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October 6, 2021

Weekly Predictor: Riding with the Roughriders

The Canadian Press

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Week 10 brings with it so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving Week(end).

Let’s start with the five CFL games that will be capped off with a doubleheader on Thanksgiving Monday.

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Also for a trio of teams, they’ll be thankful that the CFL.ca ‘experts’ were unanimous on three games, almost ensuring Wednesday night’s Toronto/Ottawa game will most definitely go for the REDBLACKS, the Elks will get their third win against Winnipeg and Toronto will get the benefit of the ‘expert-jinx’ with a win on Thanksgiving Monday over Hamilton.

But now, I will lay out my sound and flawed reasoning for my five selections, including the three games mentioned above.

Ottawa at Toronto
Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. ET

Can McLeod Bethel-Thompson lead the Argos to victory this week? (Larry MacDougal/CFL.ca)

Caleb Evans was a jolt the REDBLACKS clearly needed behind centre as he was composed and elusive, making some key throws and using his legs to extend plays and drives. He also helped their defence be a little less relied upon and get a little more rest in game.

But now Chris Jones and the Argonauts defence have film on Caleb Evans and he can’t expect to surprise many defenders now with his ability.

The Argos were impressive last week in a dramatic win over Montreal as they’re still very much in the running to win the East Division.

McLeod Bethel-Thompson has always seemed to be the most productive quarterback the Argos have thrown out there the last two seasons. He gets another shot and should be even better than he was against Montreal.

PICK: TORONTO (25 confidence bonus)

Edmonton at Winnipeg
Friday, 8:30 p.m. ET

Rasheed Bailey and the Bombers are hoping to keep their winning streak going this week against the Elks (Jason Halstead/CFL.ca)

The Bombers were dealt with the off-field issue surrounding Kenny Lawler this week so Zach Collaros will be without his favourite target. However, Rasheed Bailey and Darvin Adams are more than capable to step into a larger role in this offence and get ready for the Bombers to run it a little bit more as the temperatures start to lower and they go back to their bread and butter on the ground.

I wouldn’t expect Collaros to throw for many more 400-yard games, nor need to in order to win.

The Elks appear that they’ll have Trevor Harris back behind centre, which should be a big boost to a team lacking a leader on offence. If Edmonton is going to upset the Bombers, it’ll have to be Harris and James Wilder Jr. slowing down the game, owning the time of possession and wearing down the Bombers defence.

If they can’t do that, it’ll be another long night for a Bomber opponent. Winnipeg gave up 22 against an Edmonton team that turned the ball over way too much a few weeks ago with Taylor Cornelius at quarterback. This was the game I was closest to taking the visiting team upset.

PICK: WINNIPEG (50 confidence bonus)

Calgary at Saskatchewan
Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ET

Cody Fajardo will lead the Riders hoping to get a win against Calgary this weekend (Matt Smith/CFL.ca)

We still don’t know who will play quarterback for the Stampeders in the rematch between these two teams. Bo Levi Mitchell sounds optimistic he’ll play but if his throwing shoulder is hampered at all, I wouldn’t be surprised if Jake Maier starts once again.

After going down 14-0 in the first quarter in Saturday’s loss to Calgary, the Riders started to take over that game and slowly chipped away to the point where they did have a chance to win on their final possession.

The Riders frustration boiled over to the point even the usually calm, cool quarterback Cody Fajardo let his feelings get the best of him in his post-game thoughts. That led to a contrite and apologetic quarterback who apologized to his receivers and his offence. I expect they’ll have their QB back and for the team to come out a lot better than they did in Calgary.

PICK: SASKATCHEWAN (75 confidence bonus)

Ottawa at Montreal
Monday, 1:00 p.m. ET

William Stanback leads the league in rushing yards with 677 and will look to add to that this weekend against Ottawa (Walter Tychnowicz/CFL.ca)

It’s not a friendly short week for the REDBLACKS to play Wednesday and Monday and both games are on the road. While I have them losing to Toronto on Wednesday, I could see them pulling off an upset, but not in their second game.

The Alouettes appear to be a different team when Khari Jones is on the sideline and a much more dangerous one. William Stanback and James Wilder Jr. appear to be the frontrunners for CFL All-Star at RB with a few weeks left and Adams Jr. can still improve after a big win in Hamilton.

The Alouettes defence was much better last week in their win against Hamilton so this might be the point in the season when the Als start to get on a bit of a run to contend atop the East.

PICK: MONTREAL (100 confidence bonus)

Toronto at Hamilton
Monday, 4:00 p.m. ET

In his second game since returning from injury, Jeremiah Masoli will look to get a win against the Toronto Argonauts (Jason Halstead/CFL.ca)

Jeremiah Masoli was back for the Tiger-Cats and it clearly showed he needed to break off some rust in their loss against Montreal. Bralon Addison and Brandon Banks were the same story.

Now that those three are back with an extra long week to prepare for Toronto, who are on a short week, I’m looking for another team in the East to find their stride in the second half of the season.

Again what’s missing in Hamilton is a quality and stable run game. They clearly missed it at the end of last year and they’ll need to find it this year.

As for the Argos chances of an upset, there is definitely one here, especially if some injures to the Tiger-Cats offensive line prevent them from protecting Masoli to the best of their abilities.

PICK: HAMILTON (50 confidence bonus)

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