July 3, 2024

Weekly Predictor: Rollin’ with the Roughriders

Bailey McLean/CFL.ca

What a week for the walk-off field goal!

Three of four games ended on the kickers foot, with BC, Calgary and Ottawa walking it off.

The other game… well… that was over a lot earlier than when the clock struck 0:00 as the Alouettes flexed their way as the unquestioned No. 1 team in the league.

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You can see just how hard it is to predict right now in the CFL. The teams who have yet to win a game aren’t being blown out, they just can’t make the play when they need it as the Elks, Bombers and Tiger-Cats were the victims of the three walk-off field goals.

Yes, they were that close to capturing their first win of the season.

Maybe it’ll be this week for the Bombers and Tiger-Cats to end the slide while Edmonton regroups on their bye week.

Toronto at Saskatchewan
Thursday, July 4
9:00 p.m. ET

No lack of storylines in this one!

We have Corey Mace up against his old team. AJ Ouellette running the rock against his former team. Oh, and the biggest story of the week so far, which is Shea Patterson gets the start in place of the injured Trevor Harris.

Nobody knows what we’re going to get from Patterson, who has yet to make a start in his CFL career. We saw him play the majority of the game for the Riders in Week 3 to mixed reviews. Patterson is athletic! He can make plays with his feet but you know the Argonauts are going to be ready for that and force him into passing downs to see if he can beat them in the air.

Over in Toronto, they’re licking their wounds after their loss to Montreal.

Cameron Dukes had his worst day as a starter against an impressive Alouettes defence. We’ll see what Mace draws up against a quarterback he’s seen in practice. But it’s also a defensive philosophy Dukes has lined up against as the No. 2 in Toronto in practice.

I’m going to go with the home team as Shea Patterson’s threat of running will keep the Argos honest and help Ouellette find some holes in the run game. Plus, a short week with a trip West won’t help Toronto with the Riders coming off a bye week.


Ottawa at Winnipeg
Thursday, July 5
8:30 p.m. ET

This one is a rematch of Week 2 when former Bomber Dru Brown got the win over his mentor Zach Collaros. At the time of this writing, it’s not clear if Collaros will play on Friday.

The Bombers are close. They are. They’ve lost three games by a total of nine points.

Ottawa now has to deal with the crowd noise and the Bombers now have a little bit of a better read on how the REDBLACKS plan to attack defences with Brown at quarterback.

It’s interesting to see these two teams stack up extremely close on the stats pages but are 2-1 and 0-4 respectively in the standings.

I think we see Winnipeg finally break through at home with or without Zach Collaros on Friday night.


Calgary at Montreal
Saturday, July 6
7:00 p.m. ET

Eventually the Alouettes will lose. However, they are the class of the CFL. Their defence is firing on all cylinders. They’ve allowed the fewest points per game, fewest yards per game, they lead the league in takeaways and sacks. All and all, they make it a complete nightmare for the opponents.

The Alouettes offence isn’t too shabby either. Cody Fajardo leads the league in completion percentage and big plays. He’s also leading touchdown drives over 25% of the possessions.

Yeah. The Alouettes are starting where they left off in 2023.

In come the Calgary Stampeders with a defence who is playing fairly well to start the season but an offence that’s once again hot and cold.

Dedrick Mills is clearly the Stamps top weapon with over 300 yards from scrimmage in the first three games and will once again be relied upon if the Stamps have a shot at the upset.

I just haven’t seen enough from Jake Maier and the Stampeders offence to think they’re going to be the team to put this Alouettes defence on their heels.


BC at Hamilton
Sunday, July 7
7:00 p.m. ET

The air show is coming to Hamilton on Sunday. Vernon Adams Jr. is once again not shy to air it out. He’s attempted more deep passes than any other quarterback and easily leads the league in average yards per completion, as well as yards passing.

What is more impressive is that Adams Jr.’s touchdown to interception ration is 7:1. Bo Levi Mitchell hasn’t had the same ability to protect the ball, with his league-leading five interceptions this season.

Adams Jr.’s ability to stretch a defence allows him to take off and scamper because they have to respect his arm, and he puts extra stress on the secondary because he loves to extend the play before launching one down field.

Can the Tiger-Cats take away Alexander Hollins? He leads the league in catches to convert a second down and he and Justin McInnis are tied for the league lead in deep attempts caught at six a piece.

The Tiger-Cats do have a good quartet of receivers, who are all in the top 12 of receiving.

The injury bug hit the Lions linebackers again in Week 4 with Josh Woods going down a week after losing Ben Hladik. We’ll have to wait and see if Hladik will be able to go this week.

I’ve gone with my head a lot this season to a strong 12-4 start. I just have a gut feeling the Tiger-Cats are finally going to put a full game together with minimal mistakes.


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