While the National Football League prepares to open its preseason schedule this weekend, the Canadian Football League is just about to kick off Week 7 action tonight, as the BC Lions are set to host the league’s hottest team, the 4-1 Edmonton Eskimos.
Edmonton, led by head coach Chris Jones and quarterback Matt Nichols, is currently riding a four-game win streak and coming off a 30-5 victory over Saskatchewan on July 31st.
Edmonton opened up the 2015 campaign with a 26-11 loss to the Toronto Argonauts, but have followed that up with four straight victories. During the current four-game win streak, Edmonton has out-scored opponents 131-37 and averaged 32.8 points per game offensively.
Nichols has thrown for 958 yards with six touchdowns and five interceptions, but it’s really the defense that has stepped up big for Edmonton this season. As a team, the Eskimos have allowed the fewest total yards (300.0 per game) and passing yards (228.4 per game), and have surrendered a combined eight points over the last two weeks.
Edmonton has one of the league’s top defensive backs, Pat Watkins, who also happens to be a former fifth round pick of the Dallas Cowboys and started 10 games in five NFL seasons (four in Dallas, one in San Diego). Watkins, 32, is in his second season with the Eskimos and was an All-Star in 2014. Watkins, the CFL’s reigning Player of the Week after recording five tackles, one sack, two interceptions (one returned for INT touchdown), is tied for the league-lead in interceptions (3; tied with Winnipeg’s Johnny Adams).
As for the BC Lions (2-3), as a team they are allowing the most total yardage this season (439.0 per game) by a long shot, but on offense have one of the top ground games in the CFL (110.2 per game). Running back Andrew Harris leads the CFL with 401 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.
In 185 all-time match-ups between these two squads, Edmonton leads the series with a 105-76-4 record and Edmonton won the preseason match-up earlier this year, 18-13. You can check out tonight’s game (10 P.M. ET) on ESPN2.
Photo: Topher Seguin/The Canadian Press