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CFL: Calgary Stampeders (3-7) @ Toronto Argonauts (7-1) Week 12 Preview/Prediction

Ryan Dinwiddie’s Toronto Argonauts are 16-4 in their last 20 games. Three of those losses have come against their Week 12 opponent, the Calgary Stampeders, which includes the defending Grey Cup Champs, lone blemish this season, a 20-7 loss to the Stamps three weeks ago.

CFL Week 12: Calgary Stampeders (3-7) @ Toronto Argonauts (7-1) Preview

Game Details

  • Date/Location: Friday, August 25, at BMO Field, Toronto, Ontario.
  • Kickoff Time: 7:30 PM ET
  • Channel: TSN (Canada), CFL+ (International)
  • Odds: Spread: Argonauts -10, Over/Under: 51

On paper, a 3-7 team traveling east to face a 7-1 team fully rested off a bye week seems like a mismatch.

The oddsmakers have acted accordingly, listing the Argos as ten-point home favorites Friday night at BMO Field. However, it’s Dave Dickenson’s squad that has had Ryan Dinwiddie and his staff’s number in their last three head-to-head meetings.

Dating back to last August, the Argonauts have won sixteen of their last twenty games. A run that took the Boatmen to their 18th Grey Cup championship and now a 7-1 start in 2023. Of their four losses during the Argos’ current run of success. One came at the end of last season against Montreal, in a game where both teams rested their starters before the playoffs.

The other three losses of genuine consequence for Toronto? All courtesy of the Calgary Stampeders. A 22-19 defeat at BMO Field last season and two losses on the road, A 29-2 drubbing in 2022, and a 20-7 defeat three weeks ago.

Knowledge is power.

Dave Dickenson, Brent Munson, and the Calgary staff have won the chess match against Ryan Dinwiddie, Corey Mace, and company. It’s not just Calgary’s knowledge of their former staff members that plays a factor in this familiar foe matchup. It’s also the Stamps’ knowledge of their former players who are in Double Blue that plays a factor.

Can Calgary’s brain trust continue to one-up their former colleagues and players on Friday night?

Week 12 Calgary Stampeders Depth Chart/Injury Report

Stampeders superstar running back Ka’Deem Carey (quad) returned last week to Calgary’s lineup but is back on the shelf after practicing in a limited capacity. He has been ruled out for Friday’s game in Toronto.

Also out for Calgary are starting left tackle Bryce Bell (foot) and DB Julian Charles (shoulder/knee).

The former could play a significant factor in Friday’s game. Bell is being replaced by the talented but inexperienced D’Antne Demery on the blindside.

Receiver Tommylee Lewis (wrist) was listed as questionable for this week’s game. The talented kick-returner will sit this one out.

Week 12 Toronto Argonauts Depth Chart/Injury Report

The Argos finally get wide receiver Damonte Coxie back in their lineup after he had missed Toronto’s last three games with an ankle injury. He is listed as a backup to Dejon Brissett on the outside at receiver. But his inclusion could be a big help to Toronto’s downfield passing game. David Ungerer, who was limited during the week, is also in the lineup at WR.

Punter John Haggerty (knee) did not practice all week and was listed as questionable for the contest, is a game-time decision for Toronto.

With their All-Star global specialist potentially out of the lineup. The Double Blue runs into a dilemma from a roster construction and game management standpoint. Boris Bede has the versatility to handle punting. But holding on extra points and field goals could be problematic. Toronto does have global kicker Alfred Gachuz on their practice roster as an option. It will be interesting to see how the Argonauts handle this situation. Mickey Donovan could opt to dress Haggerty for holding purposes alone, with Bede handling all the kicking chores.

Keys To A Victory For Calgary

The ultimate key to the Stamps’ recent success against Toronto goes beyond the intel and familiarity Calgary’s staff has with Toronto and its players. In the last three games between these familiar foes, the Stampeders have outmuscled the Argos on both sides of the ball.

On offence, the Stamps, in their latest triumph over the Boatmen, used a diverse ball-control rushing attack, which saw them use tons of misdirection to combat the aggressive nature of the Argos. Calgary leaned on using motion and multiple players in the backfield to create openings in Toronto’s defence.

The Stampeders’ knowledge of dynamic edge rusher Folarin Orimolade played in their favour. They ran right at him and washed him out of plays. Getting to manageable second and short situations also kept the Argonauts’ most dynamic rusher off the field.

The Stampeders rushed for 168 yards at nearly five yards per carry against the Argonauts three weeks ago. Calgary controlled the clock, extended drives with high-percentage passes, and ultimately kept Toronto’s offence off the field. A win-win scenario for the Stampeders.

The Stamps need to stick to the same formula. They can also use what worked last time to counter with designed throws down the field. Toronto will be cheating close to the next line of scrimmage for the run and short passes, which should create an opportunity or two down the field. Something that Ottawa had success with in their meeting with Toronto two weeks ago.

Defensively, the formula for Brent Munson against Ryan Dinwiddie’s passing attack is creating favorable one-on-one matchups upfront. Calgary used confusion and a loaded box to disrupt the Argos attack. Standout Mike Rose dominated in that approach the last time out against Toronto’s front. Single-blocking him is a chore.

In turn, what the Stamps have also done successfully with the Argonauts receivers is disrupting their timing by playing physically. Toronto’s receivers have struggled to create separation against Calgary’s defence.

Keys To A Victory For Toronto

On offence, the Argonauts receiving corps needs to beat press coverage and create immediate separation in their routes. DaVaris Daniels is coming off a career effort in the Argos last game. Daniels and the relatively quiet Kurleigh Gittens Jr. need to win their matchups and produce against Calgary.

Having Chad Kelly for a full game against Calgary will undoubtedly benefit the Boatmen. But he’s going to need some help from his teammates.

With the exception of their last game against the Stamps, Toronto’s offensive line has been terrific in pass protection this season, allowing only seven sacks in eight games. However, they gave up three sacks and multiple pressures in their last meeting with the Stampeders.

Calgary is going to come after Kelly; the Stamps blitzed the Argos’ offence heavily when Chad was in the lineup three weeks ago. The Boatmen need to avoid having the same holes in their ship they had last time.

Defensively, after an ultra-aggressive approach to start the season. Corey Mace’s unit has gone back to the bend but don’t break style; they employed for much of 2022. Against Calgary, the Argos need to get the Stamps out of manageable second-down plays. The Argonauts need to take some chances on first down by blitzing to create negative plays in the backfield.

Toronto has been at their best on defence when they produce big plays on second and long. But lately, opposing teams have been staying out of that predicament. Forcing turnovers and getting a lead in the game’s early stages will help force Calgary out of playing an ultra-conservative ball-controlled style.

Mace needs to try and take advantage of Calgary’s left tackle situation with Bryce Bell out. The Stamps have shortened pass routes to camouflage their pass protection issues. It’s time for Toronto to cause the havoc they employed earlier in the season.

CFL Week 12: Calgary Stampeders-Toronto Argonauts Prediction

Three weeks ago, I predicted that the Stamps would beat the Argonauts. Everything about that game heading in felt like it would be a letdown by Double Blue. A short work week, the fifth straight week on the road, and an opponent that is keyed in on them.

The who, when, and where are always important during a football season. Some teams match up better against others, regardless of talent level or record.

Based on that line of thinking, I believe that Calgary is always a tough matchup for Toronto. Choose to ignore recent history at your own peril. The Stampeders, as a football operation, have always excelled at self-scouting. Against the Argonauts, they get to put that strategy into practice.

The Stamps are going to give the Argonauts all they can handle by slowing the game down and playing small ball. But a healthy Chad Kelly, a rested Toronto team, and two weeks to prepare at home gives me the sense that the defending champs will pull this one out. I don’t expect it to be easy, though.

Prediction: Toronto Argonauts 23 Calgary Stampeders 21

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Mike Mitchell Reporter
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