For the second time in as many games, the Edmonton Eskimos will take on a high-profile former teammate. Last Saturday, Odell Willis made his way back to Commonwealth Stadium in an unusually quiet game for the two-time all-star defensive end. This week, the Eskimos are hoping to silence their former backup quarterback James Franklin.
It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. A frightening injury to Toronto Argonauts future Hall of Fame quarterback Ricky Ray has thrust Franklin into a starting role. The Edmonton Eskimos will be bringing their 2-1 record into Toronto where the Argonauts are still searching for their first win after 2 games.
This is just one of the storylines to watch as the Argonauts play host to the Eskimos on Saturday, July 7th. Kickoff is 5:30 PM EST on TSN.
High Profile Off-Season Signing
It is rare to find a more sought after backup than James Franklin was this past off-season. The Argonauts were able to sign the coveted pivot after acquiring his rights from Edmonton last December.
As the Eskimos iron man quarterback Mike Reilly’s former understudy, Franklin didn’t see a lot of game action in Edmonton. With limited action, he was successful in his short stint with the Eskimos. In his three seasons and 12 starts with Edmonton, Franklin completed 66% of his passes for 1,450 yards. More importantly, however, he threw for 12 touchdowns and only 1 interception during that time.
Defence Wins Football Games
The Eskimos have lost several projected defensive starters in this young season to injury. However, the makeshift unit has performed well lately. After a slow start last week against the BC Lions, the defence was dominating for the final two-and-a-half quarters.
A key matchup to watch will be how James Franklin handles the Eskimos defence. The Eskimos lead the league with 4 interceptions in three games this season. Additionally, they are a tied for second in the CFL with 8 quarterback sacks. It could be a long day for Franklin as the Argonauts offensive line has struggled early in the season.
On the other side of the ball, the Argos will have their hands full with QB Mike Reilly and his long list of weapons on offence. If the Argos are going to win this game, they are going to have to stop the Eskimos aggressive running attack.
Ground Attack Key To Victory For Both Teams
A pair of terrific running backs will go head to head in this matchup. Eskimos two-timall-starar CJ Gable is coming off a monster game a week ago. It was a bruising running performance that saw Gable rumble for 165 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. Gable should get a heavy dose of the football in this one.
On the Argonauts side of the ball, expect running back James Wilder to see a lot of touches also. Fresh off of his Top Rookie performance in 2017 and Grey Cup victory, Wilder would love to have another big year in 2018. Although in the first two games this season, Wilder has yet to record a 100 yard game or a touchdown. Wilder could be poised to have a big day as Franklin starts his first game of the year.
What To Expect
After the Eskimos found their rhythm last week, expect another dominating performance against the reigning Grey Cup Champions. Although the Argonauts are rested and well coached, Edmonton has too many weapons for them to contain in this one.
Prediction: Eskimos 33 Argonauts 17
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