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The Argos Targeting Home Playoff Game And A Bye

At 7-4, the Argos have clinched a playoff berth and currently sit alone on top of the Eastern standings. But to optimize their chances of potentially winning the Grey Cup on Sunday, December 12th. Toronto has three weeks to try and ensure a bye and a home playoff game at BMO Field on Sunday, December 5th.

Argos Back In The Playoffs And Back To Business

The Argos were back home practicing and making preparations on Tuesday as they get set for a road trip to face the Ottawa Redblacks this coming Saturday afternoon. The team will be practicing at Centennial Stadium for the rest of this week until Friday before heading to Ottawa.

Every game for Toronto has a playoff feel because of where they sit in the standings and what is at stake moving forward.

After Saturday’s game with Ottawa, the Double Blue has double home games to close the season at BMO Field. Versus Hamilton on Friday, November 12th, in their fourth meeting of the regular season. And then, four days later, against potentially the Nick Arbuckle led Edmonton Elks. Toronto is undefeated this year in the Six.

The Argos have a chance to ensure that they stay at home the rest of the way. A victory over the Redblacks won’t clinch a bye in the playoffs, regardless of what happens this coming weekend with the dually 6-5 Montreal Alouettes and Hamilton Tiger-Cats. But the Boatmen can put themselves one step closer to getting a home game in the playoffs by holding serve and completing a season sweep of Ottawa.

Toronto’s goal is to host a win, and you are in the Grey Cup scenario at BMO Field on December 5th.

A home playoff game that bypasses an Eastern Semifinal for Toronto would accomplish several things.

Firstly, the obvious is that the Argos will only need to win one game to compete for a Grey Cup championship.

Secondly, getting a bye and a home playoff game means that Toronto would have to beat only one of their two division rivals in Hamilton or Montreal. Failing to win the division will set up a daunting task for the Boatmen, as they would have to beat the Ti-Cats and Als in successive weeks to get to the Cup. Winning the division means that Toronto can sit back, wait and watch as the Als and Tiger-Cats beat each other up in the semi-final.

Lastly, an Eastern division crown would create an unprecedented layoff and rest period for the Boatmen. You could argue that it’s a bad thing to have so much time off between games, however, with Toronto having 19 players on their injured list. A layoff from November 16th to December 5th would give Double Blue nearly three weeks to get healthy and prepare for their next opponent.

With so many prominent players like Jamal Campbell, Eric Rogers, Juwan Brescasin, Shane Ray, Cam Judge, Drake Nevis, and many other veterans on the roster who have been battling injuries all year. The time off between the regular season and playoffs for the Boatmen could present them an opportunity to be at full strength.

First things first, however, The Argos need to play better than they did on Hallow’s Eve against BC. Toronto survived a scare against the Lions a day before Halloween, almost tricking themselves into defeat and treating BC with a victory. Despite clinching a playoff berth last weekend. The Argonauts coaches and players weren’t pleased with their overall performance. The Boatmen know they need to get better down the home stretch. And if they do, it could keep them at home for a while.

McLeod Bethel-Thompson was his own harshest critic after Saturday’s game against the Lions.

“I’m gonna be embarrassed by watching that game film,” said Thompson. “Three wide open receivers and gimme touchdowns. It’s professional football and you shouldn’t be a starting quarterback if you can’t hit wide open receivers.”

Argos News and Notes

To no one’s surprise. Boris Bede was named a top CFL performer in Week 13 for his stellar efforts in the rain against BC. Bede was 5/5 on field goals, had a punt single, and was did a tremendous job on kickoffs and punts. No simple task considering the elements. In one instance, Bede had a snap nearly go over his head, but he was able to snag it, punt the football away and prevent disaster.

For all the high-profile moves that the Argos have made since the 2019 season ended. None of them has been as bountiful as the trade that Toronto executed with Montreal back in February of 2020 for Bede. The Argos sent Tyler Crapigna straight-up to the Als for Bede. It’s a move that has reaped tremendous dividends thus far for Toronto.

The Argos Media Relations team released this write-up today about ‘Boris the Boot.’

Bede was instrumental in helping the Argos squeak by the B.C. Lions 31-29 in overtime on Saturday night in Toronto, kicking five field goals on five tries, including two bombs from 50 and 52 yards (the CFL record for most FG’s of 50+ yards in a game is three). The six-year veteran, who is the CFL’s all-time leader in kickoff average, also averaged more than 74 yards on two kickoffs. The five field goals made Saturday was the Laval product’s second time achieving that feat, doing so in 2018 as well. The notoriously strong-legged kicker is now 20-for-25 (80%) on the season with five kicks of 50+ yards, which ranks first in the CFL, two clear of second place (the CFL record is eight). His 68.8 yard kickoff average this season also sits atop the CFL. Bede’s performance helped move Toronto to the top of the East standings with a 7-4 record with three games to go. This is the Boatmen’s fourth Top Performer award of the season after Nick Arbuckle (week 3), Shaq Richardson (week 8), and Dexter McCoil Sr. (week 10).

Toronto Acquires 2022 Second Round Pick In Arbuckle Deal

It’s official, as per the conditions of the Argos deal with the Elks, which sent Nick Arbuckle to Edmonton. Toronto has acquired the Elks’ second pick in 2022.

As part of the trade between both teams, if Edmonton signed Arbuckle to an extension, the Argos conditional third-round pick would improve to a 2nd. And that’s precisely what has transpired with Edmonton securing Arbuckle’s services for the 2022 season. It’s a win-win for the Argos and Arbuckle. The Boatmen get to restock their impressive young Canadian base, and Arbuckle gets a chance to remain in one city as the team’s designated pivot.

Interestingly enough, despite both sides walking away satisfied with the long-term outcome. In the short term, both sides could clash in Week 16, when Arbuckle returns to BMO field with the Elks. Edmonton’s new franchise quarterback could play spoiler against his former team.

Argos Injury Report

The Argos began their practice week without the services of LB Dexter McCoil (elbow), OL Peter Nicastro (knee), and global DB Tigie Sankoh (elbow).

Toronto also had d-linemen Kony Ealy (groin) and Fabion Foote (knee) back as full participants.

DL Shawn Oakman, who left the BC game early with a chest injury, practiced in full on Tuesday. LB Cam Judge (ankle) also practiced in full. Judge was listed as “active” for last week’s game as a third-stringer, but he was deactivated before game time to no one’s surprise. DB Jamal Peters, who missed last week’s game due to a knee injury, was back practicing on Tuesday.

The McCoil and Nicastro injuries are worth monitoring as the week progresses. The Boatmen had two potential in-house replacements in G Philip Blake, who could slide over to Centre, and Cameron Judge for McCoil, if Judge is ready to go.

Both Nicastro and McCoil are two of Toronto’s best players, and the team can’t afford to lose them long-term. So the Argos could decide to proceed with caution in Week 14.

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Mike Mitchell Reporter
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