June 14, 2022

Weekly Predictor: Leaning in on Ottawa

Jason Halstead/CFL.ca

After last season’s disaster of a start, I’ll take 3-1 all day. Although, being the only one to take the Edmonton Elks burns, but I love taking a risk so I thought it was worth it.

It wasn’t.

Play it safe kids.

Nevermind. Let’s roll the dice and have some FUN!

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Power Rankings: A shakeup out of the gate

Week 2 brings us the Toronto Argonauts against the Montreal Alouettes, as the Argos start their season. We also get Chris Jones’ Elks up against Cody Fajardo and the Roughriders for the first time this season.

Montreal at Toronto
Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET

McLeod Bethel-Thompson and the rest of the Argos will make their season-debut this week against the Montreal Alouettes (Kevin Sousa/CFL.ca)

The Toronto Argonauts will unveil a roster that includes Andrew Harris, Brandon Banks and Ja’Gared Davis as once again in the off-season the Argonauts wanted to compliment a team that hosted the Eastern Final with a little more experience across the board.

McLeod Bethel-Thompson is trying to establish himself as a top CFL quarterback and with a few more weapons around him, could start to reach the potential that has had Toronto keep him around for several years.

On the flip side, we’ll see if the Montreal Alouettes can replace the production and presence of William Stanback in the backfield after the running back went down in the opening game.

The Alouettes nearly walked out McMahon Stadium in Calgary with a win. Outside of Almondo Sewell, the Alouettes couldn’t get a consistent pass rush on the Stampeders offence, though Calgary does throw the ball much quicker than most CFL teams.

Since the unbalanced schedule came into effect when Ottawa joined the league in 2014, the team with the first week bye has a record of 3-4. Two of those losses came with Ottawa in their first year and the re-build of the Riders in 2016 with Chris Jones. I think I’ll side with a solid Toronto team to even up that record.

PICK: TORONTO (50 confidence bonus)

Winnipeg at Ottawa
Friday, 8:30 p.m. ET

Will the REDBLACKS avoid the back-to-back sweep against the Bombers and leave TD Place with a win? (Patrick Doyle/CFL.ca)

The Ottawa REDBLACKS had every opportunity to beat the Bombers in Winnipeg. Jeremiah Masoli was hitting deep passes but they just couldn’t finish off many of the drives.

Winnipeg, meanwhile, needed a near miracle drive by Dru Brown coming cold off the bench when Zach Collaros left the game late by the injury spotter.

Did you know two of the Bombers three losses came last year on the second half of a home-and-home on the road? You do now and that’s part of the reason why I’m going with this pick.

PICK: OTTAWA (0 confidence bonus)

Calgary at Hamilton
Saturday, 6:30 p.m. ET

Ka’Deem Carey had two touchdowns in last week’s game against the Montreal Alouettes (Dave Chidley/CFL.ca)

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats will face either Jake Maier or Bo Levi Mitchell, depending on how Bo feels throughout the week. The biggest thing they’ll face is a pass rush that comes from everywhere as the Stampeders were able to get after Vernon Adams Jr several times in game one.

The Tiger-Cats offensive line struggled against the Roughriders, allowing eight sacks and many more pressures.

Dane Evans looked more and more uncomfortable as the game went along, despite being able to hit Steven Dunbar Jr. on the biggest play of the game for a touchdown.

Ka’Deem Carey showcased his ability to take over games so whoever is the quarterback should have a strong run game to be able to wear down the Ticats defence.

PICK: CALGARY (50 confidence level)

Saskatchewan at Edmonton
Saturday 9:30 p.m. ET

The Saskatchewan Roughriders look to go 2-0 this weekend with a contest against the Edmonton Elks (The Canadian Press)

This one is a tale of two teams from Week 1. The Elks were not great in their debut in BC, while the Roughriders defence was dominant against Hamilton.

An already motivated Fajardo looked extremely relieved he was able to hit the deep ball and throw for 300+ yards in the season opener after months of talking about revitalizing a pass game that struggled in 2021.

The Elks offensive line had difficulty against the BC Lions pass rush and now they’ll be tested with a defence that had eight sacks in Week 1.

You know where I’m going here.

PICK: SASKATCHEWAN (100 confidence bonus)

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