It’s been a tale of two seasons for the Riders so far in 2017.
The first few weeks of the regular season, the team was not good. After a blowouts in Calgary and B.C., there was a feeling of “oh no, here we go again,” from some in Riderville as the team sat at 2-4 with their only wins coming against Eastern teams at home. Since then, the Riders have righted the ship by winning three games in a row before losing to Winnipeg on Saturday afternoon. All three of those wins came against Western teams, putting them back in playoff contention.
The question now is just who are the 2017 Saskatchewan Roughriders? It’s fair to suggest that they are not as bad as their first six games but they’re probably not as good as we saw over their three game winning streak either. If you had to pick one side or the other, they’re probably closer to team we saw in the first six games than we did during the winning streak. Odds are winning games on average 44-21 (with plenty of garbage time points given up, inflating the points allowed average) probably isn’t all that sustainable over the rest of the season. After all, three games is a small sample size and to make any kind of grand proclamations based that number of games is a bit much.
What we saw during the team’s winning streak was a correction. Before that burst, the Riders gave up big plays, rarely created a turnover, couldn’t pressure the quarterback and had consistency issues on offence. Suddenly, they could do it all and the other team had no answers. During the Banjo Bowl, the pendulum swung back toward the middle. How the team responds now will tell us a lot about them.
Winning five games through 10 games is probably where this team should be right now. They just took an interesting route getting there.
The Riders will now show us who they really are over their final eight games. They have no more bye weeks and injuries are staring to become a concern (ie Kevin Glenn, Marshall Cameron). The good news for the Green and White is over their final eight games they only play Western opponents three times, and just once in their next five games starting Friday in Hamilton. That being said the Eastern time zone hasn’t been very friendly to the Riders in recent years.
At this point, we’ve seen the best and the worst of the Riders in 2017. Just where do they actually belong along that spectrum? We’re about to find out.