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Argos Preparing For Round Two With The Riders

The Argos are coming off their best performance of the 2022 CFL season. A 30-24 victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders in last weekend’s Touchdown Atlantic. The Boatmen battled back late and delivered the final blows to knock down the Riders. But Saturday’s rematch in Saskatchewan should be a more daunting challenge for Double Blue as they try to prevail in Round Two on the road.

State Of The Argos Heading Into Week 7

What a difference one game makes. The vibe around the Argonauts feels much different than it did a week ago at this time.

Despite only being 2-2, Toronto looks like a legitimate contender, coming off two tightly contested games with the still undefeated Blue Bombers and Saskatchewan. Two of the very best teams from the West.

It’s hard not to be bullish on Toronto, considering that they are coming out of an East division that has struggled mightily in the early portion of the season, and things are tipping in the Boatmen’s favor.

This Thursday, In Week 7, the 1-4 Montreal Alouettes are headed to Ottawa to face the winless 0-5 Redblacks. Then the 1-4 Hamilton Tiger-Cats have a date with the 3-1 B.C. Lions in Vancouver.

Provided that both home teams hold serve. A scenario exists where the Argos could be headed into their Saturday night matchup with the Riders, with three Eastern teams below them at 1-5. Although, there is still a lot of football left to be played. The Argos are exceptionally positioned to create some early separation in the standings before they come home to BMO Field in Week 8 to face Ottawa.

EAST DIVISION STANDINGS

RKTEAMGPWLTPTSFAHOMEAWAYDIV
1 Toronto42204751102-1-00-1-01-0-0
2 Hamilton514021051411-2-00-2-01-0-0
3 Montreal514021341361-1-00-3-00-1-0
4 Ottawa50500961250-2-00-3-00-1-0

However, a Toronto victory in Saskatchewan is easier said than done. It’s one of the most challenging places for road teams to conquer. Mosaic Stadium has been a house of horrors for the Boatmen over the years. The last Argos victory in Regina took place in 2016. The Riders will undoubtedly be fired up this weekend, looking to make adjustments after their first meeting with the Argonauts. On top of that, it’s a must-win for Saskatchewan, who needs to keep pace with their Western rivals.

The oddsmakers still have the 4-2 Riders as rightful favorites at home this Saturday. Saskatchewan is ranging anywhere from 3 to 6-point favorites, depending on which sportsbook you rely upon. But some of the experts are starting to slowly climb back onto the Argos bandwagon.

Perhaps the renewed faith for Toronto is a bit premature. However, there are some legitimate concerns with Saskatchewan heading into Week 7.

Roughriders’ star quarterback Cody Fajardo is battling through a knee injury. There’s doubt about his availability coming into this weekend. The battle-tested Fajardo is a warrior. But if he can’t go, the inexperienced Mason Fine would be in line to start in his place.

The dog days of summer might be catching up to Saskatchewan. After all, they haven’t had a bye week yet this season. The injuries are piling up, and now there are COVID issues surrounding the team to start their week of preparation. (More on that momentarily).

In some respects, because the Argos took round one against the Riders. Round 2 is a bit of a house money game for the Boatmen, and Toronto’s position in the standings gives them room for error against a non-divisional opponent. However, the Argonauts have a prime opportunity to create genuine momentum if they can continue to ride their current wave of success.

Tuesday News And Notes

The Argonauts were back practicing at Lamport Stadium on Tuesday morning. The team released its first practice/injury report of the week. The most notable news is that Standout RG Darius Bladek was missing from practice due to an ankle injury suffered at TD Atlantic. Rookie Gregor MacKellar would be in line to make his first-ever CFL start on Saturday if Bladek can’t recover in time.

TORONTO ARGONAUTSPRACTICE DAY
Player NamePositionInjuryTUEWEDTHUGame Status
Sam AcheampongDLHealthy ScratchFull
Dariusz BladekOLAnkleDNP
Theren ChurchillOLHealthy ScratchFull
Fabion FooteDLTricepDNP
Josh HagertyDBHamstringLimited
Benoit MarionDLHipLimited
Eli MencerLBHeadDNP
Jachai PoliteDLShoulderFull
Eric SuttonDBNot Injury RelatedFull

But the news of the day for the TDA rematch was that the Roughriders were unable to practice on Tuesday. Due to a COVID outbreak on the team. Several members of the Saskatchewan Roughriders and their support staff recently tested positive for COVID-19, the team announced on Monday.

A statement from the team says all players, coaches, and staff will undergo mandatory testing for the next several days because they traveled together across the country. The team did not specify who had tested positive.

The Roughriders say they are working with the league’s medical committee and following all COVID-19 policies and procedures set by the CFL. 

Saskatchewan expects to resume all on-field activities on Wednesday. But it’s a less than ideal way for the Riders coming off a loss. The silver lining is that the Roughriders will be playing at home against an opponent they just tangled with last week.

Tangle is the keyword in the Toronto-Saskatchewan rematch. Things got ugly between the Riders and Argos last Saturday in beautiful Nova Scotia. The CFL has yet to dole out any rulings or fines for the actions of WR Duke Williams or DB Shaq Richardson, who had severe issues before and during TD Atlantic.

It’s the second week in a row where a potential disciplinary action hovered over a Roughriders’ player. The league is still reviewing the situation. So it remains to be seen if the CFL will weigh down on Duke Williams for nearly striking a player with a helmet and allegedly spitting on that opponent repeatedly.

Even if suspensions and fines are not doled out before Saturday’s game, the officiating crew for the TDA rematch will need to be on high alert for a repeat of last week’s antics. It’s one of the many storylines heading into Round Two between Toronto and Saskatchewan.

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