Montreal Alouettes (7-10) at Toronto Argonauts (11-6)
Friday 7 p.m. ET
This, like all CFL games of this final week, won’t have an impact on the playoff pairings, which were all set last weekend. Toronto secured the division title along with a bye to the East final, which they will hold Nov. 17. After a record-setting 505-yard passing effort by Toronto’s Ricky Ray, he’ll rest this game. Zach Collaros will start, and other young Argos QBs could emerge as Trevor Harris and Mitchell Gale will also get work. The Als are coming off a disappointing loss to the Ticats, which cemented them into third place and awarded them a third successive trip to southwestern Ontario to face Hamilton in the East semis next Sunday. They hope to make another trip in the same direction the following week to visit the Rogers Centre.
The pick: Montreal
Calgary Stampeders (14-3) at B.C. Lions (10-7)
Friday, 10 p.m. ET
Stamps have locked up the division and the league’s best record and must get through this week with no injuries before hosting the West final. They have won five in a row, nine of their past 10 outings. Jon Cornish is less than 100 yards from breaking a single-season franchise record for rushing and defensive end Charleston Hughes is two sacks from a club-record 20. The Stamps plan to give equal snaps to pivots Kevin Glenn, Drew Tate and Bo Levi Mitchell.
The Lions expect to start Buck Pierce at quarterback, but Travis Lulay could see action too, returning from a shoulder injury he suffered in September and hoping to brush up before the playoffs. The Lions will face the Riders next week, with the hopes of earning the right to face Calgary again.
The pick: Calgary
Hamilton Tiger-Cats (9-8) at Winnipeg Blue Bombers (3-14) Saturday, 2 p.m. ET
For the Ticats, a win this week would only mean the difference between going into next week’s East semi-final versus Montreal as a .500 team or one at 10-8. The Ticats haven’t had 10 victories since 2001; plus losing to a squad that was eliminated from the playoffs weeks ago isn’t good for one’s playoff mojo. While the Tabbies are likely to rest some key starters, they will start Henry Burris to further prep him for the playoffs. A few players may be back from injury to shake off the rust before next week – possibly standout rookie receiver Greg Ellingson. As for the Bombers, expect them to be physical as they were in Toronto last week, now just playing for pride and to audition for jobs next season.
The pick: Hamilton
Edmonton Eskimos (3-14) at
Saskatchewan Roughriders (11-6), Saturday 5 p.m. ET
The Eskimos will be cleaning out their lockers the day after this game, but perhaps they will look to end their dismal 2013 campaign on a high note after five consecutive losses. The story is quite different for the Roughriders, who hope to tune some things up – such as getting Kory Sheets firing to his potential – before the West semi. The Stamps beat the Riders last weekend, yet Dwight Anderson then publicly vowed that the Riders would return to Calgary and get revenge in the West final. If the green Riders are destined to rise this time of year and rally toward an appearance in a home Grey Cup, they can ill afford the yucky feeling that could come from a loss this week.
The pick: Saskatchewan