Who ya got? 3Down experts make week one picks

This season, the contributors at 3DownNation will make their weekly picks for each CFL game. Let’s get going with week one…

Thursday, June 23
Hamilton Tiger-Cats (0-0) at Toronto Argonauts
8 p.m. EST
The Ticats visit arch-rival Toronto in the first CFL regular-season game at BMO Field. The two teams met their during the pre-season with the Argos prevailing 25-16. Jeremiah Masoli will get the start at quarterback for Hamilton as incumbent Zach Collaros continues to recover from season-ending knee surgery. Masoli led the Ticats in their two playoff games last year, including a 25-22 victory over Toronto in the East Division semifinal. Toronto will have its offensive leader under centre. Veteran Ricky Ray returns healthy after missing most of last year recovering from off-season shoulder surgery.

The picks
Drew Edwards: Ticats have owned the Argos of late, especially in big games. The trend continues. HAMILTON
Justin Dunk: The Rich Stubler defence takes some time to learn. HAMILTON
John Hodge: I believe the Ticats are the best team in the CFL, but without Zach Collaros and Ted Laurent at BMO Field? I’ll take the Boatmen. TORONTO
Santino Filoso: I’ll take a healthy Ricky Ray and Rich Stubler’s defence feeding off the energy of a packed house at BMO Field over a banged up Ticat team. TORONTO
Ian Busby: We’re going to party like crazy at Grey Cup this year, and the Boatmen start the BMO life off right. TORONTO
Josh Smith: Call me a homer, but I just get the feeling that Chad Owens is going to go off and prove to the Argos that he still has gas left in the tank. Ticats by a whisker. HAMILTON
Joel Gasson: Ricky Ray is the better quarterback and Argos should be riding high since they actually have a home now after last season’s debacle. TORONTO
Totals: Toronto 4 Hamilton 3

Friday, June 24
Montreal Alouettes (0-0) at  Winnipeg Blue Bombers (0-0)
8:30 p.m. EST
Winnipeg hosts a meeting between two teams that both missed the CFL playoffs last season. Quarterback Drew Willy returns under centre for the Bombers after suffering a season-ending knee injury last year. GM Kyle Walters was very busy in free agency, adding the likes of home-town running back Andrew Harris, receiver Weston Dressler, defensive linemen Keith Shologan and Euclid Cummings and kicker-punter Justin Medlock. The return of receiver Duron Carter was huge news in Montreal, giving veteran quarterback Kevin Glenn another big-play receiver to complement veteran S.J Green.

The picks
Edwards
: Every season, I think ‘this is year the Bombers get their shit together.’ Every year, I inevitably regret thinking that. Still, one of these years, I’m bound to be right. WINNIPEG
Dunk: Rookies at key spots for Montreal spells trouble. WINNIPEG
Hodge: Investors Group Field will be a madhouse on Friday night coming off the celebration of the Jets selecting Patrik Laine second overall in the NHL draft. Advantage: Bombers. WINNIPEG
Filoso: Despite questionable training camp cuts and rumours of discord on the defensive side of the ball, the Als’ defensive line gets the job done, pressuring Willy into turnovers. MONTREAL
Busby: As usual, the Bombers start hot. Once again, they will get their fans’ hope up, only to crush them later in the year. WINNIPEG
Smith: Maybe the hardest to pick, but Winnipeg’s No. 1s  looked putrid in the preseason and I like Kevin Glenn, so give me the Als. MONTREAL
Gasson: The Bombers were in games most of the year last year. Montreal will keep it close but signing the league’s most accurate kicker might pay off early for the Blue and Gold. WINNIPEG
Totals: Winnipeg 5 Montreal 2

Saturday, June 25
Ottawa Redblacks (0-0) at Edmonton Eskimos (0-0)
7 p.m. EST
A Grey Cup rematch in Edmonton as the home team faces the squad it beat 26-20 in Winnipeg. Jason Maas, Ottawa’s offensive co-ordinator last year, is now the head coach of the Eskimos. He will have Mike Reilly as his starter. Reilly led the Esks to 10 straight wins to finish last season. Henry Burris, the outstanding player in the CFL last year, leads the offence for Ottawa and has four 1,000-yard receivers at his disposal. However, the Redblacks will be minus defensive stalwarts Shologan and defensive end Justin Capiccotti and defensive back Jovon Johnson, who all left in free agency.

The picks
Edwards: Ohhhhh, the Grey Cup rematch. Not this year (not the Redblacks, anyway.) EDMONTON
Dunk: If the Esks can do it in Winnipeg in November, they can do it at home in June. EDMONTON
Hodge: The Eskimos get a win on banner-raising night. EDMONTON
Filoso: Watching the Eskimos raise their Grey Cup banner fuels the Redblacks to the first Ottawa win in Edmonton since 1983. OTTAWA
Busby: A year ago at this time, Mike Reilly went out with an injury, but he finishes the opener this time, and finishes off the RedBlacks again. EDMONTON
Smith: The Esks are just better. Period. Ottawa’s crash back down to earth begins at Commonwealth. EDMONTON
Gasson: Could be a contender for game of the week but the Eskimos first team offence will be the heartbeat of the team this year. Maas will take them to the next level offensively even if the defence takes a step back with losses/injuries and they will be just fine. EDMONTON
Totals: Edmonton 6 Ottawa 1

Saturday, June 25
Calgary Stampeders(0-0) at B.C. Lions (0-0)
10 p.m. EST
At Calgary, Wally Buono marks his return as B.C.’s head coach following a five-year absence. Buono last coached in 2011 but relinquished sideline duties after leading the Lions to a Grey Cup title to concentrate on his front-office responsibilities. But he assumed the coaching job after Jeff Tedford resigned after posting a 7-11 record last season. Dave Dickenson, who played quarterback for Buono in B.C., makes his head-coaching debut with Calgary after serving as the club’s offensive co-ordinator. Bo Levi Mitchell returns under centre with Canadian Jerome Messam replacing the retired Jon Cornish in the backfield.

The picks:
Edwards: The Stamps are good until it’s proven their not. For the Lions, the reverse. CALGARY
Dunk: Wally’s return will pay dividends for the Lions… just not right away. CALGARY
Hodge: This game may be closer than some expect, but I still think the Stamps take it by a touchdown. CALGARY
Filoso: Dickenson picks up where Hufnagel left off. CALGARY
Busby: Dickenson gets the best of old mentor Wally. The Lions are a long ways from contending. CALGARY
Smith: The Stamps get the benefit of the doubt until they prove they don’t deserve. BC will be better than most people think, but they still start 0-1. Stamps in a closer one than people expect. CALGARY
Gasson: The Stamps offer up the better QB and team than the Lions. CALGARY
Totals: Calgary 7 B.C. 0

– game capsules via Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press

 

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