The defending Grey Cup-champion Edmonton Eskimos have been the CFL’s streakiest team this season. In forging a 7-7 record, they’ve twice endured three-game losing streaks. But with a victory Monday afternoon against the Als, the Eskimos will be on a three-game winning streak for the second time. Montreal won its first game under interim head coach Jacques Chapdelaine, but this team hasn’t won two straight since August 2015. Here are five players to watch:
John White: White missed the entire 2015 season with a torn Achilles, but has rebounded nicely this year and is the Eskimos’ leading rusher, having produced 533 yards on 119 carries while scoring five touchdowns. But he didn’t record a 100-yard rushing game until Sept. 30 against Winnipeg. Coincidentally, that came after White missed two games with a shoulder injury — and after Edmonton head coach Jason Maas declared Shakir Bell the team’s starting tailback. Bell has played only three games, but twice has produced 100-yard efforts.
Mike Reilly: The Eskimos’ quarterback remains the CFL’s passing leader this season — and the numbers are staggering. Reilly has thrown for 4,708 yards while completing 71 per cent of his attempts. He has 23 touchdowns and has been intercepted only 11 times. With four games remaining, he could pass for 6,000 yards. Reilly requires 292 against Montreal to become the first Edmonton pivot since Ricky Ray in 2008 to hit the 5,000-yard plateau. Reilly has passed for at least 300 yards in all but three games this season.
Adarius Bowman: Bowman might be the biggest reason why Reilly is the CFL’s passing leader. That’s because Bowman, predictably, leads all receivers with 103 catches for 1,497 yards while scoring eight touchdowns. Bowman already has recorded eight games of 100 yards or more. At 6-foot-3 and 217 pounds, Bowman provides Reilly with a formidable target. And it’s not like teams can concentrate on Bowman. That’s because teammate Derel Walker is the league’s second-leading receiver.
DeQuin Evans is pumped up for his debut with Montreal Alouettes
Brandon Rutley: The Als’ tailback returns to the starting lineup for the first time since Aug. 19, in Ottawa — only because Tyrell Sutton suffered a rib injury in the fourth quarter against Toronto last Sunday. Although the Als don’t traditionally run the ball extensively, Rutley provides the team with a different dimension. He’s more prone to try to make a defender miss, whereas Sutton is quite content trying to run an opponent over. Rutley has done more than an adequate job in the past as an emergency replacement.
DeQuin Evans: The veteran rush-end makes his season and Als’ debut against Edmonton after signing with Montreal as a free agent last February. The 6-foot-3, 264 pounder hopes to be an adequate third option coming off the edge, complementing John Bowman and Gabriel Knapton. Evans spent two seasons with Calgary and produced three quarterback sacks in nine games as a rookie in 2014, but has battled injury problems since. “DeQuin will bring some experience and has shown he can be successful in the CFL,” general manager Jim Popp said at the time of his signing.