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B.C. Lions can clinch home playoff game with victory over Roughriders

Quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. and the B.C. Lions look to secure a home playoff game Friday night. B.C. (10-4) can cement a playoff date at BC Place Stadium with a home win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders (6-8).
B.C. Lions quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. (3) runs the ball as Edmonton Elks' Jake Ceresna (94) looks on during first half CFL action in Edmonton on September 22, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Amber Bracken

Quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. and the B.C. Lions look to secure a home playoff game Friday night.

B.C. (10-4) can cement a playoff date at BC Place Stadium with a home win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders (6-8). The two teams have split their previous two meetings this year but appear headed in opposite directions.

B.C. has won its last three games while Saskatchewan is on a three-game losing streak. And while the Lions are 5-1 at home this season, the Riders are 2-5 away from Mosaic Stadium.

The Lions have also fared better within the West Division, sporting a 7-2 record while Saskatchewan is 5-5. B.C. enters this week's action tied atop the conference standings with Winnipeg (10-4) and those two teams are slated to meet next week at B.C. Place Stadium.

Saskatchewan won the last meeting with B.C. 34-29 in Regina on Aug. 20. But Adams was a one-man show, completing 26-of-41 passes for 455 yards and three touchdowns while Alexander Hollins had seven catches for 161 yards and a touchdown.

Riders starter Jake Dolegala finished 18-of-29 passing for 239 yards and three touchdowns. Canadian Samuel Emilus was his favourite target with five catches for 106 yards and a TD.

It was B.C.'s defence that anchored the club's 37-29 road win over Edmonton last week. The unit registered seven sacks and four tackles for a loss while holding the Elks' offence to just 219 net yards.

Edmonton starter Tre Ford was 20-of-27 passing for 182 yards and two touchdowns while running for 43 yards on five carries. But running back Kevin Brown rushed for just 18 yards on six carries after running for 318 yards and two TDs in the Elks' previous two contests combined.

Adams completed 16-of-26 passes for 265 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. It ended his streak of consecutive 300-plus passing games at five, but Taquan Mizzell rushed 16 times for 112 yards and two TDs for the Lions.

Saskatchewan's offence had five turnovers in last week's 36-28 road loss to Ottawa, which also registered five sacks in the contest. The Redblacks offence ran for 193 yards on 29 attempts (6.7-yard average).

Dolegala was 26-of-37 passing against Ottawa for 279 yards with two TDs and two interceptions. He's 2-3 under centre with the Riders, having completed 116-of-185 passes (62.7 per cent) for 1,377 yards with nine touchdowns and four interceptions.

Saskatchewan ranks seventh in offensive points (20.3 per game), sixth in offensive TDs (26) and last overall in rushing (83.9). The Riders have also lost 11 fumbles this season, second-most in the CFL, and are last in turnover ratio (minus-11).

Pick: B.C.

Toronto Argonauts versus Winnipeg Blue Bombers (Friday night)

At Winnipeg, a Grey Cup rematch will lose much of its appeal as Toronto (12-1), which has already clinched first in the East, continues to rest some of its regulars. Cameron Dukes is expected to start at quarterback ahead of Chad Kelly while running back Andrew Harris (knee), a Winnipeg native and former Bomber, won't play either. The Bombers (10-4) are coming off a bye week. They're 6-0 since '21 following a week off and a CFL-best 13-4 since 2015.

Pick: Winnipeg.

Montreal Alouettes versus Ottawa Redblacks (Saturday afternoon)

At Ottawa, Montreal (7-7) can clinch a playoff berth with a win and comes off a solid 28-11 road victory in Calgary following consecutive losses to Toronto. Against the Stamps, the Alouettes converted all three redzone chances while recording four sacks. Dustin Crum was CFL's top-graded quarterback for a second straight week as the Redblacks (4-11) snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 36-28 home victory over Saskatchewan, registering five takeaways in the contest. But they're 0-6 within the East Division.

Pick: Montreal.

Calgary Stampeders versus Hamilton Tiger-Cats (Saturday night)

At Hamilton, the Ticats (6-8) can clinch a playoff spot with a win and Montreal victory. They're 2-5 at home but 4-4 versus Western clubs. Rookie Taylor Powell is 3-5 as a starting quarterback but three losses have come against Toronto. Calgary (4-10) has dropped two straight and five-of-six since handing the Argos their lone loss Aug. 4. Jake Maier leads the CFL in passing (3.581 yards) and Reggie Begelton is first overall in catches (78) and third in yards (1,028), but centre Sean McEwen (foot) and guard Zach Williams (shoulder) are both battling injuries.

Pick: Hamilton.

Last week: 1-3.

Overall: 42-21.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 27, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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