3Down CFL picks: Let’s get this thing started already

Each year, select contributors from 3Down make their picks for each and every game during the CFL season. In 2017, Justin Dunk led the way with 62-23-1 record but as a whole, the group was a collective 189 games over .500.

This year, we’re adding a little spice to the mix. The winner of our in-house competition will win a prize, determined by you, the faithful reader. Make a suggestion in the comments section and the best one wins a limited edition 3DownNation t-shirt. If nothing else, they’re great for burning things in effigy.

OK, here we go…

Thursday, June 14
Edmonton at Winnipeg, 8:30 p.m. EST

Chris Streveler wasn’t even born the last time a pure rookie quarterback opened a CFL season as a starter. Hall of Famer Anthony Calvillo, currently the Toronto Argonauts quarterback coach, was the last player to achieve that in 1994 with the expansion Las Vegas Posse. Streveler, 23, will be under centre Thursday night when the Winnipeg Blue Bombers host the Edmonton Eskimos. Steveler might be athletic and have a strong arm, but the defences he saw in pre-season will be vastly different now. Winnipeg’s offence features versatile running back Andrew Harris but Edmonton has a huge edge at quarterback with Mike Reilly.

Dunk: The Bombers can keep it close and have a shot to upset if Chris Streveler can make some plays against an Eskimos secondary that is missing some key regulars. BOMBERS
Edwards: Streveler is the first QB since Calvillo to start right out of college. There’s a reason for that: it’s not a good idea. ESKS
Gasson: Weird things happen in Week 1, not that weird. ESKS
Hodge: Streveler vs. Reilly, huh? ESKS
Ballantine: No Matt Nichols, no chance. ESKS
Filoso: I’ll take the guy with 79 career starts over the guy with none. ESKS
Smith: Man, I wish Matt Nichols didn’t get hurt. ESKS

Friday, June 15
Toronto at Saskatchewan, 9 p.m. EST

Quarterback Zach Collaros makes his first career start for Saskatchewan after being acquired from Hamilton. Collaros was the overwhelming favourite for the CFL’s outstanding player award in 2015 before suffering a season-ending injury. Since returning, Collaros has lost a league record-tying 12 straight starts. If Collaros struggles, Brandon Bridge of Mississauga, Ont., can again come off the bench. Toronto begins its Grey Cup defence with veteran quarterback Ricky Ray, the East Division’s outstanding player last year with 5,546 yards passing. Receiver S.J. Green will again be a favourite target while sophomore running back James Wilder Jr. provides a solid dual threat.

Dunk: Riders get some measure of revenge for East Final loss. RIDERS
Edwards: Saskatchewan at home with something to prove. RIDERS
Gasson: Riders horses on D haven’t played enough yet. ARGOS
Hodge: Toronto’s front-four feasts. ARGOS
Ballantine: Collaros didn’t look good in limited action. ARGOS
Filoso: Collaros/Bridge will be under siege all game long. ARGOS
Smith: I just don’t trust the Riders’ o-line to keep Collaros upright. ARGOS

Saturday, June 16
Hamilton at Calgary, 7 p.m. EST

Quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell leads the home team on its quest for a third straight Grey Cup appearance. The Stampeders was a CFL-best 7-2 at home last season and 6-1-1 versus East Division rivals. June Jones begins his first full season as Hamilton’s head coach after compiling a 6-4 record in 2017 on an interim basis. Jeremiah Masoli, who orchestrated the 6-4 mark, is the Ticats’ starting quarterback with former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel as his backup. The Ticats have traditionally struggled at McMahon.

Dunk: McMahon Stadium is the location, so…STAMPS
Edwards: It won’t be 60-1. Other than that, no promises. STAMPS
Gasson: It’s in Calgary. STAMPS.
Hodge: Stamps at home. STAMPS
Ballantine: Calgary rarely loses and when they do, it isn’t to the Ticats. STAMPS
Filoso: Manziel comes off the bench and leads an upset win. Just kidding. STAMPS
Smith: Ticats haven’t won at McMahon since 2004 and haven’t beaten the Stamps anywhere since 2011. That streak has to end sometime… but it won’t be here. STAMPS

Montreal at British Columbia, 10 p.m. EST

Head coach Wally Buono begins his final season as B.C.’s head coach. Two of Buono’s six Grey Cup rings came as a linebacker-punter with the Alouettes. The Lions won both of their exhibition games and defensively scored three TDs. But the offence, under first-year coordinator Jarious Jackson, continues to progress slowly. Having said that, quarterback Jonathon Jennings has two solid receivers in veterans Emmanuel Arceneaux and Bryan Burnham. Drew Willy makes the start for Montreal in head coach Mike Sherman’s CFL debut.

Dunk: B.C. playing on the Left coast. LIONS
Edwards: Can’t think of a single reason to take Montreal in this game. LIONS
Gasson: Long trip for Montreal and a night game. LIONS
Hodge: B.C. in a snoozer. LIONS
Ballantine: A nice game to fall asleep to for fans in the East. LIONS
Filoso: Montreal has too many question marks. LIONS
Smith: When in doubt, take the home team. LIONS

2017 Season records
Dunk: 62-23-1
Edwards: 58-27-1
Gasson: 57-28-1
Hodge: 56-29-1
Busby: 55-30-1
Filoso: 55-30-1
Smith: 49-36-1

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33 Comments on 3Down CFL picks: Let’s get this thing started already

  1. 1). Esks vs Bombers

    Would love to see the underdog Bombers pull off an upset at home but with Nichols out and a rookie QB, I have to take Edmonton by 10 points.

    2). Argos vs Riders

    I know, I know, it’s the hometown cooking that says the Riders pull off a slight upset over the Grey Cup champs. I’m taking the green and white by 6 points.

    3). Ticats vs Stamps

    Ok, I would love to see the Tiger-Cats upset the Stumps (rather, Stamps) but this isn’t the Grey Cup where an upset happens on a yearly basis. I’m taking the Stamps by 14 points at home.

    4). Alouettes at Lions

    Lastly (as in Alouettes) have to take the Lions by three touchdowns over the lowly eastern foes.

  2. Paul Bomber // June 14, 2018 at 11:19 am //

    I can’t not give us a chance. A couple of tipped passes out of Reilly’s hands, a blown coverage or Harris having a monster game but I get the 79 starts to 0 as noted above. I’d live with a moral victory, but would love a real one.

  3. Why the constant bleating by the media about the time change for Teams playing on the West Coast. They beat the time change to death, I guess they don’t realize in Canada Central (as opposed to central Canada) it works both ways.Yeah, it’s an evening game and it means players have to stay up a little later! But why not the same excuse when the Lions get an early afternoon game out east? Having traveled across Canada for many years, I always found jet lag going east much harder to deal with. I’d rather play in the evening than morning!

    • Paul Bomber // June 14, 2018 at 11:48 am //

      I half agree with you: suck it up if you have a game in BC. But it’s not the same thing going East. If BC has a worst case scenario… a 1 pm start in Montreal, they’re starting the game 10 am. I don’t think it’s the same to start at 11 pm and finish around 2 in the morning Montreal time.
      If it was a 9 AM in Montreal and a kickoff time of 5 am Pacific time, then your “same thing” theory would make sense to me.

      • Paul Bomber // June 14, 2018 at 11:50 am //

        Screwed up my math… worst case is for the Lions to start at 9 am BC time, not 10 am.

    • The time difference is not an issue. A couple of east teams have beat the west coast thing by flying out a day early. They also put their players on west coast time a few days before the game.
      The complainers about the 10PM east start are always Ticat fans for some reason.

  4. Bill deHoog // June 14, 2018 at 11:26 am //

    Well we are finally back at it
    Taking Esks, Argos, Stamps, Lions to start it off
    Interesting to see how Massoli and Collaros will do in week 1. Expect Argo defence to dominate
    One thing for sure…Redblacks will still be undefeated after week 1

  5. Dan Bombers // June 14, 2018 at 11:31 am //

    Winnipeg r(I always pick them !!) riders lions stamps

  6. Cats almost beat Stamps late last season. The game was at home but the Cats have every reason to believe they can do it

    • yes, after Hamilton was eliminated from the playoffs and the Stamps had already wrapped up first and resting their starters.

      NONE of the East teams will win this week

      • No it was Bo who threw a hail Mary as in the dying seconds to get a hardly deserved win. And it was October 13th! Hamilton had them! They also showed how they can be beat, as they then lost to Sask, Edm and Winnepeg and oh ya, eventually TO Picking Cats!

        • Philski // June 15, 2018 at 1:07 am //

          Agree. And if Stephen had not made that gaffe at the end (which is unacceptable for a vet) TC’s would have won. Hopefully he learned from it.

          • I’ll have to check … I seem to recall that OT would have been forced instead of an outright win.

            Yes … a bad gaffee and a much better showing than the 60-1 debacle but I believe the game was still up for grabs.

  7. “Gasson: Riders horses on D haven’t played enough yet” ??

    Unless he’s referencing DB’s, I have no idea what he’s talking about. I’m hoping the D has enough pressure on Ray that deep balls will be few and far between. And if the shut Wilder down like we did in the final (minus the short pass that broke our back) we should be fine.

    If there are questions, it’s certainly on O.

  8. I think east is underrated.
    My picks are Bombers,Argos,Ticats and Alouettes. I don’t think these teams are as weak as most people believe.

  9. Reference the time zone – it’s actually not the same: each player’s body clock is generally more impacted travelling West, than it is travelling East.

    Not to belabour the point for those good at Math, but a 7pm game out West is an 11pm game for an Eastern team. The body clock is telling that player to sleep, not ramp it up. Vice versa for a Western team – they are playing an “early” game, more consistent with their practice time, not sleep time.

    • Paul Bomber // June 14, 2018 at 1:02 pm //

      what I tried to say above… but nearly as clearly as you… ‘tanks (it’s the English language, not math that gives me trouble apparently)

  10. Red&White Forever // June 14, 2018 at 12:36 pm //

    I think Dunk is going to start this year at 2-2.
    I’ve got:
    Esks – No Nichols, no win for Winnipeg.
    Argos – Sask o-line and Collaros not convincing in the preseason.
    Stamps – At McMahon, enough said. The only question is: will Masoli struggle enough for us to see Manziel?
    Lions – See WPG vs EDM. Drew Willy is not the answer.

  11. 27 years and counting // June 14, 2018 at 1:27 pm //

    Sigh,…..28 years coming up. BB loss
    Tight game Riders pull it out.
    Jonny makes an appearance, looks OK stamps squeak it out
    This is the start of the end of Kavis. BC wins

  12. Blue rules // June 14, 2018 at 1:37 pm //

    Bombers wil pull out all the stops, including a thunderstorm to rain on Edmonton’s parade, Bombers by 2/3 of a FG (2 points)

    • Haha – 2/3 – like it Blue.

    • Paul Bomber // June 14, 2018 at 2:20 pm //

      Crazier things have happened! I’m dragging a bum foot out to IGF tonight… it would be a nice jesture to the fans for the boys to pull off an upset!

      • Sounds like the least they could do. Maybe the club could spring for a few cool ones to ease the pain too.

  13. Sir Gallahan of the Prairies // June 14, 2018 at 2:16 pm //

    How can any of you take anything away from pre season. With this Analogy those of you who believe in preseason would have picked the Cleveland Browns to do well last year. They won every preseason game.
    When Collaros was in. He was not playing with all of his starting receivers. I agree that his throws need more zip and they need to get out quicker. That’s what preseason shows you. As for the Riders Oline… it’s fine! It’s the Oline depth that’s an issue until injury’s heal.
    What I don’t understand is how some people who pretend to be football people speak with less knowledge than my 11 year old daughter.

  14. Riders4Last // June 14, 2018 at 2:29 pm //

    I can totally see Argoooooos slapping around the lowly riders and extending Collaros streak to league record 13 straight losses,gonna be another longgggg year for the riders fighting to stay out of the basement .

  15. No QB,no O-line ,no linebackers,thin at Canadians = no chance again this year for the riders.

  16. BigBlue // June 14, 2018 at 2:54 pm //

    WInnipeg by 14 over Edmonton . Could be even more. Winnipeg is way better than Edmonton.
    Toronto by 17 over Sask
    Calgary by 10 over Hamilton
    Bc by 21 over Montreal

  17. Ticats 60 Calgary 1 🙂
    Riders by 3
    BC by 10
    Edmonton by 7

  18. Mike Melymick // June 14, 2018 at 3:14 pm //

    Winner gets some Canadian wine, Canadian cheese, and Canadian beef for a backyard barbeque

  19. 1). Esks vs Bombers

    Edmonton by at least a touchdown. Losing Nichols for the first few games will slow the Bombers start to the season, to the point they’ll be chasing the rest of the west for the remainder.

    2). Argos vs Riders

    Too many holes on the O-line for the Riders, and Trestman will have the Argos ready to go on the road. Argos by 3.

    3). Ticats vs Stamps

    Most everyone would like to see the Ticats win this one, me included. Not going to happen… Stumps by two touchdowns.

    4). Alouettes at Lions

    Lions, Lions and More Lions. Alouettes won’t change the outcome they usually receive on the west coast. Drew Willy? Really? Lions By 20.

  20. winnipeg by 19, ticats by 2, montreal by 5 and sask by 9.
    since these guys have no clue how to pick i will be just as stupid in my selections, lol bombers at home against an overrated injured esks secondary, trust me cal/deadmonton is not finishing 1-2 this year, these 3 down nation guys are clowns.

  21. Over the past ten years, how many times has an Eastern team won a night game in Vancouver? Two or three?

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