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Week 18 has three of four games with definite playoff implications.
So let’s get the other game out of the way, which is a tilt between the Ottawa REDBLACKS and Toronto Argonauts.
Ottawa quarterback Will Arndt will make his first start this week.
The second half of the doubleheader on Friday is easily the game of the week.
The 10-4 Roughriders will travel to Calgary to take on the 9-5 Calgary Stampeders. The winner of this game takes top spot in the West with three weeks left.
Calgary won 37-10 over Saskatchewan earlier this season so it’ll be a stretch for the Riders to take the season series with a 28+ point win, but a win by the Riders puts them in the drivers seat to host their first Western Final since 2009.
Saturday’s doubleheader showcases the Montreal Alouettes and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The Bombers need to show some flashes because their three game losing streak has Bomber faithful losing hope.
Chris Streveler has growing pressure to prove he can take this team to where it appeared Matt Nichols was taking them. Streveler has lost four of his last five starts. Another problem for Winnipeg is Andrew Harris has been reigned in by opposing defences since he returned from suspension.
The Alouettes have an outside shot at catching Hamilton for first but Montreal needs to keep their momentum going as they’ve already guaranteed a home playoff game and don’t want to start coasting to the post-season.
And the final game of the week is a true test to how far the BC Lions have come as they visit the Edmonton Eskimos. It’s also a test how far the Eskimos have fallen.
Earlier this season the Eskimos were able to beat up on BC and Mike Reilly struggled against his former team.
Now the Eskimos have lost five of their last six and BC has won four straight. The Lions playoff hopes hinge on a win this weekend or their dream of a shocking run to the playoffs would be over.
Ottawa at Toronto
Friday, 7:00 p.m. ET
What do you believe in? Will Arndt will be highly motivated to prove himself with his first start at quarterback. The Argonauts will be charged up by Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons now on board as the general manager.
I know what I’m doing. I’m looking back at Week 13 and seeing the Argonauts roll over the REDBLACKS.
PICK: TORONTO (25 confidence bonus)
Saskatchewan at Calgary
Friday, 9:30 p.m. ET
I can’t wait for kickoff of this one as the two rivals square off. The Roughriders have won nine of their last 10 games and continue to show a team building the right direction.
The most impressive part of the Riders has been the defence over the last stretch of games and they continue to make more plays and continue to harass the quarterback by bringing pressure from everywhere.
The Stampeders continue to win but they’re also making more mistakes than we’ve come to expect from the defending Grey Cup Champs.
PICK: SASKATCHEWAN (30 confidence bonus)
Montreal at Winnipeg
Saturday, 4:00 p.m. ET
The Blue Bombers are still in the race for top spot in the West but they need a spark if they are going to scare anyone down the stretch.
The key has to be getting Andrew Harris rolling again. Teams have keyed in on him but last time out against Montreal, Harris rattled off 188 yards of offence. The Alouettes also had a hard time containing Chris Streveler for the first three quarters.
Of course the last time these two went head to head, Montreal scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to comeback and win one of the most thrilling finishes of the year.
I think the Bombers can rebound from a three game losing streak at home.
PICK: WINNIPEG (40 confidence bonus)
BC at Edmonton
Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ET
The Edmonton Eskimos are beat up and the BC Lions are rolling.
Yes, the Lions have four straight wins with two against Ottawa, one against Toronto and one against the Alouettes without Vernon Adams Jr. at quarterback
The Eskimos though have struggled with Logan Kilgore at quarterback. Edmonton won twice over BC in the first third of the season but both these teams have changed plenty since then.
The Lions hope they can carry the momentum into Commonwealth Stadium.
I do believe this will be the toughest test for the Lions offence against the Eskimos defensive line. John White, however, will want to prove some of the brass wrong.
PICK: BC (30 confidence bonus)
Week 18 lineup: