CFL Week 20 Preview: Garry Peters pushes for Most Outstanding Defensive Player award against Calgary Stampeders

2RH1A73 Vancouver, Canada. 12th Aug, 2023. Calgary Stampeders' Marken Michel, front, is tackled by B.C. Lions' Garry Peters after making a reception during the second half of a CFL football game, in Vancouver, on Saturday, August 12, 2023. Credit: The Canadian Press/Alamy Live News

• BC CB Garry Peters for Most Outstanding Defensive Player award? He has yet to allow a touchdown and has four interceptions and 11 forced incompletions. He allows a passer rating of just 47.5 in coverage, the lowest among all outside corners.

• Roughriders EDGE Anthony Lanier II hopes to get back to pre-injury form: Though 14 weeks he had a pass rush grade of 87.3 and a pass rush win rate of 21.4%, both of which led the CFL. But in his two games since returning from injury, he has a pass rush grade of just 64.0 and a win rate of 8.5%.

• Huge season for Edmonton EDGE Jake Ceresna: His pass rush grade of 83.6 ranks fourth among edge rushers and his 64 total pressures are 24 more than he recorded last season. Ceresna’s pass rush win rate of 15.6% is the fourth-best mark in the league.

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes 

WR:CB Matchup Chart

 


CALGARY STAMPEDERS VS. BRITISH COLUMBIA LIONS

After beating Saskatchewan last week, Calgary now finds itself in a great position to overtake the Roughriders for that final playoff spot. A win against BC coupled with a Saskatchewan loss to Toronto would lock them into that spot. That won’t be an easy feat, however. The BC Lions are still playing for the top seed in the West Division and won’t be resting any starters. That means Calgary will have to deal with the highest-graded player in the CFL, QB Vernon Adams Jr. (91.5 season grade). The Stampeders will have to slow down EDGE Mathieu Betts' (89.7 pass-rush grade and 85 total pressures, both first in the CFL) elite pass-rush ability. They’ll need QB Jake Maier to improve on his last three weeks of play (63.9 overall grade). It won’t be easy for Calgary, but when the playoffs are on the line, nothing ever is.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: LT JARELL BROXTON, BRITISH COLUMBIA VS. EDGE JULIAN HOWSARE, CALGARY

When kept clean, BC QB Adams Jr. has a 92.7 passing grade. When pressured, that drops to 63.8. It’s clear that Calgary needs to put pressure on Adams if it wants any chance of winning this game. That’s where Howsare comes in. The edge rusher ranks sixth at the position with an 80.6 pass-rush grade. His 56 total pressures rank eighth in the league. He is Calgary’s best, but he’ll have his work cut out for him against Broxton. The star left tackle has matched up with Howsare on 22 pass rushes this season. He was defeated on just one of those, and there wasn’t even a pressure recorded. Broxton’s 97.3 season-long pass-blocking efficiency score ranks second among CFL LT’s. He’s not easy to get past, and if he has Howsare’s number again, it could be a long night for this Stampeder’s defense.

PLAYER TO WATCH: CB GARRY PETERS, BRITISH COLUMBIA

While other defenders have gotten more attention this season, Peters has continuously been one of the top defenders in the league. The corner has a season grade of 85.9, which ranks third among all defensive players in the CFL. Nobody in the CFL has been targeted more than Peters, and yet he’s tied for eighth in receptions allowed and 11th in yards allowed. He has yet to allow a touchdown and has four interceptions and 11 forced incompletions. He allows a passer rating of just 47.5 in coverage, the lowest among all outside corners. If he can finish this game and the regular season without allowing a touchdown, there’s no doubt that he’ll be in discussion for the Most Outstanding Defensive Player award.


TORONTO ARGONAUTS VS. SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS

If the Roughriders want a chance at the playoffs, this could be it. A loss here coupled with a Calgary win in either of their last two games means that they are in and Saskatchewan is out. This team has lost six straight games, so it's going to have to dig deep and end this slump. Over that span, QB Jake Dolegala has been one of the lowest-graded quarterbacks in the CFL, posting a 61.7 passing grade and a league-leading 11 turnover-worthy throws. A possible bright side for Saskatchewan is that it is playing a Toronto team that has absolutely nothing to play for. The Argonauts will likely be resting or limiting snap counts for plenty of their top players as they just try to stay healthy for the playoffs. The flip side of that is that Toronto has been doing that for weeks now and has still found ways to win all but one game.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: WR SAMUEL EMILUS, SASKATCHEWAN VS. CB QWAN’TEZ STIGGERS, TORONTO

Toronto’s Stiggers has been a rookie sensation this season. Stiggers has an 81.5 season grade, which ranks fourth among all outside corners in the league. He’s put the clamps on some of the league’s best, as he's recorded four interceptions and nine forced incompletions. Can he do the same on Saskatchewan’s top receiver? While Emilus isn’t grading as one of the top receivers, he’s still very dangerous. He’s second in the league with 12 contested catches and ranks fifth with 30 explosive receptions. If he can’t get anything going against Stiggers, the Roughriders offense will struggle to get anything going.

PLAYER TO WATCH: EDGE ANTHONY LANIER II, SASKATCHEWAN

Prior to injuring his hip, Lanier was having an All-Star-level season. Though 14 weeks he had an 87.3 pass rush grade and a 21.4% pass rush win rate, both of which led the CFL. Nonetheless, in his two games since returning from injury, he has a 64.0 pass-rush grade and a 8.5% win rate. It’s clear that he hasn’t quite gotten back to his top form, but he’ll need to if he wants to help his team win and keep their playoff hopes high. The Roughriders have a league-low 62.4 team coverage grade when they don’t record any pressure, but that grade jumps to 75.2 when they do. This Roughriders defense needs pressure, and Lanier was their best at it. If he can return to form, that could be just the bump they need.


EDMONTON ELKS VS. WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS

A Winnipeg win means a first-round bye and a Western Division Finals at their home stadium. That’s what they’re playing for while the Elks are simply playing for pride. Winnipeg will be without star WR Dalton Schoen (81.1 receiving grade, number one ranked WR) but it still has plenty of offensive stars. QB Zach Collaros (90.0 season grade) and RB Brady Oliveira (88.2) are both in the running for Most Outstanding Player. Edmonton is simply looking to end its season on a high note. QB Tre Ford has come back down to earth after an incredible start, posting a 91.7 overall grade in his first three games and a 69.9 in the six games since. Still, there’s a lot to build on with Ford and a good game by him going into the offseason would be great news for both him and the Elks.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: LT STANLEY BRYANT, WINNIPEG VS. EDGE JAKE CERESNA, EDMONTON

While Bryant has taken a bit of a step back this year, he’s still more than capable of shutting down top opposing pass-rushers. Bryant has allowed just two sacks all year and has a 97.1 pass-blocking efficiency score, which ranks third among left tackles. Ceresna, meanwhile, has taken a big step forward as a pass-rusher this season. His 83.6 pass-rush grade ranks fourth among edge rushers, and his 64 total pressures are 24 more than he recorded last season. Ceresna’s 15.6% pass rush win rate is the fourth-best mark in the league. He’s going to need a big game to get past Bryant, but if he can, he’ll give his defense a shot at getting this high-powered Bombers offense off the field.

PLAYER TO WATCH: WR NIC DEMSKI, WINNIPEG

It’s been a career year for the veteran receiver, and he only needs 31 yards to break the 1,000-yard mark for the first time. Not only that, but a strong finish could bolster his case for being named to the CFL All-Star Team for the first time in his career. Demski has a 75.3 season grade, which is the third-best for any receiver in the league. He’s forced 11 missed tackles and averages 1.93 yards per route run. Quarterbacks have a rating of 134.0 when targeting Demski, the fourth-highest mark in the CFL. With Schoen out possibly for the rest of the regular season, Demski should see even more targets and have a chance to really stamp his case as one of the best receivers in the CFL this season.

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