Welcome to the halfway point of the regular season.
The Riders have won four in a row, the REDBLACKS can’t score touchdowns and the BC Lions are in must-win territory — it’s been a crazy season, to say the least.
This #TotalPickEm column enters Week 11 with a 31-8 record; decent, but nowhere near the ridiculous 24-3 record we had after Week 7.
Friday | Winnipeg at Edmonton
A first-place showdown at Commonwealth Stadium between two teams with chips on their respective shoulder for very different reasons.
Trevor Harris and the Esks (6-3) are trying to prove that a group of strangers can come together and win a title, while Andrew Harris and the Bombers (7-2) are seeking to end a decades-long Grey Cup drought and in the short term prove they can live without injured QB Matt Nichols.
Buckle up for a big one in Alberta.
PICK: Edmonton, because Chris Streveler‘s record as a starter was 1-2 last season and the Esks defence is a scary proposition.
Saturday | Ottawa at Saskatchewan
Two teams trending in very different directions collide at Mosaic Stadium on Saturday, as the Riders (5-3) host the sliding REDBLACKS (3-6).
Cody Fajardo has led Saskatchewan to four wins on the hop, while Ottawa shuffled its offensive coaching staff this week after a disheartening effort in last week’s 21-7 loss to Hamilton at home.
PICK: Saskatchewan, because Ottawa has managed just 19 points over its last two games and Cody ‘Sprinkle of Jesus’ Fajardo seems to be the new chosen one on the prairies.
Saturday | Hamilton at BC
It’s do-or-die time for the BC Lions.
DeVone Claybrooks’ team sits at 1-8, four wins out of a playoff spot in the ultra-competitive West Division, as it gets ready to entertain the East-leading Hamilton Tiger-Cats (7-2) on Saturday night at BC Place.
If there were ever a time for the Lions to dig their heels in, get that extra defensive stop or signature TD pass, that time is now: BC had every chance to win its Week 9 game in Hamilton (35-34 L), and the Tabbies offence looked middle-of-the-road in Ottawa last week.
PICK: BC, because this column is due for an upset, this is the Canadian Football League and the quality of the Lions’ roster is not reflected in the team’s record.
Sunday | Toronto at Montreal (Touchdown Atlantic)
Bring some overalls because this divisional matchup is about to get dirty down in Moncton at Touchdown Atlantic.
This year’s edition of the Alouettes (4-4) is the most exciting in at least five years, with Vernon Adams Jr. at the helm and some serious playmakers on both sides of the ball; Toronto (1-7) is in a similar boat to the aforementioned Lions — needing a win, with some key divisional games ahead — and will be hungry to get a result in Moncton.
Should be a fun specialty game out East!
PICK: Montreal, because the Als’ playmakers are coming into their own on both sides of the ball and Toronto has struggled to put together a 60-minute effort this season.