June 19, 2019

Weekly Predictor: An upset (or three) for Week 2

Shannon Vizniowski/CFL.ca

Week 2 features three games as it’s the first of the multiple bye weeks, so you have a game a day from Thursday through Saturday featuring the Toronto Argonauts’ debut with new head coach Corey Chamblin and new starting quarterback James Franklin.

The Argos kick off the season against their QEW rival, Hamilton. The Tiger-Cats are coming off an opening week win over Saskatchewan despite seeing Jeremiah Masoli have an off night throwing the football.

The Riders head to Ottawa trying to recover from that loss, with the quarterbacking duo of Cody Fajardo and Isaac Harker tasked to replace the injured Zach Collaros. It’s also a homecoming for William Powell to face his former team for the first time.

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On Friday night, the Edmonton Eskimos welcome a familiar face with Mike Reilly and the BC Lions coming into Commonwealth Stadium. The Eskimos are 1-0 with Reilly’s replacement Trevor Harris throwing for over 400 yards and three touchdowns. Reilly’s debut with BC was not as impressive in a loss to Winnipeg.

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Here are my picks for Week 2:

Saskatchewan at Ottawa
Thursday | 7:30 p.m. ET

With Collaros out, William Powell‘s role will be central to the Riders’ hopes (Johany Jutras/CFL.ca)

No Zach Collaros for the Riders means you could see another healthy dose of William Powell. But Powell won’t mind a bigger workload against the REDBLACKS, who Powell was surprised didn’t seem interested to match other offers in the off-season. It’ll be interesting to see how Head Coach Craig Dickenson works his tandem of quarterbacks. He said you’ll see both Cody Fajardo and rookie Isaac Harker.

Ottawa comes off the rare win in Calgary and an even rarer victory in a game where Dom Davis threw four interceptions. Usually that’s a night that ends terribly for a team but Ottawa overcame and the defence did a good job of holding off the Stampeders to allow the REDBLACKS’ offence and Davis to run in a game winning touchdown.

When I look at this, I see a Riders team that did everything other than turnover the ball against Hamilton. I think the Riders have the defence to keep them in it and it’s up to the quarterbacks to do enough to win. I think they do.

PICK: SASKATCHEWAN (25% confidence)

BC at Edmonton
Friday | 9:00 p.m. ET

Mike Reilly‘s return to the Lions didn’t start on the right foot in Week 1 (The Canadian Press)

The BC Lions will look at the game plan and immediately see they have more room to run and balance for the offence. A little more run game can allow Mike Reilly to use some play action and find some of his big targets down field. The biggest focus for the defence may not have to be Trevor Harris, but slowing down the run game after Andrew Harris had a big day last week. C.J. Gable may be licking his chops.

I’m not sure who will be more motivated to impress on Friday. Will it be Mike Reilly returning to Edmonton or Trevor Harris to show the Eskimos have the right quarterback?

The Eskimos definitely looked good in Week 1 but Mike Reilly will prove a much stiffer offensive test in Week 2.

PICK: BC (50% confidence)

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

Ticats receiver Brandon Banks has had the Argos’ number the last couple of years (Johany Jutras/CFL.ca)

It’s the Toronto Argonauts’ debut and it’s unclear what the team will look like with new faces around the lineup that join an elite group of talent like James Wilder Jr., S.J. Green, Armanti Edwards, Shawn Lemon, and Cleyon Laing.

Corey Chamblin has his work cut out for him but the Argonauts went out and brought in some all-star talent to try and boost a group that is trying to prove 2018’s disaster wasn’t the norm but it’s a group that can still taste what it’s like to drink out of the Grey Cup.

Hamilton is hoping they’ve busted away some rust and look a lot more like the team that was near the top of the league in offensive yards last season.

Looking back at the history of teams coming off a Week 1 bye, they are 2-3 since Ottawa joined the league in 2014. Although, they have won back to back games.

I’m picking three upsets this week!

PICK: TORONTO (35% confidence)

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Week 2 lineup:

What does my Fantasy team look like? Well…. I’m thinking a Mike Reilly air show in Edmonton could pay off.