West Division Championship Preview: Lions and Roughriders

lions Roughriders

Once again, it’s going to be the Roughriders from Saskatchewan doing battle against the B.C. Lions for the right to represent the CFL’s West Division in the Grey Cup.

Getting sick of the rivalry already? Ha ha, of course not!

Being a west coast team, the Lions don’t really have a geographical rivalry so we had to adopt the Saskatchewan Roughriders as our rival team.

After all, 98 per cent of all Saskatchewan born residents move to B.C. to pursue something other than wheat farming and other things that revolve around wheat.

Enough joking around. This Sunday, the two most dominant teams in the CFL will do battle for the West Division Championship and what a game it promises to be. Both teams have a dynamic offence and the Roughriders have been the beneficiary of the cast-aways from the now defunked Ottawa Renegade franchise, as well as beleaguered players from the CFL’s worst team, the Hamilton Tigercats.

Joseph

Riders quarterback, Kerry Joseph, has been the most improved of all pivots that have come through the CFL in the past five seasons and was rewarded for his efforts by being named the West Division’s nominee for Most Outstanding Player. Not only has Joseph impoved as an individual player, he has made others around him better.

Even with the injury to their top receiver, Matt Dominguez, Joseph found new targets like Andy Fantuz and D.J. Flick and on top of that, the star quarterback rushed for over 730 yards (737) and ran the ball in for 13 touchdowns.

So not only can Joseph hurt you through the air, but he can hurt you on the ground as well. The Lions defence is going to have to work for every stop against the Roughriders, who embarrassed B.C. on home turf in August, handing down a 21-9 defeat to a, at-the-time, struggling opponent.

The Lions, to their credit, have been the best team in the CFL for about 85 per cent of the season. As Roughriders general manager Eric Tillman said on TEAM 1040 yesterday, “good teams always find a way to win.”

The Lions did just that for most of the season.

Having said that, don’t mistake finding a way to win with pure luck. Luck had little or nothing to do with how the Lions won games this year.

It can’t be luck when the third-string quarterback, Jarious Jackson, can come in midway through the season and find a way to lead a highly touted offence that includes the likes of Joe Smith, Geroy Simon and Regina native, Jason Clermont.

Like the Riders, the Lions can hurt you through the air and on the ground. Joe Smith exposed many defenses this season and led the CFL in rushing yards, running for over 1,500 yards on the season.

But offence beware. As good as both teams are when it comes to putting up points, both teams are equally effective when it comes to keeping the other team off the scoreboard.

For Sunday, count on the following.

A large group of green coloured Roughrider fans, otherwise known as Rider Nation, will be attending. There will be good football, big hits and another close finish as these two titans will go head-to-head for the right to go to the Grey Cup in Toronto.

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