LIVESTREAM PPV: CFL – Toronto Argonauts @Calgary Stampeders, Friday, Sept. 28, 7p (9p ET, 3a CET)

CALGARY — The Toronto Argonauts and Calgary Stampeders both have something to play for on Friday night in Alberta — something very different.

At 10-2, the first-place Stamps can secure a playoff berth with a victory; at 3-9, the Argos are backed against the wall and running out of real estate with which to launch a late-season playoff bid.

Calgary is fresh off a bye, but still without some key pieces in its receiving corps: DaVaris Daniels remains sidelined long-term, Kamar Jorden‘s season is over due to a knee injury and Eric Rogers — initially rumoured to be returning this week — will spend another game on the injured reserve.

The Argos, meanwhile, had two opportunities to beat the Roughriders in Toronto last week, but a pair of Zack Medeiros missed field goals — from 36 and 51 yards, respectively — inside the final five minutes sent Marc Trestman’s team to a bitter 30-29 defeat.

The stakes are very different for the two teams, but both high; the Stamps have Saskatchewan surging up from behind in the medium-distance of their rear-view mirror, whereas Toronto is very nearly in do-or-die territory.

Last week’s loss was a case of could’ve, should’ve, would’ve for the Argos.

Had Zack Medeiros made either of his two field goal, they win the game. Had McLeod Bethel-Thompson’s fluttering pass for a wide-open S.J. Green with 15 seconds left not been overthrown, they win the game.

But Trestman’s team is in no mood for living in the past — not last week’s loss, nor the 41-7 defeat laid on them by Calgary back in Week 2.

“Our team knows this is a razor-thin league between the team with the best record and least record,” Trestman told Argonauts.ca. “We know if we go out and play physical, efficient, clean (and) smart football we’ll be in the game and have a chance to win.

“We respect our opponent, but know we’ve got a good enough football team to win.”

Running back-slash-return specialist Dexter McCluster will make his much-anticipated CFL debut on Friday night, though it remains to be seen if and how the staff will choose to utilize the former NFL Pro Bowler; McCluster was placed on the six-game injured list shortly after being signed by the Argos on July 16.

“He’s a true professional, a Pro Bowler down south, so he has the skills, that’s undoubtable,” said quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson. “What’s impressed me is how good a teammate he is. Dealt with the injury at the beginning, some people would go in the tank and make it about themselves, (but) he’s been showing great leadership.”

The standings situation is crystal clear to the Argos: Win to salvage any realistic chance of making the playoffs, or lose and potentially watch the gap grow to eight points back with just five games left.

“Our backs (are) against the wall,” said running back James Wilder Jr., who ranks fourth in the CFL in rush yards with 665. “It’s going to show what kind of team we are. It’s a great challenge.”

Shutting down Calgary’s versatile and talented offence will be a big test for the Argos, who gave up nearly 400 yards of offence to a Saskatchewan unit that has been amongst the league’s worst.

On the Stampeders side of the ball, a healthy Don Jackson is expected to take the majority of the reps at running back — a position where the team finally has all three options (Jackson, Romar Morris and Terry Williams) available to it.

“It’s going to be a fun day, that’s all I can say,” Jackson told Stampeders.com of the possibility of him and Morris splitting rushing duties. “Romar’s got the speed to kill them, his eyes are in the right place. I bring some fire, leadership qualities.”

When asked about any concerns for his own job while Morris tore it up in his injury absence, Jackson laughed.

“I can’t worry about that, that’s my brother, he’s supposed to tear it up. It’s fun to see. If you have a negative response to somebody having success, you’re in the wrong sport,” said Jackson. “If Romar has 25 touhdowns, I’m going to celebrate it like I scored 25 touchdowns.

With the aforementioned trio of receivers out of the lineup, Markeith Ambles will make his CFL debut at slotback. The Houston product has spent the season on the team’s practice roster.

“I’m feeling great, I’ve been preparing my butt off, doing extra studies, extra film work, getting ready to play a game and not practice,” said Ambles, who played two years with the Cougars after initial college stops at USC and Arizona Western. “(I’m) just a guy that’s going to bring some excitement, another wepaon on the offensive side of the ball.”

By The Numbers:

.902 –  Bo Levi Mitchell‘s career winning percentage at McMahon Stadium (37-4). His overall winning percentage is also impressive at .838 (66-12-2).

– TDs for Calgary running back Romar Morris in his last two games.

7.7 – Average allowed by Toronto in first-down situations, the most in the CFL. Calgary, in contrast, allows a league-low 5.5 per first down.

13 – League-low sacks generated by the Argos, who are on pace for just 19. That mark would stand as the second-fewest in CFL history.

A mismatch on paper, Friday’s contest could be tighter than some are predicting based on the desperation levels of the two teams.

In previous seasons, the Stamps have dropped second-half sitters after opening up a multi-game lead in the West Division.

Could this be one of those trap games?

The Argos have some weapons on offence — the dual threat of James Wilder Jr., the athleticism of Armanti Edwards and veteran S.J. Green, to name a few — but have consistently underperformed this season.

As a result, Trestman’s team is essentially in a must-win situation: Trailing by six points with six games left, the Argos need to help themselves before it’s too late.

The question is: Can they beat an incredibly talented Stamps team?

– With files from Argonauts.ca/Stampeders.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 – Toronto Argonauts @Calgary Stampeders, Friday, Sept. 28, 7p (9p ET, 3a CET)

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