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TORONTO — Week 17 is finally here and while it features the top two teams in the league colliding, we wonder exactly what that matchup will look like.
As we all know, the Toronto Argonauts have clinched the East Division. With five games left on the schedule, they have gone as far as they can in their regular season journey. That the team sat running back AJ Ouellette and offensive tackle Isiah Cage last week suggests that coach Ryan Dinwiddie will likely selectively rest more of his players over the coming weeks. That impacted the picks this week, as CFL.ca’s writers weighed those options and primarily went with a Winnipeg team that simply needs the win more than the visiting Argos.
While that first game of the week might get all of our attention leading in, we have an interesting slate of games beyond that Grey Cup rematch. The BC Lions are pushing to take the lead in the West Division and the Saskatchewan Roughriders need a win to inch toward locking up that third spot in the West. Out East, Montreal and Hamilton are essentially staring each other down on the dance floor, battling for the second spot in the East, while engaged with other partners this week.
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TOR at WPG
Being uncertain of what the Argos will look like when they take the field on Friday night makes this an easy pick for the writers, while Argo fans are holding on and hoping that some key starters (hello, Chad Kelly) see at least enough action to impact the game. The Bombers are in a battle for first in the West, are at home and coming out of a bye week. As we said above, this is a game they need. We think they’ll get it.
Writers: 83% Winnipeg
Fans: 66% Winnipeg
SSK at BC
The Lions locked up their playoff spot last week and now shift their focus to stacking wins and finding a way to get in front of the Bombers to control the West. There’s an opportunity to do that this week, but next week’s game at BC Place against the Bombers will be a tremendous one. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The Lions handled a resurgent Elks team last week. This week they will get a Riders team that’s won once this month and is hungry for a win. Just about everyone, writers and fans alike, think the Lions have it.
Writers: 100% BC
Fans: 87% BC
MTL at OTT
After four straight difficult losses to the top-three teams in the league, the Als finally looked like their old playmaking selves in their win over Calgary. They head into Ottawa with their sights on regaining ground in that race to lock up a home playoff date. Standing in their way is an Ottawa team that played very well against the Riders last week, but has a long way to go, both in the standings and in terms of hanging with their East counterparts. The REDBLACKS are 0-6 against the East this year. The majority of writers and fans don’t see that changing this week.
Writers: 83% Montreal
Fans: 74% Montreal
CGY at HAM
The numbers don’t suggest it, with the writers and fans decidedly leaning Hamilton in this one, but the Week 17 finale might be the toughest game to pick this week. Both the Stampeders and Tiger-Cats have shown great flashes, but have struggled with consistency this season. Taylor Powell and the Ticats have played better of late, winning three of their last five with wins over BC and Winnipeg sprinkled in there. The Stamps, meanwhile have won just one of their last six games. Pick makers of all kinds like the Ticats to rebound from their latest loss to the Argos and to defend home turf.
Writers: 83% Hamilton
Fans: 75% Hamilton