TORONTO — It may be rare that you can pick up on swagger from a group of writers scattered across the country, but it’s there with the picks panel this week.
As has been documented in this space over the last few weeks, it’s been a speedbag-to-the-ego start to the season for CFL.ca’s prognosticators. Taking years of knowledge and up-close study of a league you’re passionate about and routinely having 0-for weeks can naturally take its toll on people and how they live their day-to-day lives (see Nye, Jamie).
Week 4’s three-game schedule provided the parting of the clouds we were all waiting for. Three of our writers went 3-0 last week* and no one came out of it with a losing record. This affirmation was desperately needed and we think (but what do we really know?) it could be the spark that gets our collective records back on track. It’s very fitting that the panel gets the chance to prove itself on the regular-season’s biggest stage, Mark’s Labour Day Weekend.
*About those writers. We go into the long weekend with a noticeable change to the picks panel. Marshall Ferguson, who called his first of what we hope will be many, many games this past week for TSN, has been replaced by CFL.ca’s Kristina Costabile. You may have noticed that Marsh abstained from making a pick in the Lions-REDBLACKS game since he was doing play-by-play on it for TSN. He’s slated for more games this season and was happy to open the door to a contributor that could freely make picks every week.
For those that don’t know, K.C. is CFL.ca’s deputy editor and is a fantasy and picks guru. She’s been talking about the ups and downs of both of those things weekly on CFL.ca this season. We’ve plugged in her record and will roll with her going forward.
Sometimes two teams find each other at just the right time. The REDBLACKS are reeling offensively, struggling to find the end zone and leaning on kicker Lewis Ward far too often. The Alouettes seem to have lost their way after an impressive debut against Edmonton in Week 2. There’s a rebound win to be had here for two slumping teams. If Matt Nichols or Dominique Davis — how much might we see of Ottawa’s backup this week? — can find the end zone, it could be Ottawa’s. If Vernon Adams Jr. settles into the game and lets things come to him, it could be Montreal’s rebound. This could be a big win for the team that gets it.
Writers: 66% Montreal
WPG at SSK
This should be the game that fans across the country have circled on their calendars. The undefeated Roughriders are at home and get to face the defending Grey Cup champs, the 3-1 Blue Bombers. For those of us with short memories, the Bombers eked their way to that Grey Cup game at the expense of the Riders in 2019’s Western Final, where Cody Fajardo‘s end-of-game pass bounced off of the crossbar on the uprights with time expired. Almost two years later, the Riders get another shot at the Bombers. Both teams are playing at a very high level right now, but that home crowd at Mosaic seems to have carried some weight in how picks were made.
Writers: 83% Saskatchewan
TOR at HAM
With Dane Evans at the helm for an injured Jeremiah Masoli, the Ticats looked like their 2019 selves against the Als last week. Evans sparked a stagnated offence into productivity and Frankie Williams left a big imprint on the game with defensive contributions and on special teams. Does Orlondo Steinauer go away from Evans if Masoli’s good to go on Monday, or does he ride with the guy that got the team its first win of the season? Not to be lost in this is the early success that the Argos have enjoyed. A win on Labour Day would put them at 3-1 and give them a little cushioning in the East standings.
The Argos had something of a surprise bye week thanks to the postponement of their Week 4 meeting with Edmonton, but rust shouldn’t be a huge issue for them. The idea of Nick Arbuckle getting his first start on Labour Day as an Argo is an exciting one and this team has been a pleasant surprise this season. We could see this one going either way, despite the loud crowd that awaits at Tim Hortons Field.
Writers: Split 50%
EDM at CGY
The Elks got back on the field on Wednesday, ending a 1o-day isolation period brought about by the rash of positive COVID-19 tests. Edmonton could be dealing with some serious rust, having not been able to practice for a week-and-a-half. They go into Calgary where Jake Maier has a win and a loss filling in for Bo Levi Mitchell but has handled himself exceedingly well in a very difficult role. The Elks seemed to have finally gotten their offence in a good place two weeks back in their win over the Lions. They go into their annual game in Calgary having lost there the last eight years. If they’re back at square one in any way, it could be a long holiday Monday for them.
Writers: 83% Calgary
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