CFL Game Preview #70 - Toronto (9-6) at Winnipeg (3-12)Matchup:
This game has Toronto playing Winnipeg at Investors Group Field where the Blue Bombers are just 1-6 this season. Winnipeg is 2-6 on the road in 2013 ? they have had more road wins than at home only once in the last 30 years (2006). The Bombers are out of the playoffs for the 4th time in the last 5 seasons but can have a profound effect on the playoffs similar to last week when they defeated Montreal dropping them two games back of Hamilton. This week a win over Toronto could move the Argos down into 2nd place via the tie-breaker if combined with a Hamilton win.Starting QBs:
Ricky Ray returned for the Argos last week and posted his usual high percentage numbers and 71st career 300- yard game. He completed 76.5% of his passes stretching his incredible streak of efficiency to 9 games in row at 70% (includes Oct 27/12). Ray's marks for completion % of 78.0 and passer rating of 130.4 (actually 130.0)
are easily ahead of the CFL record. The only Ricky Ray number that has not kept up with that QB new standard has been the team?s record with Ray as the starter which is just 11-11 over two seasons in Toronto and 4-4 this year. Ray's interception-free streak ended at 247 attempts with a late game pick.
For Winnipeg Max Hall secured his first victory as a starter last week and made it 17 different CFL QBs with a win in 2013. It is the second year in a row that Winnipeg has had three QBs win a game and Hall?s numbers reflected his first interception-free start for the Bombers. His 110.6 rating in that game was a career-best.
Other Toronto at Winnipeg Notes:
- Winnipeg Attendance - 31,507:
The Bombers rank #3 in the CFL in 2013 with an average attendance of 31,507 (behind only Saskatchewan and Edmonton). This total stands as the highest single-season average in club history and nearly 2,000 ahead of the 29,556 average posted in 2011 their latest Grey Cup year.
- Avoiding 3 in a Row:
Under head coach Scott Milanovich, the Argos have an 18-15 record over two seasons. This year their 6 losses have all come as short, two-game losing streaks from which they have rebounded successfully the first two times. This will be the third test and all have been on the road. A win over Winnipeg clinches a home playoff date but they cannot clinch first place this week even if Hamilton loses at Montreal (Hamilton holds the tie-breaker over Toronto).
- Slow Starts:
The Argos have scored just two points in the 1st quarter over the last three games and have trailed after 15:00 four times in a row. For the season, the 1st half has been their weakest being outscored 242 to 194 (-48). They have been much better in the 2nd half however with a 231-152 edge (+79).
- Andre Durie:
Leads the CFL with 661 yards after catch and is more than 200 ahead of any other player (C.J. Gable #2 at 444, Chad Owens #3 at 443). Since 2010 when the league first began compiling YAC totals, Durie's 661 YAC ties the most ever and he still has 3 games to play. Since 2010, here are YAC Leaders:2013 Andre Durie, Tor 661
2012 Chris Williams, Ham 641
2011 Jamel Richardson, Mtl 661
2010 Nik Lewis, Cgy 664
- Bombers last week:
The 7 turnovers forced by Winnipeg at Montreal last week was the most committed by their opponent since Aug 13/11 (BC had 7 in a 30-17 Bombers win). It was only the 5th time since 1994 they have forced as many as 7. On average, the Bombers started their drives from their own 45-yard line, a huge improvement over the 29-yard line average two weeks ago - and their best all season long.
- Bomber Roster Turnover:
In 2013, the Blue Bombers have dressed 74 different players for at least one game which is an all-time club high exceeding the 70 they used in 2010. Compared to the 42-man roster they used to end the 2012 season, only 16 players remain and 26 were not on that Nov 3/12 game roster.
- TD to Interception Ratio:
Ricky Ray finally threw an interception last week after 247 consecutive attempts without one. With 17 TD passes his TD to INT Ratio is now an incredible 17 to 1. No CFL QB (with at least 200 attempts) has ever had a ratio above 6:1 for a complete season (Condredge Holloway 6.0:1 in 1978: 12 TDs to 2 interceptions in 214 pass attempts; Dave Dickenson 6.0 to 1 in 2000: 36 TDs to 6 interceptions in 493 attempts).
- Winnipeg Rebound:
The Bombers are at 3-12 but can look back only a short time in their history to see a dramatic turnaround. Winnipeg fell to 4-14 in 2010, their lowest winning % since 1998. But in 2011, the Bombers rebounded almost as well as you can by going 10-8, finishing first and getting to the Grey Cup. Across 2012-2013, the Bombers are 9-24 (.273) and with several trades this year are working toward getting on that same upward track. After a 1-14-1 record in 1964, Winnipeg rebounded with an 11-5-1 mark in 1965 to get to the Grey Cup.
- Last 2 Weeks vs Toronto Defence:
Toronto trails the CFL as their opponent 2nd down conversion rate is 50.3%. In their 9 wins that % has been 44% (87/196), in their 6 losses it has been 58% (89/154). Over the last two games, Toronto opponents have gone 35-for-53, 66%.
- Toronto FG%:
One area where Toronto has struggled this year is in FG% made and they are at just 61.0% on 25-of-41 attempts. Inside the 40-yard line they are 17-of-24 for 71%. The Argos' season average of 61.0% is the lowest by any CFL team in the 10 seasons since 2004 (Ottawa and Hamilton both made just 53% in 2004) and the lowest by Toronto since 1998 (56% on 33-of-59).
- Chad Owens:
Despite missing four games, Chad Owens still ranks #2 in the CFL with 1,920 combined yards and is just 69 behind BC's Tim Brown. His pace of 174.5 yards per game is the equivalent of a 3,000 yard season. He needs to average 66 receiving yards per game to get to 1,000 for the second straight year.
- 30 Argos TD passes:
Toronto QBs have thrown 30 touchdown passes this season. That is the most for them since their 37 total in 2005 and second-highest since their total of 49 in 1997 (#2 in club history). Nine different Toronto players have a receiving TD this season.
- Team Completion & Pass Efficiency % Records:
Toronto's team completion mark of 71.1% leads the CFL in 2013 and is miles ahead of their club record of 65.5% set in 1998. The league record stands at 71.6% by Montreal in 2009. Their passer rating is 111.1 is the third-best all-time at this point trailing the league record of 114.3 set by BC in 2004.
- Winnipeg punts:
The Bombers have punted 129 times this season, 12 more than any other club. They are on pace for 155 which would be the second highest total in the 17 years since 1996 (Toronto had 156 in 2002).
- Last week's penalties:
The Bombers committed 14 penalties last week, their 7th game with 10 or more in 2013. Of those 14, 11 were made by their defence and none at all by special teams. It was the first time in the last 5 games that Winnipeg had committed more than 9 in a game as they have reduced that total substantially in recent weeks. The Argos were called for 11 penalties last week, their 7th 10+ time as well, but second in a row.
- Under 300 yards offence:
Last week, Winnipeg snapped a 7-game streak of less than 300 yards of offence in any game. Looking at available CFL data back to 1994, no team had ever gone 7 games in a row without at least one game with 300+ yards of net offence. The Bombers gained 309 yards at Montreal with 173 in the second half coming mostly on two long scoring drives of 78 yards each.
- Four Winnipeg Offensive TDs:
The Bombers scored 4 TDs on offence last week which was a season-high.
- Defensive rebound:
The Winnipeg defence allowed 622 net yards to Calgary two weeks ago but came strongly to hold Montreal to only 295 yards last week. It was their second sub-300 defensive effort in the last 3 games.