September 14, 2017

Weekly Predictor: Can the REDBLACKS win without Harris?

The Canadian Press

Can the REDBLACKS win without Trevor Harris? Are the Ticats serious about making a run for a playoff start following an 0-8 start? Finally, has Jonathon Jennings found himself after his slow start and a season-ending injury to Travis Lulay?

There are plenty of questions heading into Week 13, all of which have significant bearing on who will come out on top.

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Without further delay, Nye makes his Week 13 picks.


Saskatchewan at Hamilton
Friday | 7:00 p.m. ET

The surging Ticats return home with hopes of extending their winning streak to three (The Canadian Press)

The Saskatchewan Roughriders may or may not have Kevin Glenn at quarterback, and it definitely evens the playing field if Brandon Bridge and Vernon Adams Jr. share the spot if Glenn can’t play. The Riders have been riding high, despite the 20-point loss to Winnipeg last week.

The Riders have a short week and a long trip to make, if you want to find more reasons to pick the Tiger-Cats in an upset, but I can’t do it.

Saskatchewan’s defence has been much improved over the last few weeks and should be able to make Jeremiah Masoli‘s life miserable. I do like Hamilton’s game plan of late, with an increased role for C.J. Gable and receiver Brandon Banks.

I don’t think that will be enough.

PICK: SASKATCHEWAN (80% confidence)

Edmonton at Toronto
Saturday | 4:00 p.m. ET

Ricky Ray and the Argos face a tough test off the bye, drawing Mike Reilly and the Esks (Jason Halstead/

The Toronto Argonauts are coming off the bye week with first place still in reach in the East Division with the Ottawa REDBLACKS losing both the game and Trevor Harris last week.

The Eskimos have lost four straight but the addition of Derel Walker to the receiving corps will create more problems for opposing defences.

I’ll be interested to see how Ricky Ray and the Argos’ offence as well as how their defence comes out of the bye week. If the Argos are as energetic as they were early with a lot of pressure on the quarterback, I’d pick Toronto. But deep down, I’m picking the Eskimos to finally end their streak.

PICK: EDMONTON (30% confidence)

BC at Calgary
Saturday | 7:00 p.m. ET

Jonathon Jennings and the Lions will have to fully embrace the underdog role in Calgary (Jimmy Jeong/

Jonathon Jennings may have shown that his benching for Travis Lulay got his attention. When Lulay was hurt on the second play of the game, Jennings played as though he wasn’t about to lose that starting job again. It was an impressive day for the Lions quarterback as they take a small lead for fourth and the crossover.

Now they have to do the same to Calgary, in Calgary. A place the Stampeders just don’t lose. The Stampeders’ offensive line has been so good this season, while the Lions’ has been in the bottom half of the league for sacks and pressures.

I’m going with the Stamps at home to stretch it to a 10-1-1 record, while the BC Lions could be looking outside the playoff picture if the Riders win Friday night.

PICK: CALGARY (50% confidence)

Ottawa at Montreal
Sunday | 1:00 p.m. ET

REDBLACKS pivot Drew Tate has a major task ahead of him replacing Trevor Harris (The Canadian Press)

Drew Tate takes over the REDBLACKS’ offence as Trevor Harris is now on the six-game injured list due to a shoulder injury.

Meanwhile, changes have arrived for the Montreal Alouettes, who have struggled to win in 2017.

If this game was a week ago, I would have thought picking Ottawa was obvious. Now, not so much. The REDBLACKS’ defence isn’t bad; it’s usually their offence that lets them down.

I think the offence drops in Ottawa with Tate at the helm and some mistakes by the REDBLACKS put Montreal in some favourable situations.

PICK: MONTREAL (10% confidence)


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DraftKings Week 13 lineup

Ricky Ray and S.J. Green have a good matchup against the Edmonton Eskimos, who are allowing a lot of points and have injuries on the back end. Also, Ray and Green are consistently putting up decent numbers — if they do have to come from behind, it leads to more throwing and more target opportunities for Green.

Mossis Madu Jr. has had himself a great couple of weeks in a row and you always have to watch for William Powell, but Madu appears to have taken charge in the REDBLACKS’ backfield. With Drew Tate at quarterback, I’m curious to see if Madu is even more predominant as check downs and screens for Tate should mean a lot of high percentage throws for the back-up.

Kienan LaFrance had a decent start last week against Winnipeg and could have been even busier if the Riders weren’t playing from behind. Against the Tiger-Cats, I think LaFrance will get the opportunity for more work (I’m assuming right now Brandon Bridge starts. If Kevin Glenn starts, I’m making sure I have Duron Carter or Naaman Roosevelt and Glenn in my lineup against Hamilton).

Derel Walker IS A MUST PLAY with the salary where it is right now; he is going to score way more than that and allow you more flexibility to play a higher-priced quarterback and other positions.

Bryan Burnham has been one of my favourite receivers this season as he has big play ability and he catches most of the balls thrown his way. Jonathon Jennings is trying to carry over a good performance from last week and without Travis Lulay, the Lions will need Jennings to find his game from 2016. I think he’s up for it.

Playing the Montreal defence is going on a hunch. The numbers aren’t there for the defence but with Drew Tate starting, I see the opportunity for turnovers and a bit of lull in Ottawa production of offence. The Riders’ defence against Hamilton is the smart play.