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CFL Week 17: Toronto Argonauts @ Calgary Stampeders Preview/Prediction

Week 17 of the CFL season concludes with two playoff-bound teams squaring off this Saturday night in Calgary. As the 8-5 Toronto Argonauts, winners of four straight, meet the 9-5 Calgary Stampeders for a second time this season. The two teams last clashed in Week 11, with Calgary topping Toronto at BMO Field 22-19.

CFL Week 17: Toronto Argonauts @ Calgary Stampeders Preview

  • Location: McMahon Stadium, Calgary, Alberta
  • DateSaturday, October 1st, 2022
  • Kickoff7 p.m. EDT
  • Spread: Stampeders favored by 5.5 points. Over/Under: 52
  • Weather Forecast: Clear skies. Low 8C. Winds W at 10 to 15 km/h.

There is great familiarity between these teams as the Argonauts feature several individuals who either played or coached with Calgary, including Ryan Dinwiddie, Corey Mace, Joshua Bell, Kris Sweet, William Fields, Edwin Harrison, and Pete Costanza. In addition, Toronto’s roster features ten former Calgary players, including linebacker Wynton McManis and safety Royce Metchie, who was acquired in an off-season trade for linebacker Cameron Judge.

The last time the Toronto Argonauts lost a game was at the hands of the Calgary Stampeders. The Stamps’ 22-19 triumph in Toronto in late August marked a changing of the guard at quarterback for Calgary as the Stampeders set longtime leader Bo Levi Mitchell aside during the game and handed the reins of their franchise over to Jake Maier.

The switch-up helped the Stamps rally against the Boatmen, who have won four of their last six games since the change. The Stamps have entrusted the present and future of their football club by rewarding Maier with a recent contract extension.

Toronto was 4-5 after they fell to Calgary in August and have since won four straight. But the Argos’ recent success is under quite a bit of scrutiny. Despite sweeping through two Ontario rivals in Hamilton and Ottawa in convincing fashion. There is still doubt and non-believers of the Double Blue. Many naysayers feel that the Argonauts have had easier sailing only because they inhabit a weak East division.

Calgary is 4-0 against teams from the East this season. So the Argos will be attempting to prove that they can hang with the Stamps again, only this time find a way to win. The Stampeders, a model of consistency, have always been a measuring stick for opposing CFL teams, and week 17 presents that scenario and test for Toronto.

CFL Week 17: Toronto Argonauts Depth Chart

The big news coming out of the Six is that CB Jamal Peters will miss Saturday’s game due to a head injury sustained against Ottawa last weekend. The Argonauts are correctly erring on the side of caution and sitting out the CFL’s leader in interceptions.

With Peters out of the lineup, the team is surprisingly not shifting DB Maurice Carnell IV, who is on a turnover tear of his own (4 interceptions in a month), to the outside at cornerback. That’s because Shaq Richardson returns to the lineup and steps into Peters’s shoes at cornerback.

Richardson is, coming off the six-game injured list to assume his regular duties at boundary halfback. Robert Priester, who has worn many hats this season for the Boatmen, starting at SAM backer and halfback, returns to provide depth in the secondary. Tigie Sankoh will back up Tarvarus McFadden at the other cornerback spot.

Offensively, the Argos will dress 2018 first-round pick Ryan Hunter as a reserve lineman. He is listed behind Justin Lawrence but can play a multitude of positions. OL Shane Richards, who started the work week limited in practice, is also good to go and will provide depth as well.

Cam Phillips is back in the starting lineup and will be sharing snaps at Slotback with Brandon Banks. Juwan Brescasin is inactive

Javon Leake is not back off the injured list to help aid the return game, and backup RB AJ Ouellette. It’s worth noting that returner Jeremiah Haydel is inactive for Saturday. So the team could opt to rotate in at returner Brandon Banks on punts. And perhaps Kurleigh Gittens on kick returns.

CFL Week 17: Calgary Stampeders Depth Chart

Very few surprises to the Stamps depth chart this week. The most noticeable change comes from Derek Dennis’s season-ending injury. The surefire 2022 All-Star will be replaced at left tackle by Joshua Coker, who is making his first-ever CFL start. Julian Good-Jones, stays on the right side at RT.

Two prominent Stamps starters, who were limited in some capacity during the week, RB Kadeem Carey and DT Mike Rose, are good to go. Safety, Elie Bouka, and Javien Elliott are game-time decisions.

Keys To A Toronto Victory

In their last meeting with Calgary, Ryan Dinwiddie’s offence struggled mightily against Brent Monson’s defence. Toronto scored only major, turned the ball over three times, including a game-changing pick-six, and allowed five sacks. Shawn Lemon and Mike Rose had their way with Toronto’s offensive line, combining for four sacks.

Toronto’s longest pass play against Calgary was 24 yards. McLeod Bethel-Thompson didn’t have enough time in the pocket to find receivers downfield, and he relied heavily on check-downs to AJ Ouellette. The Argos need to find a way to keep MBT clean in the pocket so he can stay on a roll connecting with his talented receiving corps.

Defensively, Toronto had zero sacks against the Stamps last time out. Maier didn’t light up the scoreboard against Corey Mace’s defence. But he calmly operated in the pocket and completed nearly 80 percent of his passes, with Derek Dennis out of the Stamps lineup. The Argos edge rushing duo of JaGared Davis and Shane Ray have to win their one-on-one matchups on the outside.

The Argonauts also struggled against Calgary’s potent rushing attack back in August. The Stampeders rushed for nearly six yards per play. Containing Calgary’s talented backfield led by superstar Kadeem Carey is of utmost importance.

On the road, Toronto needs to avoid mistakes early and late. They will also need their special teams to help put them over the edge. Calgary is a balanced team that rarely beats itself. You can’t win ugly against them. Something that the Argos have been able to accomplish against lesser opponents earlier in the season. It’s not happening against the Stampeders.

Keys To A Calgary Victory

The Stamps are fully capable of grinding out victories using a ball-control attack with their ground game. Patience will be pivotal against Corey Mace’s defensive unit, which has allowed the league’s fewest touchdowns and has the CFL’s most efficient red zone defence. In their last meeting with the Argos, Calgary saw that firsthand, where they were forced to settle for multiple short-field goals.

Calgary scored 22 points the last time they faced Toronto, but seven of them came from a defensive touchdown.

The Stamps don’t mind relying on their All-Star kicker Rene Paredes to carry the day on the scoreboard, and it’s almost a weekly occurrence for them. But finishing drives against Toronto in the end zone will be a key in winning this game.

The Argos secondary is without their best cover cornerback Jamal Peters. So the door is wide open for Jake Maier to challenge his replacements. Peters has shut down some of the league’s best receivers. But with him out of the lineup, it gives Stamps passing targets like Malik Henry an opportunity to make impact plays down the field.

Henry did not play the last time these two teams met. He is averaging over 17 yards per catch on the season and is on the verge of eclipsing over 1,000 receiving yards. The Stamps’ offensive attack could be in line for a big day if the big plays Henry has delivered all season return on Saturday.

The Stamps’ defensive backs need to play physically against the Argos receivers, and it’s what they did back in August. Toronto has a deep and talented receiving corps, but they don’t have a true home run hitter, and their receivers rely more on finesse than physicality. Jamming them at the line of scrimmage will delay their routes and allow the Stamps pass rushers enough time to get home.

CFL Week 17: Toronto Argonauts @ Calgary Stampeders Prediction

The Stampeders have been better on the road (6-2) than they’ve been at home this season (3-3). Calgary has lost three of their last four games at McMahon, albeit to Winnipeg and BC, but it’s one of those strange anomalies for the Stamps this season. The whole goal down the stretch for Calgary is securing a home playoff game in the West semi-final, and they can take their first step in doing that by besting the Boatmen.

Toronto is 4-2 on the road this season. But you could argue that this is their stiffest challenge of the season. Their road victories in 2022 have come against a COVID-ravaged Riders squad, Ottawa twice, who hasn’t won a game all season in their building, and Hamilton.

The oddsmakers are not buying Toronto’s recent surge of success. With the Stampeders installed as nearly six-point favorites. And there’s no doubt it’s because the Argonauts’ are stepping up in class this week against Calgary.

The Argos are riding the wave and have the talent to hang with Calgary, as they proved earlier this season. And I do believe this one will be close. But when push comes to a shove, the Stamps will find a way to win this game on Saturday.

Calgary Stampeders 27 Toronto Argonauts 25

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Mike Mitchell Reporter
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