TORONTO — The well rested Toronto Argonauts play host to a Calgary Stampeders team desperate for a win on Friday night.
The Argonauts come into the contest off their third bye of the season, while the Stampeders lost their second in a row by the slimmest of margins when they fell 19-18 to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
With an extra week to prepare, the Argos should be eager to enact a little revenge from their 20-9 loss to the Stamps back in Week 9, a defeat that stands as their only of the season.
It’ll likely be a battle of the running games and that will certainly be the focus for Argos head coach Ryan Dinwiddie after watching Dedrick Mills rush for 137 yards in their last meeting.
Allowing just 80 rushing yards against per game, the Argos front led by Dewayne Hendrix and Shawn Oakman will try to limit an encore performance.
In the Argos run game, it’s been a combined effort. AJ Ouellette has 549 yards, quarterback Chad Kelly has five rushing touchdowns and Andrew Harris can never be slept on.
Linebacker Micah Awe and defensive lineman Mike Rose, who has seven sacks, lead a front coming off four quarterback takedowns against Winnipeg.
Defensive lineman Isaac Adeyemi-Berglund, Julian Howsare, Derek Wiggan and defensive back Titus Wall all enter the game off a sack of their own against the Bombers.
The Argos offensive prowess doesn’t end on the ground as they’ve accumulated 263 yards per game in the air, which is good for fourth best.
Kelly eclipsed the 2,000-yard passing mark in his Week 10 performance and has 13 touchdowns compared to five interceptions. Receiver Cam Phillips had 94 yards against the Stamps secondary when he saw them last.
It’s a secondary that’s been efficient at limiting yards downfield, giving up 251.5 yards per game. Defensive backs Tre Roberson, Kobe Williams and Michael Griffin are tasked with holding things down as the front tries to apply pressure on Kelly and the Argos talented rushers.
Opposing Kelly is Jake Maier, who head coach Craig Dickenson continues to search for consistency from after he threw for 11 completions and 190 yards but failed to find the end zone against Winnipeg. Facing a familiar defence could help, especially given Maier completed 22 of 24 passes against them last time.
Receiver Marken Michel has the ability to make big plays and Reggie Begelton is a proven target. The more options Maier has, the better, as the Stamps try to diversify their offence.
Michel says their most recent loss was tough but it shows they’re close to putting it all together, something they’ll try to do against a team they’ve already beat.
“Honestly, it’s just staying together,” Michel told reporters.
The Argos secondary brings 14 picks into the game, a number that is second best in the CFL. Defensive back Robertson Daniel had 16 defensive tackles in Week 9 and linebacker Jack Cassar recovered a fumble. Collectively however, they’ve coughed up 296.4 yards per game in the air, opening the door for Maier and his receivers.
It’s a familiar message coming from Dickenson ahead of this week’s matchup.
The margin for error is thin in the East Division as Toronto is barely edging out Montreal for the top spot.
The Stamps look to get back on track against an Argos team they’ve already found success against once this season.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET from BMO Field. This game is available to International and U.S. audiences on CFL+. Canadian viewers can watch on TSN/RDS.