Week 5 picks: Argos big favourites over Alouettes

Calgary Stampeders (1-1-1) at Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1-3)
Thur., July 21
8:30 p.m. EST

It’s the second meeting in three weeks between the two as Calgary captured a 36-22 home decision July 1. The Stampeders have been off since a 26-26 tie in Ottawa on July 8. Quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell was 29-of-43 passing for 268 yards and two TDs in that contest. Winnipeg is coming off a hard-luck 20-16 loss to Edmonton as Eskimos starter Mike Reilly threw for 465 yards and two TDs. Bombers’ starter Drew Willy will remain under centre after completing 25-of-38 passing for 299 yards and a touchdown but also throwing two interceptions.

Drew Edwards: Head says Calgary, gut says Winnipeg. Stupid gut. BOMBERS
Justin Dunk: The Stamps play better at IGF than the Bombers – Calgary a perfect 4-0 since that sweet stadium opened. STAMPS
John Hodge: Matt Nichols playing the fourth quarter won’t save Winnipeg. STAMPS
Joel Gasson: I’m done betting on Winnipeg. STAMPS
Ian Busby: Stamps have the Bombers number these days. Not even close. STAMPS
Josh Smith: Stamps coming off a bye against a bad Winnipeg team. This one is a no-brainer. STAMPS
Santino Filoso: Since 2005, Calgary has won 15/19 games coming off a bye. Meanwhile, Winnipeg is still Winnipeg. STAMPS

Ottawa Redblacks (3-0-1) at Saskatchewan Roughriders (0-3)
Friday, July 22
9 p.m. EST

Now it’s Chris Jones’s turn to try and ground Trevor Harris and the Ottawa Redblacks’ high-powered offence. Since replacing injured incumbent Henry Burris in Ottawa’s season-opening win over Edmonton, Harris has been nearly unstoppable. He’s leading the CFL in passing yards (1,475), completion percentage (82.5), touchdowns (nine) and passing efficiency (140.1) while throwing just one interception. The Riders are still seeking their first win under Jones and quarterback Darian Durant left Saskatchewan’s 40-27 loss to the B.C. Lions with a sprained ankle. Durant had suffered season-ending injuries in each of the last two years for the Riders.

Edwards: The Riders are 2-462 without Durant (all numbers approximate.) REDBLACKS
Dunk: Less Darian, more problems for the Riders. REDBLACKS
Hodge: The Riders have been shaky with Durant. This one could get ugly. REDBLACKS
Gasson:  Riders are too beat up. REDBLACKS
Busby: Desperation is palpable in the prairies. The pressure comes off a bit this week. RIDERS
Smith: The lone team without a loss against the lone team without a win. This one is over by halftime. REDBLACKS
Filoso:  D-Block (Ottawa’s veteran and aggressive secondary) > Mitchell Gale. Which is why the undefeated teams stays that way while the winless team continues to frustrate home fans. REDBLACKS

Hamilton Tiger-Cats (2-2) at Edmonton Eskimos (2-1)
Saturday, July 23
7 p.m. EST

Reilly might be the one to make the Eskimos (2-1) go offensively but receivers Adarius Bowman and Derel Walker are both key cogs. Bowman, the CFL’s top receiver last year, had 10 catches for 185 yards in the win over Winnipeg while Walker, the league’s outstanding rookie in 2015, added seven receptions for 154 yards and a touchdown. After allowing an average of over 40 points over the club’s first two games, the Eskimos’ defence forced three fumbles and had two interceptions against the Bombers. Hamilton (2-2) is coming off a 31-7 road win over Montreal to boost its record away from Tim Hortons Field to 2-0.

Edwards: Edmonton has the tools to exploit Hamilton’s shortcomings. ESKS
Dunk: Edmonton has played in three tight games to begin the season. Expect no difference against Hamilton. ESKS
Hodge: Mike Reilly is on pace for 7,300 passing yards and 42 touchdowns. Enough said. ESKS
Gasson: This should be a good one. ESKS
Busby: This is the marquee matchup of the week. It won’t live up the billing though. Easy pickings for home side. ESKS
Smith: If Masoli plays like he did in Week 1, the Ticats will rip apart that Edmonton secondary. I say he repeats his BMO feats. TICATS
Filoso: The Ticats’ defence feasted on a weak Montreal offensive line last week but they simply don’t have the offensive firepower to go four quarters with Mike Reilly and Jason Maas. ESKS

Montreal Alouettes (1-2) at Toronto Argonauts (2-2)
Monday, July 25
7:30 p.m. EST

The Argos haven’t exactly enjoyed home-field advantage at BMO Field. They’re 0-2 at their new home venue after dropping a 30-20 decision to Ottawa last week. Toronto started off well, surging into an early 13-0 lead but Tristan Jackson delivered the decisive blow for the Redblacks with a 75-yard punt return TD that broke a 20-20 tie in the fourth quarter. Montreal is coming off a 31-7 home loss to Hamilton after being outscored 26-3 in the second half, thanks in part to Brandon Banks’ 86-yard punt return TD.

Edwards: The most entertaining thing about Montreal right now is their slow, inexorable implosion. ARGOS
Dunk: The Argonauts get on the board at BMO Field. ARGOS
Hodge: The Alouettes are who we thought they were. Toronto won’t let ‘em off the hook. ARGOS
Busby: Argos get back on track this week, but it’s their attendance number that’s most intriguing from this matchup. ARGOS
Smith: The Als are a complete mess right now. Not sure I would take them against the University of Toronto, let alone the city’s professional team. ARGOS
Filoso:  Montreal is the worst team in the East and it’s not close ARGOS

Season records
Filoso: 9-6-1
Edwards: 8-7-1
Dunk: 8-7-1
Smith: 7-8-1
Hodge: 7-8-1
Gasson: 4-11-1
Busby: 2-13-1

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