Riders under pressure to clinch playoff spot
With just four games left before playoffs, the Saskatchewan Roughriders (6-4) are feeling the pressure when it comes to clinching a spot.
Coming off a win over a hot Calgary Stampeder (5-6) team –- the green and white are preparing for another battle on the road, this time against the Montreal Alouettes (6-4).
“I think this is going to be our toughest game in a long time I really do, I think it's going to be a tougher game than even playing Calgary,” said Craig Dickenson Riders head coach.
The Roughriders were right back to work Tuesday with the playoffs in sight.
“It is an important game I mean I think you’re going to see an electric atmosphere,” said Dickenson. “I think it's going to be an exciting place -- I mean it’s a Saturday night game in downtown Montreal against a very good team.”
The Roughriders are no strangers to playing hot teams -- having just beat the Stampeders who were on a three-game win streak.
“It is a streaking Montreal team and we still haven’t solidified anything for us in the playoffs and we have to continue to win games,” Cody Fajardo, quarterback for the Riders said. “It just always seems like were always playing the hottest team in the CFL at least the last couple times.”
Fajardo threw for 222 yards against the Stamps this weekend.
If the Riders win and the Edmonton Elks lose, along with either a BC Lions or Calgary Stampeders loss, the Riders will clinch a playoff spot. If Montreal wins, then the Alouettes clinch a spot.
“It will be a hard-fought entertaining football game with a lot of ramifications and a lot of things on the line,” Dickenson said.
The Roughriders defense will be tested this week as they face William Stanback who leads the league in rushing yards with 880.
“He is a physical runner and very patient, does a good job in finding holes,” said Micah Johnson, a defensive lineman with the Roughriders. “You got to be disciplined as a defense and as a d-line for everyone staying in the gap he will make you pay (for it) if you’re not in the gap.”
The run game is what makes Montreal a unique team to play. Something that the Roughriders will have to be ready for.
“Montreal’s willingness to stay with the run game, not a lot of CFL teams are not doing that,” said Johnson. “For us it’s just about winning first downs and stopping the run.”