The elite teams in the CFL all have winning records on the road.
Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg and B.C. all have three victories in other teams’ barns. That’s why they’re all legitimate Grey Cup contenders until proven otherwise.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers (6-2) at Montreal Alouettes (3-5)
Thursday, Aug. 14, 7:30 p.m. EST
Winnipeg kick-started its four-game win streak by rallying for a 41-40 home victory over Montreal on July 27, erasing a 12-point deficit with under a minute to play. Quarterback Matt Nichols has a gaudy 70.2 completion percentage with 14 TDs and just four interceptions while running back Andrew Harris had over 100 yards rushing and receiving versus Edmonton. Montreal (3-5) comes off a lacklustre 38-6 road loss in Toronto, managing just nine first downs and 138 net yards. Slotback Nik Lewis needs nine catches to break Geroy Simon’s all-time mark (1,029).
Dunk: Winnipeg gets a sneaky tough road win. BOMBERS
Hodge: Winnipeg is rolling. BOMBERS
Edwards: More West on East crime. BOMBERS
Gasson: Montreal is searching for answers. BOMBERS
Busby: Als won’t have much of an answer for offensively-charged Bombers. BOMBERS
Smith: The Als are much better at home (3-1) than on the road (0-4), but Winnipeg is just much better than Montreal. BOMBERS
Filoso: Winnipeg might be the hottest team in the league. BOMBERS
Totals: BOMBERS 7 ALS 0
Saskatchewan Roughriders (3-4) at Edmonton Eskimos (7-1)
Friday, Aug. 25, 9:30 p.m. EST
It’s been nearly two weeks since the Riders last played. On Aug. 13, the Riders dispatched the B.C. Lions 41-8 the week after dropping a 30-15 decision in Vancouver. The Riders should definitely feel refreshed Friday night when they visit the Eskimos. What’s more, they’ve won just one of their last five games coming off a bye week. Edmonton should also be anxious to make up for its 33-26 loss last Thursday night to Winnipeg. The loss to Winnipeg was Edmonton’s first this season. But given their injury woes, it’s a testament to the Eskimos’ resolve that they continued winning as long as they did. The Eskimos acquired veteran defensive lineman John Chick from Hamilton. Chick, the CFL’s top defensive player in 2009, had 14 sacks last year but just two and 16 tackles in 2017. Receiver Brandon Zylstra, defensive tackle Almondo Sewell and defensive back Garry Peters could all return against Saskatchewan. The Eskimos are also 4-0 at Commonwealth Stadium while Saskatchewan is 0-3 on the road.
Dunk: Riders continue to play Jekyll and Hyde. ESKS
Hodge: On the road, these may as well be the Riders of 2015. ESKS
Edwards: Progress isn’t necessarily proficiency. ESKS
Gasson: Can’t believe in the Riders on the road until they do it. ESKS
Busby: Nice time for the Reilly and Co. to bounce back. ESKS
Smith: Please. ESKS
Filoso: Don’t see Edmonton losing in back to back weeks. ESKS
Totals: ESKS 7 RIDERS 0
B.C. Lions (5-4) at Ottawa Redblacks (2-6-1)
Saturday, Aug. 26, 3:30 p.m. EST
B.C. has dropped two straight and three of its last four games. Quarterback Jonathon Jennings has a 59 per cent completion average with six interceptions in two games since returning from injury. Ottawa comes off a 37-18 win over Hamilton as Trevor Harris, who leads the CFL in passing yards and TDs, threw for 394 yards and two touchdowns. Greg Ellingson is the league’s leading receiver and had 10 catches for 155 yards and a touchdown versus the Ticats, and the Redblacks’ defence has a league-high 67 quarterback pressures. But it’s hard to look past the West’s 17-2-1 head-to-head record versus the East, with Montreal recording both wins.
Dunk: B.C. knows how to get it done in the East. LIONS
Hodge: Can’t trust Ottawa yet — B.C. in a squeaker. LIONS
Edwards: Not sure about either of these teams right now… LIONS
Gasson: Travel could be an equalizer, but BC doesn’t lose 3 in a row. LIONS
Busby: It’s about time the defending champs proved they can be East contenders. REDBLACKS
Smith: Ottawa beating Hamilton doesn’t mean they still aren’t bad. LIONS
Filoso: Hard to see BC losing three in a row but they always seem to struggle in Ottawa. REDBLACKS
Totals: LIONS 5 REDBLACKS 2
Toronto Argonauts (4-5) at Calgary Stampeders (6-1-1)
Saturday, Aug. 26, 9 p.m. EST
Ricky Ray had 377 passing yards and four TDs in leading Toronto past Montreal 38-6 last week while the Argos defence allowed just 138 net yards. Ray missed the previous week with a shoulder injury suffered in a 41-24 home loss to Calgary on Aug. 3. S.J. Green had nine catches for 145 yards in the win over the Als while running back Brandon Whitaker ran for 195 yards on 31 carries (6.3-yard average) in the home-and-home series. Stampeders’ starter Bo Levi Mitchell was 15-of-31 passing for 231 yards and an interception in last week’s win over B.C. but this week downplayed the severity of an unspecified issue that’s affecting his throwing motion. CFL rushing leader Jerome Messam, who suffered a knee injury against the Lions, is expected to play.
Dunk: Stampeders at McMahon. STAMPS
Hodge: Calgary at home? Check. STAMPS
Edwards: Where East teams go to die. STAMPS
Gasson: McMahon. STAMPS
Busby: Even without Messam, the Stamps offence can do enough. STAMPS
Smith: Calgary is going to lose at home eventually… but not this week. STAMPS
Filoso: Three things are certain in life: death, taxes and Calgary winning at home. STAMPS
Totals: STAMPS 7 ARGOS 0