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CFL Touchdown Atlantic 2022: Toronto Argonauts-Saskatchewan Roughriders Preview

Touchdown Atlantic‘ returns in Week 6 of the 2022 CFL season with the 4-1 Saskatchewan Roughriders and 1-2 Toronto Argonauts facing off Saturday afternoon at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. A redux from the Argos-Riders TD Atlantic showdown that was supposed to take place two years ago.

CFL Week 6 2022 Touchdown Atlantic Preview: Saskatchewan Roughriders vs. Toronto Argonauts

  • Location: Raymond Field, Acadia University, Wolfville, NS
  • Date: Saturday, July 16, 2022
  • Kickoff: 3:00 p.m AT/2:00 p.m. ET
  • Spread: Roughriders favored by 3 points. Over/Under: 46
  • Radio: TSN 1050/SiriusXM Canada: Channel 167
  • Forecast: Partly cloudy skies. High 79F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph, 10 percent chance of rain

As the ancient saying goes, there’s a first time for everything.

The 2022 edition of Touchdown Atlantic will represent the first-ever regular season game played in Nova Scotia. This is the Roughriders’ first-ever appearance in the CFL’s East Coast Classic. And it’s the Argonauts‘ third TD Atlantic game, where they will be seeking their first win in the neutral site environment. (0-2 in the regular season with one tie in the preseason).

It’s been six years since Toronto defeated Saskatchewan in a regular season game. (6/30/2016) And the last time the Argos beat the Riders head to head was in the 2017 playoffs. The Argonauts bested the Roughriders 25-21 in the ‘East Final,’ on their way to their 17th Grey Cup victory.

Saskatchewan met Toronto head to head in last year’s regular season. The Roughriders galloped passed the Boatmen 30-16 at Mosiac Stadium last September. Ryan Dinwiddie’s Double Blue bunch turned the ball over four times and fell behind 18-3 early, and were unable to dig themselves out of a deep hole.

Both teams ended up having successful 2021 campaigns that fell short of the Grey Cup against their top division rivals. Winnipeg and Hamilton.

Nearly a year later, Toronto and Saskatchewan are once again in a dogfight in their respective divisions. But under entirely different circumstances.

The 4-1 Riders are trying to keep pace with the reigning CFL champion Blue Bombers, the Calgary Stampeders, and the emerging B.C. Lions. Heading into Week 6, those three teams combined for one loss, and their only defeats have come against each other.

The Argos sit atop the East division by default at 1-2. With Montreal’s stunning 32-31 loss to Edmonton on Thursday night. Amazingly, Toronto will remain in first place regardless of the outcome of Saturday’s game. It’s been that kind of season so far for Eastern teams.

Like the Roughriders, Toronto has Grey Cup aspirations in 2022. But unlike Saskatchewan, the Boatmen haven’t looked the part yet.

Toronto Argonauts Week 6 Depth Chart/Injury Report

For the first time this season, coming off their second bye week. The Argonauts are as healthy as they have been all year on both sides of the ball.

Offensively, the big news is that Left Tackle Isiah Cage has finally returned to the Argos lineup after a three-year journey back riddled with tough luck injuries. Cage will be paired up with Philip Blake on the left side. Despite nursing a groin injury during the week, Blake is available on Saturday

Defensively, the Boatmen get back 2021 CFL All-Star Chris Edwards from suspension. He will be paired up with the lethal Double Blue duo of Wynton McManis and Henoc Muamba.

Backup RB AJ Ouellette is out with a hamstring injury. Rookie runner Daniel Adeboboye will be Andrew Harris’s primary backup.

Saskatchewan Roughriders Week 6 Depth Chart/Injury Report

The big injury news coming out of Saskatchewan is that receivers Kyran Moore (knee), Mitchell Picton (ankle), and CFL sack leader defensive lineman Pete Robertson (foot) will be unavailable for Saturday’s game. Staring defensive halfback Amari Henderson is also out on Saturday.

The Riders will also be without DT Garrett Marino, who was suspended four games for his on-field actions against Ottawa in Week 5.

Standout DE A.C. Leonard (shoulder), will be suiting up for Saturday’s clash with Toronto.

CFL Touchdown Atlantic 2022: Riders-Argos Game Analysis/Keys

Roughriders pivot Cody Fajardo has earned his stripes in 2022, battling through injuries and working with a depleted receiving corps. The once-upon-a-time Toronto Argonaut is third in the league in passing and has completed six touchdowns to only two interceptions while connecting on 68 percent of his passes. But it’s Saskatchewan’s rushing attack and a stellar offensive line that has been the story of the Riders’ offensive success through five games.

Running backs Jamal Morrow and Frankie Hickson have combined for 110 rushing yards per game on 6.3 yards per attempt. Morrow leads the CFL in total yards, and the lethal one-two punch for Sask has kept opposing defenses off balance.

The Argos defence has had its fair share of ups and downs, mostly in their revamped secondary. But their biggest strength this season has been against the run, and Toronto has kept opposing team’s ground games in check. However, Saskatchewan provides its most significant challenge to date.

Getting Saskatchewan’s offence into obvious passing situations will be Toronto’s primary goal. The Argonauts’ pass rush has underperformed, generating just five sacks in three games. A healthy Shane Ray, JaGared Davis, and 2021 CFL All-Star Shawn Oakman must live up to their billing on Saturday and start producing if Toronto hopes to win.

Defensively, the Riders rank second in the CFL in two key categories, allowing only 328.8 yards per game and 19.8 points per contest. Saskatchewan is also tied for the most interceptions in the league (8), and their league-leading 23 sacks are a staggering ten more than second-place Montreal.

The Roughriders’ defense will look to fluster McLeod Bethel-Thompson into the same mistakes he made early on against Winnipeg before getting hot late and throwing for over 300 yards and two scores. Saskatchewan has a very aggressive ball-hawking defense. So the Argos will need to counter the Riders’ aggressiveness and look for big plays in the passing game.

Toronto will attempt to lean on their ground game with Andrew Harris, who has had a lot of success in his career against Saskatchewan. Including last year’s West Final, where he ran for over 130 yards and a touchdown.

The team that gets out to an early lead will have a clear advantage because they both have formidable ground attacks.

The Riders are getting a big-time performance on special teams from kicker Brett Lauther. The Nova Scotia native has one of the league’s strongest legs and has been an added weapon for the team this year. Conversely, Argos kicker Boris Bede is off to a slow start in 2022 and has missed two makeable field goals in the early season. And is looking to redeem himself after missing a game-tying extra point against Winnipeg.

There are very flaws in Saskatchewan right now. But the one area where they have struggled is in kick coverage. Notwithstanding the two long kickoff returns for touchdowns, they surrendered to former Argo Chandler Worthy. Saskatchewan against Ottawa allowed nearly 30 yards per return last week. And came close to watching Redblacks returner Terry Williams take another kickoff to the house.

With that in mind, Toronto has utilized Brandon Banks on returns during practice this week. It’s possible that he could see some time on special teams to exploit this area.

CFL Touchdown Atlantic 2022 Prediction

Save for a brief hiccup on a short week versus Montreal, from top to bottom, Saskatchewan is considered by many to be the most balanced team in the CFL. So much so that the oddsmakers are shocked that the Riders are only favored by a field goal or less over Toronto.

On paper and based on what we have seen so far, Saskatchewan seems like the obvious choice to win TD Atlantic on Saturday. After all, it’s not like they are in a natural road environment. Although it’s supposed to be a neutral site game in the Maritimes. Riders fans travel well and could dominate the makeup of the crowd at Acadia.

All signs point to Saskatchewan improving to 5-1 by defeating an up and down Toronto team that lacks consistency. However, the Argos are coming into this game healthier than Saskatchewan, with fewer distractions surrounding them. The Boatmen haven’t played up to their talent level yet, but they showed glimpses of what they were capable of against the Bombers two weeks ago.

The bye week will give Double Blue an added boost. They have the weapons on offence in the ground and passing game. And their defence is starting to round into form after it had growing pains learning a new scheme without crucial players involved.

For the first time in 2022, Toronto finally plays a complete game and upsets Saskatchewan at the final gun to win their first Touchdown Atlantic affair.

Toronto Argonauts 26 Saskatchewan Roughriders 25

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Mike Mitchell Reporter
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