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TORONTO — The biggest weekend of the CFL’s regular season is upon us and you might be able to see the tension of these games reflected in how the panel of pickers went this week.
Week 12 of the season was, to put it delicately, a struggle when it came to picks. The group went in as a whole on the Edmonton Elks defending their home turf against an Ottawa REDBLACKS team that it handled on the road a week earlier. That of course, did not come to fruition. The Elks’ home loss was the capper on a tough-to-predict week that saw no one do better than a 2-2 finish, while three of our writers went 1-3.
With the traditional OK Tire Labour Day Weekend games on deck, there was near unanimity with the picks this week. Montreal, Winnipeg, Toronto and Calgary got the majority of the votes this week, but we have some dissension in the ranks.
Let’s take a look at who went rogue and possibly why.
OK TIRE LABOUR DAY WEEKEND
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OTT at MTL
The writers like the Als at home this week and that makes a lot of sense. The Als are coming off of a pair of impressive wins, having handed the Bombers their sole loss of the season, then following that up with a last-second field goal win over the Ticats before they went into their bye week. A rested Als team welcomes in a REDBLACKS squad that, under quarterback Nick Arbuckle, picked up just its second win of the season in Edmonton. While Arbuckle and the REDBLACKS are talking new half of the season, new us, the writers tend to fall in the believe-it-when-we-see-it mindset.
Writers: 83% Montreal
Fans: 91% Montreal
WPG at SSK
As CFL.ca’s Jamie Nye points out in his weekly predictor column, homefield is an advantage on Labour Day. He wrote that over the last 10 seasons, regardless of teams records going into the game, the home teams in the Sunday/Monday rivalry games are a combined 23-5, with the Argos and Ticats not meeting on Labour Day in 2011 and 2013. That’s one stat to throw out if you want to go green this week. If you want to go Blue and Gold, history and records are on your side. Consider that the Bombers swept the season series with the Riders last year — including taking the Labour Day weekend game at Mosaic — and look at the Bombers’ sensational d-line going up against a Riders o-line that’s left much to be desired this year and it’s easy to lean toward the defending champs. Who’d they top to get to those Grey Cup games the last two seasons? Oh right.
Writers: 66% Winnipeg
Fans: 76% Winnipeg
TOR at HAM
At this point, as they ready to meet for the fourth time in five weeks, the Argos and Ticats probably see each other when they close their eyes to go to sleep at night. Despite their historical success at home in this game, it feels like an uphill battle for a wounded Ticats team this week. Dane Evans and Matthew Shiltz are dealing with injuries, which leaves the inexperienced duo of Jamie Newman and Jalen Morton assuming control of the offence against an Argos team that ran away with last week’s game the second that Shiltz was injured and left the game. You may look at this week’s picks and see Chris O’Leary taking the Ticats and wonder what he’s thinking, while also taking the REDBLACKS and the Riders. Well, Chris O’Leary is feeling saucy this week, folks, simple as that.
Writers: 83% Toronto
Fans: 59% Hamilton
EDM at CGY
There’s no uncertainty here with the writers and that’s likely based on the strong play of Jake Maier against the Bombers last week. There’s that and the fact that the Stamps ran away with a 49-6 win in Edmonton the last time these teams met in Week 5. The Elks have shown they’re more than capable of giving teams a tough game most weeks, but their unpredictability — and that the Elks are now 0-7 against divisional opponents — even kept the sauciest of our pick makers away from this one.
Writers: 100% Calgary
Fans: 95% Calgary