After a huge win last week in Ottawa, the 6-3 BC Lions look to keep the good vibes rolling Wednesday in Toronto.
At the midway point of the season, BC is alone in second place in the CFL. They trail the Calgary Stampeders by three points, and sit two points up on Winnipeg and Edmonton in the ultra-competitive West Division.
The Argonauts have had an odd season, coming into this matchup with a record of 4-4. Veteran defensive back Keon Raymond was just cut by the Argos, in a puzzling move that would be comparable to Ryan Phillips being cut by the Lions. Having leaders in the locker room is important, especially with a young team like Toronto.
Here’s three things to look out for in this Wednesday night Week 11 showdown.
Venue: BMO Field, Toronto
Date/Time: Wednesday, August 31 at 4:30 pm
Radio: TSN 1040
1. Hello BMO
Finally as a Lions fan, you won’t have to go through the miserable pain that is watching your favourite football team play in Toronto on TV at a baseball field, AKA the Rogers Centre.
Thanks to Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment, Toronto’s not-really beloved football team found a new home for 2016 onwards: BMO Field.
The Argos now have a stadium that looks the part for a football game both in-person and on TV. Gone are the days of when CFL teams played with the baseball infield still installed for Blue Jays games.
Although BMO Field has yet to attract the attendance the Argos and the CFL have hoped as we’re now past the halfway point of the season, the location of the venue is in a great spot. Well within the grounds of Exibition Place, this is a perfect target location for millennials, who the CFL is currently struggling to draw into buying tickets for games.
2. The return of Ricky
Ricky Ray is set to start at quarterback for the Argos tonight after missing the past three weeks with a knee injury.
Toronto didn’t find any success in backups Logan Kilgore and Cody Fajardo in their past two games, getting throughly outclassed in both, with limited QB production. It reached a low point for Kilgore in Week 8, when he threw five interceptions. Yes, five. Yikes.
Look for the return of Ray to revitalize Toronto’s promising young offence going forward as we soon enter the post-Labour Day portion of the season. The 36-year-old has made 115-of-156 passes this season through five games for 1,235 yards, nine touchdowns, and one interception.
— BC Lions (@BCLions) August 30, 2016
3. Stubler’s stingy defence
Former Lions defensive coordinator, Rich Stubler, caused the Lions offence fits in Week 3. The veteran coach of 28 CFL seasons, with five-time Grey Cup wins to his name as a coach, confused Jennings, resulting in him being benched to end the game.
A tremendous defensive strategist, Stubler aligns his defence to make sure that no team can make a big play on them, forcing offences to usually settle short 4-5 yard undercut routs. It can be extremely infuriating for a quarterback and his receivers, especially if you lack the patience and the time it takes to get into the end zone for seven.
For BC to win, Jennings must take what the defence gives him and not force deep passes down the field.
— BC Lions (@BCLions) August 29, 2016
25-14 Lions. The scoreboard will read the exact same numbers the last time these two clubs met, but in favour of BC this time around. The Lions have the momentum coming off of the huge road win in Ottawa, while Toronto will most likely see some rust from QB Ricky Ray.