55 Yard Line

Resistible Edmonton offence meets moveable Hamilton defence in Saturday’s crucial clash

Andrew Bucholtz
55 Yard Line

View photo


Kerry Joseph and the Edmonton offence face Hamilton's struggling defence Saturday.

Despite the Edmonton Eskimos (5-5) and Hamilton Tiger-Cats (3-7) coming into Saturday's early game (3 p.m. Eastern, TSN/ESPN3) in rather different situations, the two teams are closer than one might think at first glance. Yes, the Tiger-Cats have lost five straight games while the Eskimos have only lost two in a row, and yes, Edmonton's in a playoff spot at the moment while Hamilton isn't, but both of these teams have major issues to address. Interestingly enough, this game's huge for both teams given the CFL's crossover playoff format, and oddly enough, these sides' issues are largely at opposite ends of the spectrum. The Eskimos have proven unable to consistently move the ball, while the Tiger-Cats can't seem to stop opponents. It's resistible force meets moveable object, and which side triumphs in that battle may play a vital role in who wins Saturday's matchup.

Edmonton's record on the year is okay, but their offence hasn't been. Heading into this week's action, the Eskimos were last in first downs, average gain per rush, passing yards per game, passing first downs, fumbles and passes completed, and they were second-last in total yards of net offence, completion percentage, points scored, touchdowns scored, penalties taken and penalty yards conceded. That's the mark of a pretty atrocious offensive unit. Yes, by some metrics, the passing offence has been a little better over the last few weeks, with Saturday's starter Kerry Joseph throwing for 311 and 275 yards over the last two games against Calgary and putting the Eskimos in position to win both (if only they could make a field goal). However, those performances carry their caveats; Joseph's had spectacular performances, but has also looked all of his 38 years of age at times, and he's thrown five interceptions over the last four games (and six on the year, against just five touchdowns). Meanwhile, backup Steven Jyles has been less than stellar this season, completing just 58.9 per cent of his throws and tossing four interceptions against five touchdowns. Even the run game hasn't been great, and the Eskimos are still trying to figure out how to optimally integrate Jerome Messam, Hugh Charles and Cory Boyd.

If there ever was a recipe to cure what ails an ailing offence, facing the 2012 Hamilton Tiger-Cats might just be it, though. Heading into this weekend's games, the Tiger-Cats were worst in the league in points allowed, net yards allowed, touchdowns allowed, quarterback sacks, interceptions, first downs and more. Of the 25 team defensive statistics tracked by the CFL in its weekly league-wide stats package, Hamilton was last in 21 categories heading into this week. The Tiger-Cats haven't been able to stop the pass or the run, allowing league-high figures of 313.6 and 134.6 yards per game in those categories this season, and they'll have to get a lot better if they want to have a chance of pulling off a victory and keeping their slim playoff hopes alive. Then again, if the Eskimos are salivating over the chance to face Hamilton's much-maligned defence, the Tiger-Cats may be hungry to go up against the less-than-vaunted Edmonton offence. There are plenty of statistics on their opponent for each of these struggling units to take comfort from, but whether it's the Hamilton defence or the Edmonton offence that's less awful may determine the outcome of Saturday's early game.

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Hockey
Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.
    • Marner's 3 assists lead Maple Leafs over Panthers

      Marner's 3 assists lead Maple Leafs over Panthers

      Mitch Marner had three assists and goaltender Frederik Andersen bounced back from a horrid outing as the Toronto Maple Leafs won for the second time this season, topping the Florida Panthers 3-2 on Thursday night. Marner set up Tyler Bozak for two … More »

      AP - Sports - 4 minutes 24 seconds ago
    • Titans RB DeMarco Murray returns after hurting foot

      Titans RB DeMarco Murray returns after hurting foot

      NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee Titans running back DeMarco Murray has returned after hurting his foot and heading to the locker room just before halftime. … More »

      AP - Sports - 4 minutes 26 seconds ago
    • Mavericks, Rockets look to rebound from opening losses

      The Dallas Mavericks open their home schedule Friday night at American Airlines Center against the Houston Rockets, with both Texas rivals in search of their first win. The Mavericks fell 130-121 in overtime at Indiana, while the Rockets dropped a … More »

      AP - Sports - 5 minutes ago
    • Spurs are genuine title contenders, says ex-captain King

      Spurs are genuine title contenders, says ex-captain King

      By Claire Bloomfield LONDON (Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur take on Premier League champions Leicester City at White Hart Lane on Saturday as genuine title contenders, says the London club's former captain Ledley King. Having gone toe-to-toe with … More »

      Reuters - 5 minutes ago
    • Tottenham Hotspur vs Leicester City - the fans' view

      Tottenham Hotspur vs Leicester City - the fans' view

      By Claire Bloomfield LONDON (Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur host the Premier League champions Leicester City on Saturday at White Hart Lane. Mauricio Pochettino's side were the Foxes' biggest title rivals for most of last season. Here is what the … More »

      Reuters - 6 minutes ago