14 weeks down, seven left to go and the final third of the season is going to be a heck of ride until the playoffs begin in November.
Hamilton and Montreal are trying to battle for home field out East, while the Bombers and Lions battling for top spot in the West. Plus, the Roughriders are trying to chase down BC for second.
And Ottawa, Edmonton and Calgary will be full of desperation to stay in the playoff conversation.
Oh, yeah, and Toronto. The big game will be the Grey Cup rematch in a couple of weeks to set the tone with the Bombers as both already know they’re in the post-season.
Toronto at Montreal
Friday, September 15
7:30 p.m. ET
The Montreal Alouettes don’t have to wait to try and prove they can compete with the Argonauts. For the rematch, all I can think is …
Run. The. Ball.
The Alouettes have talent in the backfield and after falling down 20-7 early, they abandoned the run game. If Montreal stays committed to the run and they can wear down the 10-1 Argonauts at home.
The issue is you can try a lot of things against Toronto but the way the defending champions are built, their is no guarantee you’re going to be able to dictate the play to them.
It’s hard to find a weakness to attack if you’re any opponent. The only loss was a game where the Chad Kelly was hurt and missed most of the game in Calgary.
When you look at the home-and-home set, there have only been two in the CFL and it was a homer split. Last year, Montreal split all their home-and-home sets. Toronto swept three of five.
I want to take Montreal, I really do, but I don’t see the Argos letting their foot off the gas as they’re closing in on clinching the East Division.
Edmonton at Saskatchewan
Friday, September 15
9:30 p.m. ET
If the Roughriders have any pride what so ever, the Elks have zero chance of winning this game at Mosaic Stadium.
Saskatchewan is coming off their loss in the Labour Day Rematch, while the Elks are coming off an emotional walk-off win against their rival in their own Labour Day Rematch.
The Riders have already won both games against the Elks this season but that was earlier in the season and this defence has not faced Tre Ford. It’s clear Edmonton is a different team with Ford behind centre. That’s the same feeling you get now that Jake Dolegala has the ball for the Roughriders.
I’m very intrigued to see how the Riders defence handles Ford and if they’re truly ready to face the speed that has caused problems for the Elks opponents since Ford took over.
Edmonton is 3-2 with Ford under centre.
Saskatchewan, however, is playing at home and there has been a big discrepancy of how the Riders play at home compared to the road. The Riders have won three straight at home and have lost four straight on the road.
The defence gets a rise in front of the home crowd, but we’ve also seen five straight Rider home games decided by five points or less so get ready for more drama at Mosaic.
Winnipeg at Hamilton
Saturday, September 16
4:00 p.m. ET
The Tiger-Cats get some rest after an impressive win in a quick turnaround on the road in Ottawa. Taylor Powell continues to improve and it would appear that new play caller Scott Milanovich is finding the right mix when it comes to putting players in a better position to succeed.
Powell has a TD/INT ratio of 7/1 in his last three games.
The Tiger-Cats need improvement from their defence. Hamilton is at the bottom of the league in many categories and even with their punting, you see the Tiger-Cats behind in field position as well.
The Bombers come in with the best running game and a red hot Zach Collaros, who is coming off a near perfect game against the Roughriders. Collaros put points on the board in every drive he led against Saskatchewan, including starting with six straight touchdowns.
But can I mention what happened last year following the Bombers putting the boots to the Roughriders in the LD Weekend Rematch?
They went into Hamilton and had an emotional let down.
Last week was highly emotional for the Bombers. A lot of carry over from the Labour Day Classic against Saskatchewan and I’m curious to see if we see a repeat emotional let down.
I’m probably over thinking it but I’m going with my biggest upset of the year.
Ottawa at BC
Saturday, September 16
7:00 p.m. ET
Ottawa has to go way out East after a devastating loss to Hamilton. The REDBLACKS knew last week was a big game and the loss makes every game now nearly a must win.
The Lions, meanwhile, are coming off their second bye week of the season and with six weeks left in the season BC can see the path to winning the West with a strong finish.
BC hasn’t been the same team lately that they were at the start of the season and they needed that bye week to get healthier and figure some things out.
The one side of the ball that needs to find their game again is the Lions defence, who were a dominant force in the first third of the season. The middle third has not been nearly as impressive.
Defensive coordinator Ryan Phillips will have studied how teams have started attacking his defence over the bye week.
I fully expect the rejuvenated Lions to begin their final third of the season with a statement at home.