Most people will tell you that the 2017 Grey Cup between the Calgary Stampeders and the Toronto Argonauts will not even be competitive; I say don’t believe them. I think this game is very much up in the air. Of course, the Stampeders have to be considered the favorite, but I can see where this will be a tight hard-fought battle. No. 1: When Ricky Ray is your quarterback, you have a shot but to me there are several other factors leading me to believe this will be a very good game. Let’s look at the keys to the game.
In their two previous meetings this season, Calgary outscored the Argos, 64-31, rolling up 815 total yards and causing tremendous problems on kick returns. The Stamps’ defenders held legendary QB Ricky Ray to well under 300 yards passing both times: 139 in Week 7 when they chased him out of the game with an injury, and 220 in week 10. Ray was over 300 on 13 other occasions in what was his second-best season of a 13-year career. A ferocious Calgary front seven (now back to healthy here in November) held the Argos to 18 yards rushing at Toronto, completely dominating from beginning to end. So when you look at the past two games these two teams played you can see why for most the outcome of this game is a foregone conclusion.
Since the Argos last loss to Calgary, they are 6-2, beating Saskatchewan, Edmonton, Winnipeg and B.C. along the way. James Wilder Jr. emergence had a lot to do with that, and Wilder gives the Argos an added dimension on offense that they didn’t have the last time they faced the Stamps.
The Toronto receiving corps is now healthy, with S.J. Green (1,462 yards) but also youngsters such as Armanti Edwards (962), DeVier Posey (744), and Anthony Coombs. So once again they did not have these weapons the last time they faced the Stamps. In essence, the Argos offense is very different from the one that got shut down twice against Calgary earlier in the season.
This game matches possibly the best offensive line in the CFL (Calgary) against the best pass rush (Toronto) and, in my opinion, for the Argonuats to win this game they have to pressure Mitchell and hit him all day. The kicker comes with while pressuring Mitchell they also have to slow down the running of Jerome Messam; this is where the problem comes in for the Argonauts as it will be very hard to do both.
Wilder is the wild card in this game: IF he has a big game then a big game from Ricky Ray will inevitably follow and then the Argos will be in business; if not Calgary wins handily.
Outcome: I think the Argos will stay close the whole game by pressuring Mitchell. I think in the end they will come up short because of a tremendous performance by running back Jerome Messam.
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