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TORONTO — If you’re looking for a theme as we head into Week 14 action in the CFL, how about drama?
It’s there in the two Labour Day rematch games we’ll see with the Saskatchewan Roughriders traveling to Winnipeg and it’s there with the Calgary Stampeders making their way up to Edmonton to face the Elks.
There’s also oodles of it in Montreal, where Vernon Adams Jr. will return to Molson Stadium as a visitor, just a week after being traded by the Alouettes to the BC Lions.
Let’s jump back to the Labour Day foes for a quick minute. Both Winnipeg and Calgary have shown their dominance over their respective rivals of late, but for these four clubs, the win-loss totals get thrown aside for these traditional home-and-home meetings. Sure, there are favourites here — and we’ll get into those below — but the Labour Day series tend to exist in their own world. You can assess them and feel confident in your picks but those picks should be made knowing that there can be an extra layer of uncertainty around these outcomes. It’s part of the magic of the rivalries.
The Toronto Argonauts and Ottawa REDBLACKS don’t quite have the historical juice that the two aforementioned games do, but there’s something at stake here for those teams too. The Argos look to finally take firm control atop the East, while the REDBLACKS are pulling themselves up off of the mat and trying to pump some life into what’s been a very challenging and frustrating season for them. Where there’s that kind of hunger, drama isn’t too far behind.
Let’s take a look at this week’s games.
BC at MTL
Questions abound in the opening game of Week 14. How much Vernon Adams Jr. will we see as he makes his Lions’ debut? How much of Michael O’Connor and/or Antonio Pipkin will round out the Lions’ offensive attack? On the other side, which Alouettes team will show up for what promises to be an emotional game, where they face their popular former quarterback? The Als had stacked two good wins against Winnipeg and Hamilton, but weren’t able to duplicate that in a somewhat sloppy loss to the REDBLACKS. The writers are leaning toward the Lions, with fans a little more open to the possibility of an Alouettes’ win on Friday.
Writers: 83% BC
Fans: 59% BC
TOR at OTT
The Argos emerge from their gauntlet of games against the Tiger-Cats with a two-game lead atop the East over the second-place Als. Now they get an opportunity to impact the division standings further in their second meeting with the REDBLACKS. On one hand this has the look of a cut-and-dry Argos’ advantage, traveling into Ottawa, where the REDBLACKS are yet to win at TD Place this season. Nick Arbuckle and Co., however, are on their first win streak of the season and will be hungry to end that home losing streak. As crazy as this sounds, an Ottawa win and Montreal loss this week would put the REDBLACKS into a tie with the Als for second in the East.
Writers: 50-50 split
Fans: 75% Toronto
SSK at WPG
It appears that the people making the predictions felt like the Riders’ best chance to down the longtime thorn in their sides was at home on Labour Day Weekend. They almost did it too, behind a strong performance from Cody Fajardo and a defence that stood tall against a giant of a Bombers team. But as this series shifts to Winnipeg, where the home crowd at IG Field will be loud and ready, the task feels doubly tall for the team in green. That’s how the writers feel and as for the fans, well, maybe the Riders’ faithful just haven’t made their way to our Pick Em site to weigh in.
Writers: 100% Winnipeg
Fans: 87% Winnipeg
CGY at EDM
The Stamps continue to pick up wins, especially against the Elks, whether it’s Bo Levi Mitchell or as we saw on Labour Day, Jake Maier at quarterback. The Elks are missing Kenny Lawler and still struggling to find consistency on a week-to-week basis, even with Taylor Cornelius improving. Given where the Stamps are right now and given the Elks’ struggles at Commonwealth, you won’t find too many taking the home team in these squads’ final meeting of the season.
Writers: 100% Calgary
Fans: 90% Calgary