April 26, 2023

The Weekly Say: Making Preseason Futures picks

Chris Tanouye/CFL.ca

TORONTO — The CFL is rolling out a new-look free-to-play Game Zone for the 2023 season and we’re kicking it off with a Preseason Futures game that rewards you for your powers of prognostication.

Answer the series of preseason questions correctly in the freshly-launched Preseasons Futures game before the season starts on June 8 and you’ll have a shot at winning $5,000! Perfect predictions will serve as a lottery ticket to win rewards and rank your knowledge against other CFL fans.

» Play CFL Preseason Futures to win cash prizes
Visit the revamped CFL Game Zone
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Your signup for the Preseasons Futures game will serve as your login for the rest of the free-to-play games that the CFL has coming for you this year, including CFL Fantasy and the weekly Pick ‘Em. To get the ball rolling, CFL.ca’s writers have tackled some of the questions from the Preseasons Futures game. How right/wrong are they? Let us know in the comments and take your shot at getting your preseason predictions right by creating a login and taking part today.

Which teams will be playing in the 110th Grey Cup in Hamilton? 

Jamie Nye: Because I love chaos and drama, give me the Alouettes and the Roughriders with Fajardo vs Harris and I will be a happy radio host!

Kristina Costabile: I’m mostly basing this on who I want to play in the game and not who I think will be there, so I’m going with the BC Lions and Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The Ticats playing at home again would be fun and why not add in the Lions for a “cat fight”?

Don Landry: Toronto and Calgary. The Stampeders ride a big rushing attack to the berth, while the Argos’ defence paves the way for a shot at a repeat.

CFL.ca’s writers have been impressed by the Tiger-Cats’ busy off-season, which included adding Bo Levi Mitchell at quarterback (The Canadian Press)

Jim Morris: I’m predicting the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Hamilton Tiger-Cats. With the personnel movement in the league, I look for stability which the Bombers have. The addition of Bo Levi Mitchell gives the Ticats a veteran presence at quarterback.

Chris O’Leary: Winnipeg and Hamilton. I’m a sucker for the storyline of a Bombers-Ticats’ Grey Cup re-match at Tim Hortons Field. Bonus storyline: Bo Levi Mitchell and the Ticats have to hold off Jeremiah Masoli and the REDBLACKS at THF the week prior.

Matthew Cauz: Ottawa taking on Winnipeg. Is my REDBLACKS guess biased because I just wrote about them? Quite possibly. A healthy Jeremiah Masoli could be the best quarterback in the East, they have the best defensive player in the CFL and an improved offensive line. I don’t think I need to justify my Blue Bombers selection, that team is stacked.

Marshall Ferguson: Winnipeg and Hamilton in a rematch of the 2021 Grey Cup that saw the Ticats come a Masoli-to-Acklin fingertip away from closing the deal.

Which team will have the most regular season rushing yards?  

Ka’Deem Carey and the Stamps are a frontrunner to lead the CFL in rushing in 2023 (Stampeders.com)

Nye: Montreal Alouettes – William Stanback and Cody Fajardo will be moving the ball with their legs A LOT this season.

Costabile: The Calgary Stampeders. Ka’Deem Carey rushed for 1,088 yards in just 14 games last season, good for first in the league. With a full 18 contests under his belt, he’ll go way over that. Plus, quarterback Tommy Stevens had 297 yards on the ground last year and will be another wrinkle in the Stamps rush attack in 2023.

Landry: The Calgary Stampeders. If they want it to be, this season could be one of the more epic rushing seasons a team has had in many a moon. With an incredible offensive line and a trio of devastating running backs, Calgary can go even higher than their league-leading 2,436 ground yards from last year. By the way, do you know what the record is for team rushing yards in a season? 4,345 yards! Edmonton, in 1957. 722 rushing attempts. Do it, Calgary! Do it!

Morris: The Calgary Stampeders led all CFL teams in rushing last year and I can’t see why they won’t do it again.  Ka’Deem Carey won the rushing title despite playing 14 games. Dedrick Mills and Peyton Logan are also both returning.

Cauz: Calgary will again lead the league. Ka’Deem Carey led the league in rushing despite missing four games and I expected the Stampeders to lean on the run game with Jake Maier in his first year as “The Guy”.

Ferguson: Calgary. I expect Montreal to be run heavy and Saskatchewan should be up there but Ka’Deem Carey paired with the sharp passing attack of Dickenson and Maier screams Stampeders to me.

O’Leary: I get the Calgary pick, but I think Jamie Nye is onto something with the Als. Run options will be strong with Stanback and Jeshrun Antwi and a lack of receiver depth might have this team, with the mobile Fajardo, pushing it on the ground a lot.

How many receiving yards will Eugene Lewis have in the regular season?

Nye: 1,200. My feeling is there is definitely a drop off in Harris to Cornelius so the production should drop off too.

Costabile: I’m going with 1,500. Teaming up with a quarterback who loves the deep ball in Taylor Cornelius is going to do wonders for Eugene this year.

Landry: He’ll have close to 1,500 yards in receptions. You want an exact number? Okay. 1,493.

Morris: Better question, who will be throwing him the ball? If Tre Ford and Taylor Cornelius can stay healthy and find their groove, Lewis could get over 1,000 yards again. But if history repeats in Edmonton, Lewis could have a long, empty season.

Expectations are high for Eugene Lewis as he moves West to suit up for Edmonton this season (Kevin Sousa/CFL.ca)

Cauz: 1,118 yards. I expect his numbers to go down with Trevor Harris now playing in Saskatchewan.

Ferguson: 1150, slightly down from a ridiculous 2022 campaign in Montreal when he was the unquestioned primary, but I see a few more trips to the end zone this year.

O’Leary: Lewis is fully capable of a monstrous season but the Elks have a receiver depth that the Als didn’t have last year. I’d peg it around the 1,200-yard mark, max for Lewis, with others around him putting up big numbers as well.

How many sacks will Lorenzo Mauldin IV have in the regular season?

Nye: Give me 18. One per game and pretty level for his production last season. He has the ability to get to the quarterback in so many different ways.

Cauz: I’m expecting some regression as Lorenzo did mange to play in all 18 games last year. It’s never easy to make it through an entire CFL season. I’m going with 15 games played and 14 sacks.

Landry: 15 sacks for Lorenzo Mauldin. While not quite the equal to last year’s 17, that’s still a pretty great number. Teams are going to scheme to keep Mauldin at bay more and more in 2023, but he’ll still get home plenty.

Can Lorenzo Mauldin IV top his 17-sack performance in 2023? (The Canadian Press)

O’Leary: I’ll go with 14. Mauldin will be a top priority for o-lines this year and it’s very tough to get into all 18 games in a season.

Costabile: 20. With a 17-sack season behind him, I feel like adding three more doesn’t seem like a tall task for Lorenzo in his second campaign with Ottawa.

Ferguson: 15. Still dominant but I don’t know how he doesn’t get extra attention this year to slow his roll from 2022 slightly.

Which team will finish with the best regular season record?

Nye: Winnipeg Blue bombers. Sorry. Boring but they’re forever the team to beat until proven otherwise.

Costabile: Winnipeg. Until they prove me otherwise, the Blue Bombers will continue to be the top of the CFL.

Landry: The Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Morris: The one that wins the most games. OK, seriously, I don’t see the Bombers going 15-3 again but they still will be better than any other team in the league.

O’Leary: Have you seen what Twitter turns into when you don’t pick the Bombers? That’s not a road I want to walk down again any time soon. Winnipeg.

Cauz: I’d love to embrace chaos and throw out Edmonton, but we all know the Bombers will be resting their starters in the final week of the season after clinching home field.

Ferguson: Winnipeg. Until further notice the West runs through Manitoba.

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