like a foregone conclusion; getting over the hump is what matters, and Calgary’s first West Division test comes Saturday night on the prairies.

“It’s the first of many West opponents,” receiver Eric Rogers told Stampeders.com. “It’s good to keep stacking those wins, even if it’s early. Communication (is key), recognizing their blitzes. They’re going to pay a lot of man, zone, and we have to find a way to move down the field and put some points on the board.”

Calgary left tackle Derek Dennis knows the intensity between the two ball clubs well: the CFL’s 2016 Most Outstanding Lineman has suited up on both sides of the rivalry.

“From being over on the other side, I know they don’t like us very much,” said Dennis. “It’s going to be a battle, locker room(s) full of athletes that love the game of football. It’s a big rivalry game.

“We’ve got to control the box. They have a great D-line, a lot of athleticism on their defence. A lot of guys that run 4.4s and 4.5s, and their measurables are out the gym — that’s Jones, that’s how he builds his defence.”

The Stamps will be without the services of Cordarro Law, who hits the one-game injured list this week; James Vaughters will take over his spot at D-end, with rookie Folarin Orimolade entering the lineup as depth at the same position.

Bo Levi Mitchell’s knee is getting better by all accounts, meaning the Calgary pivot should be a bit more mobile than he was last week against Montreal.

Then again, if the Stampeder defence continues the trend of allowing less than 10 points a night, Mitchell’s mobility may not matter.

On the flip side of the matchup, the Saskatchewan Roughriders have found their identity.

As if there was any doubt, the Riders cemented themselves as a smash-mouth, defence-wins-championships type of football team with hard-nosed wins over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in their last two outings.

Now, facing the best team in the CFL, Chris Jones and his staff understand the margin for error is negligible.

“You can’t get behind against this football team,” Jones told Riderville.com. “Last week, we got down 10 and we were fortunate to dig ourselves out of that hole, so that’s the kind of thing we’ve got to try and avoid.”

While Brandon Bridge may not be lighting up the stat sheet under centre, his efficient 165-yard performance was enough to secure a win against the Ticats last week; the 26-year-old Canadian will make his sixth career start on Saturday against Calgary.

“We know for sure coming off the break that turnover ratio’s a critical number for us,” said Jones when asked of his quarterback’s progression. “To be successful, we’ve got to be plus-one. We can’t come out of this game at minus-1 or minus-2, or we won’t win the football game.”

Just as Calgary’s stressing the importance of a fast start, so too are Bridge and the Riders.

“If we can come out swinging, get ahead a couple points and (have) them playing catchup, it’ll be good for us,” said Bridge. “(Being at home) is definitely huge. If we can get the crowd in it, being loud, and force some pre-snap penalties on their end, get in their head and have them hopefully play catchup…”

Bridge has now gone two games without throwing an interception after giving up three in his first two contests; the South Alabama product completed 80 per cent (28-for-35) of his passes in the two games against Hamilton, compared to 53 per cent (21-for-40) in his first two starts.

‘Air Canada’ will have to be at his best against a Calgary defence that’s put up video-game numbers thus far in 2018.

“They have guys who make a lot of plays, a great linebacker core with (Jameer) Thurman and (Alex) Singleton,” explained Bridge. “It’s a very strong defence with a lot of veterans that have been together for a long time. They know the scheme and what they want to do.

With a team that doesn’t make a lot of mistakes, very disciplined and well-coached, you can’t have too many mistakes because they will capitalize. Main goal is to secure the football and extend drives.”

Crunchin’ Numbers:

9.2 – Points allowed-per-game by the Calgary defence — the best mark in CFL history. The best full-season mark belongs to the 1964 BC Lions defence, which allowed just 10.5 per-game.

44 – Per cent of Riders offensive plays are runs, up from 32 per cent in 2017. This is in-line with league-wide trends, as teams have called run plays 38 per cent of the time in 2018 versus 31 per cent in 2017.

90.6 – League-leading QB rating for Stamps QB Bo Levi Mitchell, who also leads the league in touchdown passes (9) and TD-INT ratio (3:1).

359 – Punt-return yards for Saskatchewan’s Christion Jones, who is on pace for a team-record 1,292 for the season. That would rank him second in CFL history behind Gizmo Williams, who racked up 1,440 in 1991.

This is a good, old-fashioned western rivalry with two of the best fanbases in the CFL.

The Riders will put on a show at Mosaic — they always do — and you can bet the stadium will be loud.

But how will Brandon Bridge and the Saskatchewan offence fare against the league’s best defence?

Will Bo Levi and the Stampeder offence elevate their game after a self-labeled mediocre performance against Montreal?

Find out on Saturday night in Regina.

– With files from the Stampeders.com/Riderville.com.

AFI, Yare Media and the CFL

American Football International is collaborating with Yare Media and the Canadian Football League to present 2018 CFL games live. This is more than a livestream. This is a stream of the top flight TSN network television broadcast.

LIVE STREAM PPV: CFL –Calgary Stampeders @Saskatchewan Roughriders, July 28, 7p (9p EST, 3a July 29 CEST)

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