TORONTO — It’s only fitting that on Thanksgiving weekend, your proverbial football plate is full, too.
Week 10 of the CFL season boasts five games, with the Toronto Argonauts getting things underway on Wednesday night, when they host the Ottawa REDBLACKS.
Even here, where one thing had been certain for five consecutive games, there’s uncertainty for the CFL.ca writers tasked with making weekly picks.
What do you make of Wednesday’s game? The REDBLACKS didn’t look like their old selves last week when they took down the Edmonton Elks for the second time this season. Caleb Evans proved an unlikely spark (we’ve all seen how rookie QBs fare when they get a mid-season start on a struggling team) for a team that was desperately in need of one. The REDBLACKS had life at TD Place last week, doing damage in all three phases of the game. Can they carry that energy into BMO Field, where the Argos are a perfect 3-0 this season?
You could waffle back and forth on Calgary and Saskatchewan too. The Riders have been the better team overall through the season, but the Stamps had just enough in the tank last week to pick up a win and inch themselves back into the mix in the West. The Riders have shown flashes of brilliance this season, especially at home. That’s tough to pick against.
Then you have the two teams that play on Wednesday suiting up again on Monday. Will the Argos or REDBLACKS be able to get back on a field five days after their prior game and beat more rested opponents?
Three of our writers are a few wise choices away from cracking the .500 mark. Could this be their week?
OTT at TOR
As we mentioned above, the Argos are tough at home and should be a difficult opponent for the REDBLACKS. We’ve seen it on numerous teams this season that have turned to rookie pivots, with Jake Maier possibly being the exception: It will become a bumpy ride at points, as the learning curve for a starter is so steep. Evans was great last week against Edmonton. If he’s able to build off of his debut, his team will have a shot on Wednesday. If there are struggles — even against a Toronto defence that isn’t particularly opportunistic — a win becomes that much harder to get.
Writers: 100% Toronto
EDM at WPG
The Bombers have shown themselves to be on another level this season, with last week’s sound handling of the BC Lions serving as their most recent example. Zach Collaros may miss Kenny Lawler, who racked up 200-plus receiving yards last week, but the Bombers are a competent and versatile machine that finds ways to get to you despite its limitations. The Elks are hurting, having become the REDBLACKS’ sole source of wins this season. Trevor Harris should be back in action, but even when Harris has been at the helm, Edmonton’s offence has been unreliable. Up against a shutdown Winnipeg defence, that spells trouble.
Writers: 100% Winnipeg
CGY at SSK
The Riders would like to be in a game this week that doesn’t involve them up against it on the final drive, hoping against hope that they can pull out some magic. It’s more than possible with this group, provided Cody Fajardo can spread the ball around for big plays to more receivers than Kian Schaffer-Baker. The Stamps will hope that Bo Levi Mitchell is healthy enough to go. He could also use the help of Kamar Jorden and Josh Huff, who sat out last week’s loss. The panel of writers likes the Riders at home.
Writers: 83% Saskatchewan
OTT at MTL
The Als played on Saturday, but will be comparatively well rested when they host the REDBLACKS on Monday. Montreal handled them well in their last meeting, hanging 51 points on them a month ago, but this Ottawa team is a little more unpredictable right now. For an Alouettes team seeking consistency, this is a good test. Handle the younger, more inexperienced (and probably tired) opponent at home, build some momentum and start to get your season going in the direction you want it to.
Writers: 83% Montreal
TOR at HAM
The Tiger-Cats are in the same situation as the Als, in that they played on Saturday and have a week-plus to get ready for an opponent that comes to them five days removed from a game. Last week’s loss stung for the Ticats, who let their 11-game home winning streak fizzle out in overtime against the Als. A longer week of practice for the newly-returned Jeremiah Masoli, Bralon Addison and Brandon Banks should help the offence, as should home field and the extra days of rest. The panel sees the Ticats getting a win and the race in the East getting a little murkier.
Writers: 100% Hamilton