WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS AT MONTREAL ALOUETTES
Thursday, 7 p.m.
The second meeting in as many weeks between the Bombers and the Als, who were fortunate to spoil opening night at Investors Group Field, hanging on for a 38-33 win. Montreal’s new-look defence kept it in that game, as Winnipeg scored half its points on special teams and turnovers. Can Buck Pierce (three interceptions) and the Winnipeg offence protect the ball? Can the Als offensive line keep quarterback Anthony Calvillo from getting sacked four times again? The Alouettes are a tough out at home (7-3 last year) and should be bolstered by the return of running back Brandon Whitaker, who’s coming off knee surgery last fall.
The pick Montreal
BRITISH COLUMBIA LIONS AT TORONTO ARGONAUTS Thursday, 10 p.m.
The Lions lost two games at home last year: One during the regular season, during which they otherwise ran the table at B.C. Place Stadium; the other during an one-and-out playoffs, beaten up by the Calgary Stampeders. The Lions again were mauled by the Stamps last week in Calgary, the defence feeble against RB Jon Cornish and B.C. unable to conjure a response, the likes of Andrew Harris producing 20 yards on five carries. Now come the defending Grey Cup champions, who have not won a game in Vancouver since 2002, a decade-long, 10-game string of defeats.
The pick B.C.
CALGARY STAMPEDERS AT SASKATCHEWANROUGHRIDERS Friday, 9 p.m.
Calgary racked up the most points in the opening week and Saskatchewan ceded the fewest – by far, giving up two touchdowns less than the second-best defensive team in Week 1 (the Stamps). But Calgary is not Edmonton, the Riders’ punching bag last week, with Calgary and Edmonton at opposite poles in ability, the Stamps ranked No. 1 in the CFL power ratings and the Esks last. So while Saskatchewan QB Darian Durant was reasonable last week, and RB Kory Sheets was good, Calgary RB Jon Cornish was great – and perhaps the 28-year-old Canadian is ready to unfurl an epic season.
The pick Calgary
EDMONTON ESKIMOS AT
HAMILTON TIGER-CATSSunday, 5 p.m.
Mike Reilly, the Eskimos new starting QB, didn’t exactly get off to a storming start, throwing three interceptions against Saskatchewan, including a back-breaking pick-six. More worryingly, the Esks defence provided no meaningful obstacle to the Riders, yielding 144 yards on the ground, and allowing Darian Durant to pass for three touchdowns. The Ticats, meanwhile, stretched the defending champ Argos to the final play of the game, and QB Henry Burris is showing no signs of age as he learns head coach Kent Austin’s offence. Hamilton has a lot of weapons to deploy.
The pick Hamilton
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