September 6, 2023

Weekly Predictor: Taking the REDBLACKS

Kevin Sousa/

OK Tire Labour Day weekend did not disappoint!

You had something from beginning to end on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday and I can’t wait for more as the leaves turn and the playoff races heat up.

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The rematches coming up this weekend could be all timers with a lot of emotion carrying over from the weekend.

And you have to ponder what some short weeks will do for teams like Hamilton and Toronto as they battle some divisional foes.

Hamilton at Ottawa
Friday, September 8
7:30 p.m. ET

I feel this is a no-win situation for the Tiger-Cats. They lose to their biggest rival and have only three days off to heal up and go up against a team that is coming off a bye week with several days rest.

If Hamilton wins this one, I will be thoroughly impressed as much as I will be concerned for the REDBLACKS.

Hamilton beat BC handily and stayed in it with the Argos, so we have seen better play from the Tiger-Cats recently.

Ottawa is coming in with a five-game losing streak and NEED this win. In Ottawa’s final seven games of the season, this week is the only one where they take on a team that is currently at or below .500.

They follow this up with one of the most difficult schedules remaining for any of the teams in the CFL. After losing the first two games to Hamilton this year, this feels like a do or die type game for the REDBLACKS to even have a shot at the playoffs, with Calgary also lingering for a crossover.

The desperation has to be there for Ottawa and the exhaustion should also be there for Hamilton.


Montreal at Toronto
Saturday, September 9
1:00 p.m. ET

I’d be equally concerned with Toronto this week because of a short week, if they weren’t coming off their third bye week of the season already.

Toronto should be pretty well rested despite only having four days off between games as they come home to start a home-and-home set against Montreal.

The hot and cold Alouettes are back on the cold setting as they followed up a four-game win streak with back-to-back losses.

Cody Fajardo made some crucial late game mistakes last week that Jason Maas and he will surely try to clean up.

Meanwhile, the Argos continue to prove their all around great play. All three phases continue to click right along in their Labour Day victory in Hamilton. Chad Kelly and company are feeling it right now and I’m having a hard time figuring out how to beat the Argonauts.

Calgary did it when Kelly missed most of the game and their offence went cold and that’s been it so far.

The 9-1 Argos are now easily the team to beat in the CFL and I just don’t think the Alouettes are playing well enough to beat them.

Unless the short week allows the Argos to not have the legs to play at a high level, but I think they’ll be fine.


Saskatchewan at Winnipeg
Saturday, September 9
4:00 p.m. ET

Hold on to your hats, this one is going to be a dandy.

I’m sure both coaches will be trying to ensure discipline is better than it was in Regina. With a suspension handed out to Pete Robertson that will take a little heat of the game that the Bombers don’t face the Riders defensive end who head butted Zach Collaros.

However, that might have been the angriest we’ve seen the Bombers in quite some time and as we learn, when the Bombers have something to prove, they usually follow through.

Collaros was upset at himself for a not-so-great first half and of course the hit he took, and the last time we saw the Bombers play angry, the BC Lions felt their wrath.

I might join the Riders hype train of them being Grey Cup contenders if they can sweep the home-and-home series against Winnipeg. What they have going for them is quarterback Jake Dolegala seems unflappable in any situation.

He’ll have to take another big step forward if the Riders are going to win back-to-back over the Bombers.


Calgary at Edmonton
Saturday, September 9
7:00 p.m. ET

I have to give Jake Maier credit, his second half was the type of performance that gave Dave Dickenson and John Hufnagel faith for him to take over from Bo Levi Mitchell.

While Maier didn’t put any touchdowns in through the air, there are three touchdown drives to show for a win over the rival Elks.

On the other side, we’re once again raving about Tre Ford’s ability, though you know Chris Jones needs a guy to be able to close and make some clutch throws to pick up first downs and kill some time off the clock.

Tre Ford is a freak athlete but he needs to refine his game in the pocket for the Elks to have sustained success but with his speed, he is something special.

But in saying that, I’m not trying to turn Ford into a pocket passer. The ways Edmonton can use his abilities are endless and I can’t wait to see what plans they have in place to enhance his athleticism even more in the offence.

The Elks have ended the home curse so why not pick them to win two games in a row at Commonwealth?!


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