THIS WEEK IN THE CFL - WEEK 8
Thursday, August 11, 2016 — Week 8 in the Canadian Football League kicks off with the Alouettes traveling west to take on the Eskimos for a Thursday Night Football tilt. This game features the best passing team in the West Division versus the second-best pass defence in the league.
Friday Night Football will feature the surging Winnipeg Blue Bombers who are looking for their first three-game winning streak since 2014. Coming off a bye week, the Toronto Argonauts will play host to the Blue Bombers, hoping for a win to leapfrog the REDBLACKS into first in the East Division.
Week 8 concludes with a double-header, starting with a Week 7 rematch between the Calgary Stampeders and Saskatchewan Roughriders. At home this time in Mosaic Stadium, the Riders will try to reverse their fortunes from last week’s 35-15 defeat. To end the week, Hamilton visits the BC Lions. Ticat QB Zach Collaros is expected to make his first start since his injury last year.
- In 2016, teams will play the same opponent back-to-back eight times, the same amount as in 2015.
- The first return match of season happens this week when the Stampeders visit Saskatchewan after beating the Riders 35-15 last week in Calgary. Since 2007, there have been 71 such sets with the results being 34 splits (48%) and 37 sweeps (52%).
- The Stamps have not been swept in a back-to-back set since 2004 when they suffered consecutive losses to Edmonton. Calgary has had 9 sweeps and 15 splits since their consecutive losses to their Alberta rivals.
- Saskatchewan has only been swept once since 2009. They were swept last season versus the BC Lions. Other than that, they have had 5 sweeps for and 3 splits.
WEEK 7 TRENDS: SHORTER, CLEANER AND LESS REVIEWABLE
- Three of four games last week came in at two hours and 46 minutes or less.
- Last week’s games had just seven total challenges, the lowest for any week during the 2016 campaign.
- The red zone was far from hot last week. On 29 red zone trips last week, only 13 (45%) were converted into touchdowns.
- Teams chose to run on their first down 81 times last week and averaged 4.7 yards per attempt.
- Road teams went 1-3 last week but overall still own the season advantage, winning 17 times and adding a tie in 28 games this season.
- Three of four games recorded 19 or fewer penalties. That helped bring the average down to 19.7 penalties per game. Compared to the same point last season, penalties have dropped 24%.
WHAT WINNING TEAMS DO
- Win the turnover battle – The winners of the past 12 straight games were also the winners of the turnover battle. Winning teams in 2016 average 1.3 turnovers per game, while losing teams average 2.9 per game.
- Convert on 2nd down – Last week winning teams had 38 conversions on second down and losing teams had only 20 – a gap of 4.5 extra conversions per game. Overall, winning teams convert on second downs 52% of the time.
- Get off to a strong start – All teams that won the first quarter during Week 7 action ended up winning the game. Winning teams combined for 43 points and losing teams 15.
- Rush the ball – Winning teams this year average 90 rushing yards per game, while losing teams average 61 rushing yards per game. Teams who win have called a rushing play 33% of the time compared to 25% for the losing team.
- Protect the QB – Winning teams only allowed 1.8 sacks per game, while the losing team allows on average 3.1 per game.
- Win the time of possession battle – Winning teams have averaged 31:41 time of possession.
TWO IN THE 2000-YARD CLUB?
- In CFL history, only three players have reached the elusive plateau of 2,000 receiving yards in a single season: Allen Pitts, Terry Greer and Derrell Mitchell.
- Even Hal Patterson, who set the record of 147.2 receiving yards per game in 1956, didn’t accomplish the feat that year: he finished with 1,914 yards in only 13 games.
- This season the Edmonton Eskimos offence has two receivers who could reach the 2,000-yard mark: Adarius Bowman (682 yards) and Derel Walker (668 yards).
- Through six games, Bowman is on a more torrid pace than Pitts, Greer or Mitchell, while Walker has is off to a faster start than Pitts and Greer.
Season Totals Receiving yards through:
Player Year Tm GP Yards Per g Player 5 GP 6 GP 7 GP 8 GP 9 GP
Allen Pitts 1994 CGY 18 2,036 113.1 Pitts 1994 584 657 762 896 1,050
Terry Greer 1983 TOR 16 2,003 125.2 Greer 1983 541 647 877 1,080 1,323
Derrell Mitchell 1997 TOR 18 2,000 111.1 Mitchell 1997 604 675 757 927 1,007
Hal Patterson 1956 MTL 13 1,914 147.2 Patterson 1956 572 739 925 1,263 1,401
In 2016: Year Tm GP Yards Per g Pace 5 GP 6 GP 7 GP 8 GP 9 GP
Adarius Bowman 2016 EDM 6 682 113.7 2,046 586 682
Derel Walker 2016 EDM 6 668 111.3 2,004 642 668
- The high-powered Eskimos offence also boasts quarterback Mike Reilly, who is on pace for 6,543 passing yards, which would be good enough to place him second in league history. He would only trail Doug Flutie’s single-season record of 6,619 set in 1991.
- BC Lions pivot Jonathan Jennings has eclipsed the 300-yard passing mark in three straight games. If he can do it again at home against Hamilton this week, he will join Most Outstanding Players Dave Dickenson, Casey Printers and Doug Flutie as the only BC QBs to pass for 300+ yards in four consecutive games.
- This week, Edmonton kicker Sean Whyte will play in his 100th CFL game.
- BC’s Alex Bazzie leads the league with six sacks this year. He has notched a sack in each game this season. Bomber Jamaal Westerman has notched a sack in four of his last five games.
- Montreal’s leading receiver Duron Carter has three straight games of more than 100 receiving yards. The last Alouettes player to do that was Brandon London in 2012.
- Calgary’s kicker Rene Paredes started the season 4-of-8 in the kicking department. He has now hit 16 consecutive field goals.
- Hamilton Tiger-Cats receiver Andy Fantuz has recorded at least six receptions in every game except one.
- Leading rusher Jerome Messam is 15 yards away from joining the top 75 all-time rushers.
- Bo Levi Mitchell continued his TD passing streak against Saskatchewan last week. He’s tied for the fourth-longest streak in league history, with at least one touchdown pass in his past 21 games. Mitchell is also looking to extend his streak of games with more than 300 passing yards to six in Week 8.
Sam Etcheverry 1954-56 34 Doug Flutie 1996-97 21
Travis Lulay 2011-12 26 Anthony Calvillo 2012-13 21
Anthony Calvillo 2012-13 23 Bo Levi Mitchell 2015-16 21
- Edmonton faces Montreal this week. The season is still young, but if the playoffs were to start today, both teams would be on the outside looking in. It has been 35 years since Montreal and Edmonton did not make the playoffs in the same year (1971).
- Calgary missed a one-point convert last week, for the sixth game in a row.
- The Riders’ Greg Jones led all defenders with 13 tackles versus Calgary in Week 7, matching Montreal’s Bear Woods’ season-high across the CFL.
- Winnipeg quarterback Matt Nichols has now won his first two starts after taking over the starting role. The last time that happened in Winnipeg was when Kevin Glenn took over from Khari Jones in September 2004.
- Ian Wild added nine tackles to reach 54 this season and is on pace for 139 in a single season. That would be No. 2 all-time behind Solomon Elimimian’s 151 in 2014.