Its mid-way through the 2017 CFL season and the Toronto Argonauts sit in first place in the very mediocre East Division with a 4-5 record. But if at the beginning of the season you asked me if I’d be content with that I would have given you an unequivocal YES.
We can talk about injuries, but the truth is every team is dealing with them. But hats off to Toronto’s defense that has seen all but one starter on their defensive line hit the 6-game injured list and yet shut down Montreal for 6 straight quarters. Whatever you might think of the Alouettes offense, that is an accomplishment worth bragging about.
As bodies begin to return and you hope other bodies don’t get hurt Cory Chamblin defense should be a force to reckon with.
In terms of win and losses if you’re only going to win 4 of 9 football games its best you win them against your divisional opponents. Toronto is currently 4-1 against the East with their only blemish being a loss to Montreal without starting quarterback Ricky Ray.
Which leads me directly to my next point, Ricky Ray has been nothing short of spectacular this season. He and SJ Green have are so locked in right now it’s unbelievable they have played only 8 games together. Keeping Ray and for that matter SJ Green healthy and on the field are critical for any success the Argos hope to achieve this season. Yes I know that isn’t shocking news, but it’s just reality. If Ray goes down we will here next man up conversation but deep down everyone will know the team will be hard pressed to continue to win football games.
With a healthy Ray and a healthy SJ Green I expect the Argonauts to sweep their remaining 3 games vs East division opponents. Those 3 games include 2 against Hamilton at Tim Hortons Field and one vs Montreal at BMO.
The caveat here is Toronto success or lack thereof of on the road. Throw the Ray-less game in the garbage but late quarter execution resulting in losses against Winnipeg and Saskatchewan will need to improve if Toronto wants to be put in the conversation with other good teams in the league. Completing drives for touchdowns rather than settling for field goals wasn’t a problem last week against Montreal and it can’t be again the rest of season.
Such a strong record within your division will if not win your division but at least guarantee you a home playoff game. And that is a proud and reasonable goal for Toronto this season. A home playoff game – even against a likely West Division crossover – would really help the Double Blue establish BMO Field as a home for the Argos. I have no doubt the city will rally around that game and begin what is hopefully the stabilization of the franchise.
Of course there are other games to play. Before the Labour Day Classic with Hamilton is a road game this week against Calgary and a week 13 home game against Edmonton who you would assume will be form a roster slightly healthier than they are now. The results their will likely tell you how Toronto will end up this season.
But again with all the turnover throughout the entire organization let alone only the players on the field if Toronto is headed towards a .500 season slightly above or below and the opportunity to win a home playoff game consider 2017 a success.
And if you really want to get greedy remember that last year’s champs up in Ottawa finished their season 8-9-1.
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