Week 10 has Winnipeg trying to make more history, the Argonauts trying to put more distance between themselves and the rest of the East, the Lions and Stamps determining No. 2 in the West, and the Riders and Elks trying to shake off that losing feeling.
My biggest problem is trying to decide just how the back-to-back games shake out. It’s usually difficult to win two games in a row against the same team as the losing team has an easier time making the adjustments to counter the winning side.
Montreal at Winnipeg
Thursday, 8:30 p.m. ET
However, in saying that, I don’t have much optimism for the Alouettes to get their revenge on the Bombers.
The Bombers don’t lose. And they especially don’t lose at home. The only team to beat the Bombers at IG Field in the last three seasons were the 15-3 Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
While Zach Collaros hasn’t been nearly as mistake free as he was at the early portion of the season, he’s still leading the team to victories and is dealing with a banged up receiving corps. Though the return of Greg Ellingson is a sign things are turning around.
The optimism for Montreal has to be the first three quarters of last week’s game, however. 14-14 was a great showing for a team not many gave a chance last week and likely won’t give much of a chance this week.
The breakdowns in the fourth quarter felt like the same old, same old for the Alouettes this season.
I believe the Bombers will be a better team, though after 10 straight weeks without a bye, you wonder if the players will have a hard time not looking forward to a week off.
PICK: WINNIPEG (50 confidence bonus)
Toronto at Hamilton
Friday, 7:30 p.m.ET
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats did their best in the fourth quarter to give the Argonauts a victory. What could go wrong did go wrong for Hamilton with a blocked kick and an interception both being returned for touchdowns.
And, wouldn’t you know it, they lost by two touchdowns.
Dane Evans will be kicking himself again after late fourth quarter turnovers have led to losses this season. We’ll see if the Tiger-Cats do a little bit more of a two quarterback set like we saw two weeks ago and a little less of against Toronto last week.
Although, offensively, Hamilton was just fine last week aside from the untimely turnovers. But a -15 in the turnover ratio is a major issue for Hamilton. They clean that up and Toronto should be nervous at the top of the division.
Toronto has such a great opportunity to start taking full control of the division. Surprisingly, despite picking up Andrew Harris in the off-season, the Argos run game has been the least consistent part of the team.
Having Chris Edwards back on defence has been a big boost for the Argonauts. The All-Star made a huge play last week and the defence feels complete with him in the lineup.
Maybe after eight weeks of watching Hamilton and Dane Evans not clean up their act, I should know better, but I do feel the Tiger-Cats will get their stuff together. No better time to do it than the back half of a home-and-home against their rival.
PICK: HAMILTON (0 confidence bonus)
BC at Calgary
Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ET
This is by far the game of the week as we get to see two of the best teams in the league and the quarterback of today against the cagey veteran quarterback of the last decade.
The stats show that it’s a battle of the top two offences in the league but Nathan Rourke has been putting up the MOP numbers this season, while the Stampeders success continue to be giving the ball to the running back, whoever that may be.
What’s driving Calgary crazy is the amount of times they have to have Rene Paredes go out and kick field goals. Their scoring would be BC Lionsesque if they were able to complete drives this season.
But my pick has nothing to do with offence.
And it’s not one guy, it’s the entire group who are playing well.
PICK: BC (50 confidence bonus)
Saskatchewan at Edmonton
Saturday, 10:00 p.m. ET
The Saskatchewan Roughriders looked absolutely worn out and beaten up as they limped into their first bye week of the season on a three game losing streak.
To a man, they wanted to get out of the funk, see their families and I think we’ll see a refreshed and healthier group. Injuries and illness had 20 or so players on the injured list and the team is hoping to soon see some players back.
But, the offensive line needs to do a lot better job at protecting Cody Fajardo. They’ve allowed the most sacks this season. The Riders could lean more on Jamal Morrow after the break as the team is up there in terms of yards per carry at over five-yards per touch by the running backs. You can look to that against the Elks defence, who give up the most yards per carry.
The Elks didn’t have an answer last week against Nathan Rourke and I’m expecting this Elks team to start gaining some traction as the roster becomes a little more stable as the season progresses.
Edmonton’s quarterback play is just too inconsistent right now to see them making a big turnaround in the back half of their season. The 68.5 team QB efficiency is a big gap to the Ottawa REDBLACKS QBs, who are nearly 20 points better.
You are never going to win games if you can’t move the football and this Riders defence is still too good.
PICK: SASKATCHEWAN (50 confidence bonus)