Daivd Ebner and Rachel Brady take a look at this week’s games in the Canadian Football League and make their Week 4 picks.
TORONTO ARGONAUTS (1-2) AT WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS (1-2)
Friday, 8 p.m.
The Argos still appear to be in re-grouping mode after the Grey Cup win, especially on defence, where major player turnover persists. Quarterback Ricky Ray has been very efficient, while Andre Durie and Chad Owens are among the CFL’s top-three pass-catchers. But the offence must help Grey Cup MVP Chad Kackert chew up some more yards. It won’t be easy this week since the Blue Bombers defence is on fire – both sack-happy and punishing against the run. But on offence, quarterback Buck Pierce needs more completions, fewer picks and to remain upright. It appears he’ll be without top receiver Cory Watson, who got injured in practice this week.
The pick: Winnipeg
MONTREAL ALOUETTES (1-2) AT CALGARY STAMPEDERS (2-1)
Saturday, 7 p.m.
Rematch No. 2, and it does not look good for the previous decade’s dynasty. Woe are the Als, whose leader, QB Anthony Calvillo, has looked his age as his team fails to produce. Montreal ranks last or second-last in several offensive categories. Pick a handful of pertinent gauges: fewest first downs, fewest rushing yards, second-fewest passing. It’s added up to the most punts and the second-fewest points, with only Edmonton – last in the league’s power rankings – worse on the scoreboard. For Calgary, it looks as if it will again be backup QB Kevin Glenn behind centre. Glenn was more than able last week on the road. It appears the Als’ stumbling start is probably going to get worse.
The pick: Calgary
EDMONTON ESKIMOS (1-2) AT B.C. LIONS (2-1)
Saturday, 10 p.m.
Instant rematch time. After the monsoon of Edmonton – in the words of Lions running back Andrew Harris – the teams will enjoy a comfortable tilt in Vancouver, the roof almost certainly open at B.C. Place on what’s expected to be warm and dry Saturday night. The conditions should stoke offence, which was swamped in Edmonton, where it was monsoon-messy. Quarterback Travis Lulay led Lions rushers, for the second time in three games – just as Edmonton quarterback (and former Lulay backup) Mike Reilly led Eskimo rushers, also, oddly, for the second time in three weeks. Trust that the likes of Harris – who did manage 100 total yards in the pounding rain – produce back home on turf.
The pick: B.C.
HAMILTON TIGER-CATS (1-2) AT SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS (3-0)
Sunday, 7 p.m.
Roughriders fans have been on Darian Durant watch all week, wondering if the wonky right foot of their top pivot will allow him to start Sunday for the league’s lone unbeaten team. Saskatchewan will no doubt count on running back Kory Sheets, who is the league’s leading rusher, and has exceeded 100 yards on the ground three weeks in a row. The Tiger-Cats are coming off their first win of the year, finally translating the gaudy numbers of the CFL’s leading passer, Henry Burris, into a victory. The Tabbies’ young defence, which had been much-maligned, stepped up. Expect the Ticats to be galvanized by their total team win.
The pick: Hamilton