Week two picks: Not much faith in the Riders

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

Ottawa Redbacks (1-0) at Montreal Alouettes (1-0)
Friday, June 30
7 p.m. EST
It seems Henry Burris is human after all. The veteran quarterback will miss his first CFL start since 2007 on Thursday night when the Ottawa Redblacks visit the Montreal Alouettes. The CFL’s outstanding player last season suffered a hand injury in last week’s 45-37 overtime win over the Edmonton Eskimos. That means Trevor Harris, who came off the bench to throw for 292 yards and three TDs against Edmonton, starts against Montreal. He started 16 games last year with Toronto while incumbent Ricky Ray recovered from off-season shoulder injury, throwing a CFL-best 33 TD strikes. But Kevin Glenn wasn’t too shabby in Montreal’s opener. The veteran quarterback had 332 yards passing with a TD in the Alouettes’ 22-14 road win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

The picks:
Drew Edwards: the Alouettes defence looked good last week. Trevor Harris looked better. REDBLACKS
Justin Dunk: Trevor Harris. SIGN. ME UP. REDBLACKS
John Hodge: Chris Williams is simply too good for Montreal’s rookie corners. REDBLACKS
Josh Smith: mistakes by Montreal’s offense made Als-Bombers closer than it should have been. ALOUETTES
Joel Gasson: The Alouettes surprised a lot of people last week. This should be a good one. ALOUETTES
Santino Filoso: No Henry = no problem. Trevor Harris, the best “backup” QB in the league, helps Ottawa spoil Montreal’s home opener for the second year in a row REDBLACKS

Toronto Argonauts (0-1) at  Saskatchewan Roughriders (0-0)
Friday, June 30
10 p.m. EST
It’s Saskatchewan’s season opener and Chris Jones’s debut. After guiding Edmonton to the Grey Cup as head coach, Jones was hired as Riders head coach/GM after the squad posted a dismal 3-15 record. Quarterback Darian Durant returns after suffering season-ending injuries the last two years but such stalwarts as defensive lineman John Chick and receivers Chris Getzlaf and slotback Weston Dressler are gone. It’s the Roughriders’ final season at Mosaic Stadium, where they’re 12-4 in home openers since 2000. Toronto comes off a 42-20 home loss to Hamilton in its regular-season debut at BMO Field. Ricky Ray threw for 282 yards and two TDs but was sacked six times and surrendered a pick-six and lost fumble to Ticats’ linebacker Simoni Lawrence.

The picks

Edwards: Toronto is better than they looked last week, the Riders are worse than people think. ARGONAUTS
Dunk: Scott Milanovich will not allow Toronto to drop to 0-2. ARGONAUTS
Hodge: This is football; you can’t immediately win with 19 new starters in your line-up. The Riders are going to need time to gel — a lot of time. ARGONAUTS
Smith: Riders will be pumped for last home opener at Mosaic, but Toronto will spoil the party. ARGONAUTS
Gasson: The Riders will look better than they did in the pre-season but it won’t be quite enough. ARGONAUTS
Filoso: With over 30 new players on their roster and less than half a pre-season game to gel, I’ll take Toronto over a Saskatchewan team that has yet to knock off the rust. ARGONAUTS

B.C. Lions (1-0) at  Hamilton Tiger-Cats (1-0)
Saturday, July 1
7 p.m. EST
Jeremiah Masoli threw for 318 yards and three TDs against Toronto and was especially sharp in the third quarter after the Argos pulled to within 25-20. He went 15-of-15 passing for 176 yards and two TDs to cement the victory. Lawrence led a tenacious defence with seven tackles to go with his two sacks, pick-six and fumble recovery. Unfortunately for B.C., the unit feeds off its rabid fans at Tim Hortons Field. Chris Rainey had two TDs, one coming on a 71-yard punt return, to rally the Lions to a 20-18 home win over Calgary. But Hamilton also counters with a stellar returner of its own in Brandon Banks. Sophomore starter Jonathon Jennings can expect a lot of pressure from a Ticats’ defence bolstered by all-star defensive tackle Ted Laurent’s return.

The picks

Edwards: the Lions were lucky to win last week, the Ticats were not. TIGER-CATS
Dunk: Hamilton at home. B.C. long eastern trip. TIGER-CATS
Hodge: Did the Lions win last week or did Calgary lose? In my opinion, the latter. TIGER-CATS
Smith: more rest, longer prep time and no cross-country flight means Hamilton starts 2-0. TIGER-CATS
Gasson: Long trip for BC in week 2, Calgary also more or less beat themselves last week. TIGER-CATS
Filoso: Traveling cross country is tough to begin with but taking on the Ticats at TNF is even tougher. BC won’t know what hit them. TIGER-CATS

Winnipeg Blue Bombers (0-1) at  Calgary Stampeders (0-1)
Saturday, July 1
10 p.m. EST
Calgary has won 12 of its last 13 home games versus Winnipeg since 2002. The Stamps were also 3-0 against the Bombers last season but are coming off a 20-18 road loss to B.C. quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell threw for 233 yards and a TD while the offence managed just 50 yards rushing on 18 attempts. Rainey’s huge special-teams play was pivotal in the contest. The new-look Bombers lost their season opener 22-14 to Montreal at home but slotback Weston Dressler (head) won’t play. Quarterback Drew Willy finished 25-of-34 passing for 303 yards with one TD and an interception. Darvin Adams had five catches for 105 yards and a TD while Winnipeg native Andrew Harris ran for 80 yards on 13 carries in his debut with his home-town team.

The picks

Edwards: job security already a topic of conversation in the ‘Peg. That’s not a good sign. STAMPS.
Dunk: Calgary gets back on the horse. STAMPS
Hodge: Bo Levi Mitchell wasn’t sharp last week, but he didn’t consistently miss open targets down the field, either. STAMPS.
Smith: Stamps at home, especially after a bad loss? Yes, please. STAMPS
Gasson: I’ll probably regret this, but the Bombers play mad and bounce back. Calgary still trying to find themselves. BLUE BOMBERS
Filoso: After giving away last week’s game, the Stamps bounce back in a big way and put on a show for their fans in their home opener STAMPS

Season records
Smith: 2-2
Filoso: 2-2
Edwards: 1-3
Dunk: 1-3
Hodge: 0-4
Gasson: 0-4
Busby: 0-4

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