Hamilton: 3-6; fourth in the West Division
THE WEEK BEFORE
The Riders lost their ninth game in a row as they were embarrassed by the Ottawa REDBLACKS 35-13.
The Blue Bombers didn’t fare much better, getting shellacked by the Calgary Stampeders by a score of 36-8.
The Riders continue to lead the CFL in a number of offensive categories, such as average rushing yards per game, net offence per game, and are second in a number of others. Good thing they got that big head start at the beginning of the season. The Bombers are at the opposite end of the spectrum.
In terms of defence, though, these teams are pretty even, as both of their defences are pretty terrible.
Coaching Changes: In their first game replacement coaches have gone 26-31 (.456). This week’s change by Saskatchewan is the 9th in-season head coaching change in the CFL since 2006 and the first with more than one in a year since 2008.
Roughriders: Are making their 5th mid-season change since 1956. They have won their next game after the coaching change on 3 out of the previous 4 occasions (2011, 1991 & 1978). It is the first time they have installed a first-time coach since 1983. In the previous four years after their changes the Roughriders have gone – 1978: 4-5-1, 1983: 4-6, 1991: 5-6 & 2011: 4-6.
Close games in 2015: 18 of 40 games have been 1-4 point contests (45%) compared to 18 all of last season. The Roughriders lost another close one two weeks ago by 34-31 at home to Calgary. That loss put them still three short of the all-time record on nine 1-4 points losses in a season set by Winnipeg in 2010.
After the firing of Corey Chamblin and Brendan Taman, Bob Dyce looks to lead the Riders to their first win of the season, and they’ll be in front of a sold out crowd at Taylor Field. Well done, Rider Nation.
The Bombers’ offence has really struggled since Drew Willy went down with a probable season-ending injury. Brian Brohm gets another shot at the starting quarterback position, but if he doesn’t play well, Matt Nichols is waiting in the wings.
Quarterbacks: On one side is Brett Smith, who’s started a whole what, 4 games? On the other side is Brian Brohm, who’s started even fewer games than Smith. But in limited action, Smith has showed some promise, while Brohm has showed that he has a lot in common with Tino Sunseri. Edge: Riders
Offensive Lines: The Riders’ offensive line is pretty banged up, and after Dan Clark went down last week, it struggled. The Bombers’ offensive line just isn’t very good at all. Edge: Riders
Receivers: Weston Dressler should be back for the Riders this week, but Chris Getzlaf remains unavailable. Honestly, the Riders’ receivers ain’t the problem. As for the Bombers, I can only think of Clarence Denmark, which isn’t good. Edge: Riders
Running Backs: Jerome Messam and Anthony Allen will be reunited after Allen was inexplicably benched, even though his yards per carry average is something like 6.5 yards. I think Paris Cotton is the Bombers’ running back, but I don’t really know. Again, this is a problem. Edge: Riders
Defensive Lines: Where’s Terrarius George been all year? Alex Hall has played better over the last couple of games, but John Chick isn’t exactly lighting it up at the other end of the line. Again, no idea who’s on the Bombers’ line, but since the Bombers have 3 wins and the Riders have none, let’s give the Bombers the edge. Edge: Bombers
Linebackers and Secondaries: The Riders’ linebackers haven’t been very good this year, and their secondary has been even worse. As for the Bombers, well, they’re not much better. Even
Special Teams: The Riders’ special teams have hit a new level over the past couple of weeks with a few blocked punts returned for TDs. Both teams have solid kicking, but Riders’s cover teams have been so solid all year, unlike everything else. Edge: Riders
Intangibles: Taylor Field will be sold out, so that will be tough for Brohm to operate in. The Riders will also likely have an extra spring in their step given the coaching changes. Then again, no one is expecting much from the Bombers, so really, who knows what might happen in this battle of the cellar dwellers.