The Toronto Argonauts still have a chance to make the playoffs but aren’t looking too far ahead with a tough game against the Calgary Stampeders coming up.
When it comes to the CFL we have learned that it’s more about how a team finishes a season and the Toronto Argonauts know that first hand.
While the team’s playoff chances are not great, as long as they see it as a possibility, they will fight for it. That is why their last win over the Ottawa Redblacks was crucial on many levels.
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Heading into that game against the Redblacks, you started to get the sense that the Argos were starting to put things together but couldn’t find the formula to carry it out over four quarters.
You get the sense watching the players at practice that they are not going to take this last stretch of the season lightly considering they think there’s still a chance to make a run.
"” I think at this point, the main fuel to the fire is is that we have that at least a one per cent chance,” said running back James Wilder Jr. “At this point, we know we don’t have any more time to mess ups, we got to handle our business or else.“So that’s enough fire for us. And we know we know we just got to take it day by day, play by play game by game.”"
The real test begins on Friday considering the margin for error is so slim and a tough matchup with the Calgary Stampeders visiting Bmo Field. Earlier in the season, the Argos lost by 10 points when they played in Calgary but it would be safe to say they did more to beat themselves in that game.
What better way to get retribution than with your backs against the wall and people not giving you a chance to win?
The players certainly understand how important this game is especially with Calgary missing key players in Reginald Begelton and Cory Greenwood due to injury. However, they will be going up against Bo Levi Mitchell will make sure Calgary doesn’t give up top spot in the West division so easily.
"“What makes them a really good defence is the front seven, they have a very, very good defensive line,” said Derel Walker. That causes a lot of distractions for the quarterback and puts a lot of pressure on the o-line ao we have to go out there and execute. What it’s gonna come down to is assignments and just go out there and doing our job well.”"
Toronto knows how good that defence can be considering they had seven turnovers which is tough to come back from even if the defence is playing well. Against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, the Stampeders forced three turnovers and blocked a potential game-winning field goal so the Argos will definitely have their hands full.
Over the past five games, McLeod Bethel-Thompson has been cleaning up his game since their trip out west but haven’t been able to put it together over a full game which has led to some heartbreaking losses.
As Dan Ralph of the Canadian Press points out, Bethel-Thompson has thrown 12 touchdowns and only two interceptions in his last five games. He knows he will have to keep the mistakes to a minimum against a Calgary defence that leads the league with 19 interceptions has 35 turnovers.
"“My job is to protect this team and put it in position to win and that can’t happen with interceptions,” Bethel-Thompson told reporters. “(On Friday), I’ve got to protect the football. I think we’re playing better football than we were earlier in the season, for sure. We’re just more of a cohesive unit and not shooting ourselves in the foot.”"
More importantly, the Argos defence is going to have to find a way to limit Mitchell’s impact in the passing game especially with Begelton out but you know he will try to lean on Eric Rogers more. Mitchell is 10-0 in the regular season against Toronto so you know history will be on Calgary’s side in this one but if the Argos can get pressure on him early which they have improved on lately, they have a chance.
This is not a team that is ready to give up and a win against a legitimate Grey Cup opponent goes a long way in putting themselves in a better position to make things interesting. Nobody is ready to write this team off but if they cannot continue their momentum and play a full 60 minutes, this will be a tough game to win.
What do you the Argos need to do to knock off the Stamps? Do they still have a chance to get back into the playoff picture? Let us know in the comments below.