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© 2023 CFL. All rights reserved.
© 2023 CFL. All rights reserved.
TORONTO — Get your popcorn ready.
The home-and-home series is something that CFL fans know well. It ran through the 2021 CFL schedule (in a pandemic-altered season, mind you) and we’ve seen it most recently with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Toronto Argonauts in Weeks 6 and 7. This week, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers put their 8-0 record on the line in Montreal against the Alouettes and then everyone heads west a week later to do it again at IG Field.
What we’re about to see with two classic CFL rivals though, is bigger than that.
On Saturday, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (and a chunk of their passionate fan base) will make the trek up the QEW to face the Toronto Argonauts at BMO Field. It’s the first of four (FOUR!) meetings between these teams in the next five weeks.
If familiarity breeds contempt, we should hit that mark by the end of Week 10’s outing at Tim Hortons Field. By the end of Week 13, with 240 minutes of on-field aggression logged between these two clubs, we could be at lifelong grudges and proclamations of scores being settled at Wrestlemania.
When the rubble clears from this interesting stretch in the schedule, the East Division may look considerably different than it does now. Don’t forget that in and around these four Argos-Ticats meetings, Hamilton sees Montreal twice. If you thought the East was hard to make picks in to this point in the season, just wait. It’s about to get much more difficult.
Let’s dive into this week’s slate of games.
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WPG at MTL
Some food for against-the-grain thought here: All streaks come to an end eventually, right? While the CFL.ca writers learned their lesson on choosing against the Bombers a few weeks back, you do wonder if the Bombers are a little vulnerable going into Montreal, where the Als picked up home wins against them in 2019 and in 2021 (Winnipeg rested its starters late in the season). Add in that the Bombers have yet to get a bye week and fatigue could be a factor as they look to run the table on the first half of their season. Food for with-the-grain thought: It’s very difficult to pick against a team that’s found a way week-in and week-out this year.
Writers 100% Winnipeg
CGY at OTT
Maybe it’s the similarly-coloured uniforms, or some sort of cosmic football power that’s greater than all of us at work. Regardless of the type of season either team is having, the Stampeders and REDBLACKS have almost always managed to put together excellent games when they link up. We’re hoping this week’s meeting at TD Place is no different. Caleb Evans is settling in nicely these last few weeks at QB and the REDBLACKS’ defence was impressive in eliminating the Argos’ run game. The challenge will be steeper this week against Bo Levi Mitchell and the Stamps, who have only been slowed this year by the Bombers. One brave soul in our panel thinks the REDBLACKS are up to the challenge.
Writers 83% Calgary
HAM at TOR
While you visualize these teams lining up like the dancers in Michael Jackson’s Beat It video at the start of this four-games-in-five-weeks stretch, the Argos and Ticats will try to keep their moves similarly sharp and accurate. The Ticats’ propensity to lose the ball has gotten lots of attention this season, but the Argos are right there with them in turnover ratio (-10 Toronto, -12 Hamilton) and fumbles lost (Toronto eight, Hamilton 10). It’s a simple narrative for this upcoming series, but the team that takes better care of the ball will likely be the one that comes out on top. The majority of the writers think that this week, it’ll be the Ticats.
Writers 66% Hamilton
EDM at BC
The Elks go back to the scene of their gutting Week 1 loss, set on getting a different outcome this time. Edmonton is getting healthier, but is in tough against a Lions team that’s only lost to the Bombers and is 3-1 at BC Place. The Elks are a much improved team since their first trip to Vancouver. It should be interesting to see just what Chris Jones concocts to throw at Nathan Rourke, who shook off a very good Roughriders’ defence in Week 8 to make 81.8 per cent of his passes in their win at Mosaic. The panel of pickers think Rourke and a very complete Lions team is going to be too much at home once again this week.
Writers: 100% BC