Friday Night Football takes fans to IG Field where the defending champs, Winnipeg Blue Bombers, take on the Toronto Argonauts. IG Field has been a fortress for the Blue Bombers of late, winning 12 of their last 13 games at home including last week’s 19-6 win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Toronto was able to pick up a rare victory in Calgary in Week 1 and will be looking for their first 2-0 start since 2015. Kickoff is set for 8:30 p.m. ET.
Saturday Night features a doubleheader. At 7:00 p.m. ET, the Montreal Alouettes kickoff their season when they travel west to take on the Edmonton Elks. Khari Jones will lead the Alouettes in his second season as coach and the team welcomes back William Stanback. Long-time Edmonton player, Almondo Sewell will play against his former team after nine seasons with the Green and Gold. The Elks are looking for their first win of the season after they fell a yard short of a victory in Week 1 and will look to avoid losing their first two homes games of the year.
To conclude Week 2, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats will play under the lights against the Saskatchewan Roughriders at 10 p.m. ET. Saskatchewan had a great opening half in their season opener and then hung on to defeat the visiting BC Lions. Hamilton will be looking for their first victory not only of the season, but also at new Mosaic Stadium.
BC at Calgary will be on TSN, RDS2, ESPN+, BT Sport 1 and Yare
Toronto at Winnipeg will be on TSN, RDS, ESPN+, BT Sport 2 and Yare
Montreal at Edmonton will be on TSN, RDS, ESPN+, BT Sport 1 and Yare
Hamilton at Saskatchewan will be on TSN, ESPNEWS, BT Sport 1 and Yare
All Four Winning Teams From Week 1:
- Had fewer turnovers than their opponents. Winning teams had a total of 3 giveaways and 11 takeaways (+8)
- Had better starting field position than their opponent.
- Oddly enough, made fewer big play, long-gainers.
- Winnipeg’s special team’s ace Mike Miller recorded two special teams tackles against Hamilton in Week 1. He is now three behind all-time leader Jason Arakgi (190).
- Avery Williams recorded 14 defensive tackles to lead all players in Week 1. That was good enough to tie the 5th most in a single game and the most in Ottawa football history (Bruce Holmes, 1989).
- Abdul Kanneh’s 102-yard pick six against Edmonton was the second-longest interception return in Ottawa Football history. Only trailing Gerald Vaughn’s 109-yard return in 2002.
BUCKING THE TREND:
- Normally, teams that give up fewer sacks win games more frequently. During Week 1 play, winning teams allowed 11 sacks, losing teams allowed only six.
- Calgary lost despite not giving up a sack in Week 1. In 2019 teams were 22-4 when allowing 0 sacks.
- There was some defensive dominance as the games averaged 39.5 points in the opening slate of games.
- Ottawa defied the odds in Week 1 as each of their 14 possessions resulted in a kick and they still won. Ottawa recorded 94 net yards in the game, the lowest by any winning team in CFL history. The previous record was held by Edmonton who defeated Calgary 10-8 in 1968 with 104 net yards.
- BC’s Nathan Rourke started his first game on Friday night against Saskatchewan. He joins five other Canadian quarterbacks to start Week 1. He follows the footsteps of Gerry Ducotte, Don Getty, Russ Jackson, Pete Ohler and most recently, Gerry Dattilio.
- Since 1970, ten Canadian quarterbacks have started a game: Eric Guthrie, Gerry Dattilio, Luc Tousignant, Greg Vavra, Bob Torrance, Giulio Caravatta, Larry Jusdanis, Brandon Bridge, Andrew Buckley and Nathan Rourke.
- Russ Jackson has won the most games as a Canadian quarterback with a career record of 85-47-5 (.620).
- The single-game passing record for a Canadian quarterback is 427 yards set by Gerry Dattilio on September 6, 1981. Dattilio also owns the Canadian passing records for passing TDs in a game (5) and completions in a game (31).
- Rourke threw 194 yards in the game against Saskatchewan, but he started off only 1/5 with an interception. After the slow start, he went 9/13 with two touchdown passes including a 75-yard major to Lucky Whitehead. The touchdown was the longest one for the BC Lions since Manny Arceneaux’s 82-yard major from Jonathon Jennings in 2015.
- When Rourke re-entered in the second half, he led a 75-yard BC touchdown drive to get within four points, going 4/6 and capping it off with a touchdown to Bryan Burnham.
- The average margin of victory in Week 1 was six points compared to the 12-point average in the last five seasons. 3 out of 4 games were decided in the last 3:00.
- 103 players made their CFL debut last week.
- Last year there were 14 TD passes of 75+ yards. Lucky Whitehead had one of them, giving him one on back-to-back years. Eugene Lewis did so in 2018 and 2019. In 2018 Duke Williams had two in one season.
- Montreal will open their season on Saturday against Edmonton. Since 2008, the Alouettes are 6-6 in season openers.
- Montreal started last year with a 3-2 run out of the gate, despite losing their first two games. The spark was the return of Vernon Adams Jr. who led the to three victories in a row. With Adams at quarterback in 2019 the Alouettes were 10-5. Without, 0-3.
- Top 20 passers – Micheal Reilly moved within 15 yards of Darian Durant who ranks 14th all-time. Reilly pushed his career passing yards total to 31,725. Calgary’s Bo Levi Mitchell passed Kerry Joseph into 18th all-time on the passing list (28,189).
- Toronto’s McLeod Bethel Thompson led all quarterbacks last season with nine games with 300+ yards in only 13 starts. He kicked off his campaign with 354 yards and two touchdown passes.
- The East Division won two of three interlocking games to take the series in 2021. Last year they only won 16 of 40 in such matchups. The last time the East won the series was in 2015.
- This week, Calgary faces the possibility of starting the season 0-2 for the first time since 2009. That year, though, they rebounded and finish 10-7-1.
- BC came close to posting the largest comeback in CFL history, trailing 31 points against Saskatchewan.
- In Week 1, penalties averaged only 16 per game - 10% fewer than in 2019.
- Brady Oliveira was the lone player to rush for more than 100 yards and did so in his first career start.
- In the Ottawa and Edmonton game, each team made a field goal from 50+ yards – a rarity in the CFL.
- There were only 14 turnovers in Week 1 but just one big kick play return.
- In a real quirk in the schedule, the same four teams are at home in Week 2 as they were in Week 1.