Week 11 Picks: One more summer weekend before it gets real

Jonathon Jennings

B.C. Lions (6-3) at Toronto Argonaut (4-5)
Wed., Aug. 31, 7:30 p.m. EST

Quarterback Ricky Ray will start Wednesday night when Toronto (4-5) hosts the B.C. Lions (6-3) at BMO Field and should provide a boost for a Toronto offence that threw nine interceptions during his absence.  The Lions are coming off a 29-23 road win over Ottawa on Thursday, their third straight victory over an East Division squad, to improve to 4-1 overall away from B.C. Place Stadium.

Drew Edwards: One vet in (Ray), one vet out (Raymond) for Argos. Who cares. LIONS
Justin Dunk: Ricky’s back and that’s what matters. ARGOS
John Hodge: Right now, the CFL’s East Division simply can’t hang with the top dogs in the West. LIONS
Joel Gasson: The Argos for whatever reason haven’t been able to figure it out at BMO. They need to win this game on a short week, within the same week, but they won’t. LIONS
Ian Busby: A classic Wednesday Night Football matchup during Labour Day week. Maybe not but an intriguing matchup at least. LIONS
Josh Smith: Ricky Ray may be back, but the Lions are a much better all-around team. LIONS
Santino Filoso: Ricky Ray’s return moves the Argo’s offence up and down the field, but fails to move them back into the win column. LIONS
Totals: LIONS 6 ARGOS 1

Antoine Pruneau, Samuel Giguere

Ottawa Redblacks (4-4-1) at  Montreal Alouettes (3-6)
Thur., Sept. 1, 7:30 EST

Ottawa has dropped four of its last five games. Trevor Harris threw for 352 yards and a TD in his return against B.C. and while the Redblacks’ defence had six sacks and forced two fumbles, it also allowed 420 net yards – including 128 rushing. After exploding for six touchdowns in a 43-19 win over Ottawa, Montreal (3-6) managed just two in its 32-18 loss to Winnipeg. Receiver Duron Carter won’t play after an arbitrator upheld his a one-game suspension for bumping Ottawa coach Rick Campbell earlier this season.

Drew Edwards: Duron Carter is (finally) suspended, Ottawa (finally) wins. REDBLACKS
Justin Dunk: Montreal has been up and down this season but mostly down. REDBLACKS
John Hodge: There’s no way Montreal beats Ottawa twice in three weeks. REDBLACKS
Joel Gasson: The Alouettes have little left on offence. The Redblacks will get better in their second week back under Trevor Harris. REDBLACKS
Ian Busby: Which Ottawa team is going to show up? That’s anybody’s guess. For some reason they have trouble with Montreal. ALOUETTES
Josh Smith: Duron Carter is out and that means there is no way I’m picking the Als. REDBLACKS
Santino Filoso: Harris, Williams and Ellingson > Glenn, Lewis and no Carter. REDBLACKS

Andre Monroe

Winnipeg Blue Bombers (5-4) at  Saskatchewan Roughriders (1-8))
Sun., Sept. 4, 3 p.m. EST

Winnipeg has won four straight after last week’s 32-18 victory over Montreal. Quarterback Matt Nichols improved to 4-0 since going under centre but again got plenty of help from the defence, which forced six turnovers against the Alouettes. But the Bombers were flagged 13 times for 151 yards in penalties. Saskatchewan (1-8) continues to struggle after losing a 33-25 decision last week to Edmonton. The Riders have lost five straight and been outscored 181-60 over that span.

Drew Edwards: Not convinced Winnipeg is for real. Convinced they are better than Saskatchewan. BOMBERS
Justin Dunk: Ice, ice baby. BOMBERS
John Hodge: The Bombers have broken a ton of streaks this season — ending their eleven-year losing streak on Labour Day will be the next one. BOMBERS
Joel Gasson: Everything suggests the Bombers should win this game, except for the Riders Labour Day Weekend run. That streak will end eventually but my gut tells me it’s not this year, this could be Taylor Field’s last hurrah. RIDERS
Ian Busby: Two teams heading in opposite directions. Throw that out for what will be Saskatchewan’s Grey Cup. RIDERS
Josh Smith: Winnipeg should win this game, but when these two teams meet on the Sunday before Labour Day, that never seems to matter. Saskatchewan finds a way. RIDERS
Santino Filoso: Winnipeg is on fire and Saskatchewan is Saskatchewan BOMBERS

Edmonton Eskimos' Bryant Mitchell, right, looks on as Calgary Stampeders' Tommie Campbell swats away the ball during first half CFL pre-season football action in Calgary, Saturday, June 11, 2016.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Edmonton Eskimos (5-4) at Calgary Stampeders (7-1-1)
Mon., Sept. 5, 3 p.m. EST

Calgary has won six straight and is riding an eight-game unbeaten streak while Edmonton has recorded three consecutive victories. The Stampeders are also 4-0 at McMahon Stadium. Edmonton’s Mike Reilly leads the CFL in passing (3,096) and TD strikes (16), just ahead of Calgary’s Bo Levi Mitchell (2,857 yards, 15 touchdowns) although Mitchell possesses a CFL-best 35-7-1 career record as a starter. Another factor in the Stamps’ favour is kicker Rene Parades, who has made 28 straight field-goal attempts.

Drew Edwards: Calgary is a juggernaut at home. STAMPS
Justin Dunk: Reilly may have the passing yards but Bo Levi has the wins. STAMPS
John Hodge: You never pick against the Stamps at home. STAMPS
Joel Gasson: As usual, don’t bet against Calgary at home. STAMPS
Ian Busby: First of two straight meetings between West Division heavyweights. Eskimos need to sweep to keep at first-place hopes alive. Say goodbye to that. STAMPS
Josh Smith: Calgary is clicking and Edmonton is still finding their way. Bad timing for the Esks as the Stamps continue to roll. STAMPS
Santino Filoso: Can anybody stop Mike Reilly right now? ESKIMOS

labour day classic19.JPG

Toronto Argonauts (4-4) at Hamilton Tiger-Cats (4-5)
Mon., Sept. 5, 6:30 p.m. EST

There’s something about playing on the road that agrees with Toronto (4-4), which is 3-0 away from BMO Field. And there’s also the matter of redemption as Hamilton (4-5) handed the Argos an emphatic 42-20 loss in the first-ever regular-season game at BMO Field to open the ’16 season June 23. And that was with Jeremiah Masoli at quarterback as incumbent Zach Collaros was recovering from season-ending knee surgery. Collaros is back, having thrown for 1,151 yards with 10 TDs and just one interception in his three starts. Hamilton is just 1-2 at Tim Hortons Field but that win was a 53-7 victory against Saskatchewan in Collaros’s home debut.

Drew Edwards: Labour Day is the other Grey Cup in Steeltown. TICATS
Justin Dunk: If Hamilton can go toe-to-toe with Calgary, they should handle Toronto. TICATS
John Hodge: Ricky Ray or not, the Ticats are simply the better team. TICATS
Joel Gasson: Hamilton is starting to click with Zach Collaros back, the Argos have already played this week. TICATS.
Ian Busby: Short week for the Argos means the Ticats will make short work of them. TICATS
Josh Smith: The Argos have lost four of the last five Labour Day Classics and are 0-6 at Tim Hortons Field. ‘Nuff said. TICATS
Santino Filoso: You can throw out records on Labour Day but I still take Hamilton at home. TICATS
Totals: TICATS 7 ARGOS 0

Season records
Smith: 25-14-1
Dunk: 24-15-1
Filoso: 23-16-1
Hodge: 21-18-1
Edwards: 19-20-1
Gasson: 17-22-1
Busby: 16-23-1