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CFL Week 1 Preview: Saskatchewan Roughriders @ BC Lions

Date: Friday, August 6, 2021

Time: 9:30 PM (EDT)

Location: Mosaic Stadium in Regina, SK

TV: TSN

Saskatchewan will host BC Lions at the Mosaic Stadium in Regina, SK hoping to make good use of their home advantage in the opening game of the 2021 CFL regular season for the two teams. Despite having a talented quarterback in Michael Reilly, the BC Lions’ offensive line in 2019 was inadequate in pass protection which culminated in a 5-13 finish in the regular season in the West division. Reilly had a respectable first season with BC finishing with 3,897 yards passing, 20 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. The BC Lions now have Ryker Mathews, one of the strongest pass blockers in the division. This is an improvement on a defense that allowed only 326.8 yards and 25.1 points per game in 2019.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders finished above Calgary Stampeders with 13-5 which was just enough to win the West Division in 2019. Nevada Wolf Pack QB Cody Fajardo passed for 4,302 yards with 18 touchdowns and eight interceptions last season and is set to return for Saskatchewan Roughriders. As the undisputed dual-threat at QB, Fajardo rushed for 611 yards in 2019. 2019 was also a season to remember for Shaq Evans as the top wide receiver returns for Saskatchewan having gained 1,134 yards with five touchdowns in 2019.

TEAM NEWS

BC LIONS

They have overseen the departure of players that include Kicker Sergio Castillo (NFL), running back John White (Toronto Argonauts), but have also recruited a fair amount of players with Defensive backs Anthony Cioffi and Marcus Sayles spearheading the list. Players to watch out for in the first game of the season are Rookies Nathan Rourke (quarterback) and Jordan Williams (linebacker), wide receiver Bryan Burnham, defensive back T.J. Lee.

SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS

In their rank is franchise quarterback Cody Fajardo, William Powell a three-time 1,000-yard rusher and talented pass-catchers like Kyran Moore and Jordan Williams-Lambert. Another area of strength is the secondary where four of the five defensive halfbacks starters from 2019 will stake a claim. They are Loucheiz Purifoy and Ed Gainey, cornerback Nick Marshall and safety Mike Edem. Left tackle Terran Vaughn missed Wednesday’s practice due to an injury but should be fit to participate in the game.

HEAD TO HEAD

BC Lions lost their final three games of the last CFL Regular season and haven’t had any joy against Saskatchewan Roughriders in their last six encounters. Saskatchewan Roughriders have won the past six games but are still short head to head with BC Lions leading 10-8. It will be a clean slate for every team and it remains to be seen how the game will pan out.

PREDICTION

It was not smooth sailing for Saskatchewan Roughriders in the post-season as they lost to eventual Grey Cup winners Winnipeg Blue Bombers. However, they will want to take the positives from the encounter and build on the experience gathered. Against the BC Lions, they face a stern test of quality but they will take pride in the fact that they haven’t lost in the last six encounters.

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