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TORONTO — In the same way that the humidity in southern Ontario continues to find ways to make these final days of summer a little hotter, the tension is ratcheting up amongst the panel of writers that make the weekly picks.
A quick glance at Jamie Nye’s Weekly Predictor column will tell you as much. A file named ‘Week 4 incorrect picks’ landed at CFL.ca’s digital doorstep this week and inside was a dissection of the term expert — which excluded our actual expert, Marshall Ferguson — and the suggestion of rhyming the panelists names (ie. Chris O’Leary = Pick ‘Em Bleary) in lieu of having any expertise applied to them.
As we wade into the fourth week of the CFL season, it’s been a tough go in the prediction business. We had a rookie QB fill in for the injured Bo Levi Mitchell, shake off the two early interceptions that most of us would have expected, then stun viewers by leading the Stamps to a win over the Alouettes. We’ve seen Edmonton break through with the offensive performance we’d been waiting for, but do it at the expense of a Lions’ team that seemed to have hit a groove the week before. After two weeks of the Bombers looking unstoppable, the Argos gave Nick Arbuckle the reins of the offence and the Argos went out and punched the biggest kid in the CFL schoolyard right in the nose.
This week will likely be no different (maybe by saying that it will; there’s an uncertainty around everything right now, it seems). The one team that the panel could count on, the undefeated Saskatchewan Roughriders — is on a bye this week.
With that, we present you the Week 4 picks with the same trepidation that a blindfolded person might have as they walk into traffic.
HAM at MTL
The Ticats will come into Molson Stadium rested and hungry, fresh off of a bye week and sitting on a 0-2 record. The last winless team in the league will play with an urgency to get in the win column. The Als have lots to prove too, with penalties hurting them in Week 2 and crippling them in Week 3. They’ll have a home crowd behind them for the first time this season, which should carry some weight for them.
Writers: Split 50%
BC at OTT*
Rick Campbell returns to Ottawa, where both his current and former team could use a win. The REDBLACKS seem determined to play a grind-it-out, wear-you-down defensive game and it’s worked half of the time for them so far. The key for BC in what should be a raucous environment at TD Place will be to give Michael Reilly the time to do what he does so well. The Lions only surrendered three sacks in last week’s loss to Edmonton, but it felt like there was non-stop pressure on Reilly.
Ottawa, conversely, gave up six sacks in their loss to the Riders. The song remains the same for the REDBLACKS: Some offensive production would go a long way to getting them above .500 this week.
* Note that Marshall Ferguson abstained from a pick in this game as he’s calling it for TSN.
Writers: 83% BC
CGY at WPG
Despite the positive result against Montreal last week, Jake Maier‘s second start might somehow feel more daunting than his first. The Bombers’ defence has made a tasty meal out of some good, veteran QBs this season. Their pass rush comes quickly and forces quick decisions. Knocking off this Bombers team at home is a lot to ask of someone in their second start. Maier answered the call last week. Can he do it twice?
Writers: 83% WPG