After a blazing 5-0 start, the Saskatchewan Roughriders suffered their first lost against the Calgary Stampeders, as Calgary defeated them 42-27.
Going into the game, I expected Calgary to challenge Saskatchewan, as the Stampeders have been on a roll since their loss in Week 2 against Saskatchewan. What surprised me was that Saskatchewan lost by 15 points, because in each of their previous five games they outscored their opponents by double digits and scored at least 30 points.
The slow start didn’t help, as they were down 26-7 and couldn’t repeat their Week 2 magic, when the defence stepped up and held Calgary scoreless in the second half.
They key for Saskatchewan is to win the next game against the Montreal Alouettes and avoid a losing streak, like they suffered in the previous two seasons.
We all remember last season when the Riders started 3-0 and then went on a five-game losing streak. I believe that the team this year will not let that happen, because there are more veterans on the squad who can help eliminate those mental mistakes, which led to those consecutive losses.
Also, on offence, the Roughriders were banged up last season, and with signing of Geroy Simon and the return of Rob Bagg, Saskatchewan does have depth in their offence this year.
The schedule for the Roughriders does favour the team, as their next few games come against teams that are in the bottom of the league: the Montreal Alouettes, Edmonton Eskimos and Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Those teams have a combined total of five wins, which matches Saskatchewan’s number of victories.
Even though Saskatchewan’s next few games look like automatic wins, they should treat them no different than any other game, because all of those teams are desperate for a win to turn their season around, specially Montreal and Winnipeg, where a couple of wins can get them back in that East Division.
The Labour Day Classic and Banjo Bowl games are just around the corner and anything can happen in those games against Winnipeg. Remember, a struggling Saskatchewan team in 2011 took the both games against a Blue Bomber team that only had one loss up to that point.
With Saskatchewan having home field advantage three times in their next five games, that should help the team avoid a losing streak, as Mosaic Stadium is a tough place for a visiting team to earn a win.