Week 13 picks: A glimmer of hope in Riderville

CFL Football

Montreal Alouettes (3-8) Hamilton Tiger-Cats (5-6)
Fri., Sept. 16, 7 p.m. EST

Montreal made headlines this week for all the wrong reasons when tempers flared between quarterback Rakeem Cato and receivers Duron Carter and Kenny Stafford during practice. It’s certainly been a frustrating season for the Alouettes, who’ve lose three straight, allowed a league-high 35 sacks and are second-last in scoring (232 points). Hamilton (5-6) is coming off a disappointing road loss in Toronto. Quarterback Zach Collaros has thrown for 1,810 yards and 15 TDs since returning to the Ticats’ lineup but was sacked three times and intercepted twice against the Argos.

Drew Edwards: A team scrapping in practice doesn’t necessarily mean they lose the game. But it does here. TICATS
Justin Dunk: The only K.O. for Cato is likely to be his own teammates. TICATS
John Hodge: The Alouettes couldn’t beat Hamilton even if Rakeem Cato didn’t want to rip Duron Carter’s head off. TICATS
Joel Gasson: this feels like one where Montreal might prove everyone wrong. That said, I’m still going with Collaros. TICATS.
Ian Busby: The implosion continues for the Alouettes. Collaros will light them up and it won’t be pretty. Tiger-Cats
Josh Smith: This one worries me if I am a Ticats fan. But not enough to take Montreal. TICATS
Santino Filoso: Montreal is rocketing towards rock bottom TICATS
Totals: TICATS 7 ALOUETTES 0

Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Matt Nichols (15) throws against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats during the first half of CFL action in Winnipeg Wednesday, August 3, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Toronto Argonauts (5-6) at Winnipeg Blue Bombers (7-4)
Sat., Sept. 17, 2 p.m. EST

T.J. Heath and Drew Willy won’t have to wait long to see their former teammates. Heath and Willy were key figures in the trade Sunday night between Toronto and Winnipeg. The Argos acquired Willy from the Bombers for Heath, a 2017 first-round draft pick and 2018 third-round selection. The Bombers’ decision to move Willy wasn’t surprising. He’d been relegated to backup quarterback behind Matt Nichols, who has helped the Blue Bombers win six straight. Dan LeFevour will make a second straight start for Toronto in place of injured incumbent Ricky Ray (rib). LeFevour was 27-of-36 passing for 329 yards with a TD and two interceptions against Hamilton to snap the Argos’ four-game losing streak.

Drew Edwards: C’mon Winnipeg, make me a believer. BOMBERS
Justin Dunk: Matty Ice cools LeFevour. BOMBERS
John Hodge: The Bombers get one more win before coming down to earth next week in Calgary. BOMBERS
Joel Gasson: The Stamps are on the horizon, Winnipeg could use this one but I think the streak ends. ARGOS.
Ian Busby: Bad things happen to starting quarterbacks when Kevin Glenn is called a ‘backup.’ Nothing bad happens this week however. Bombers
Josh Smith: Not picking against a team that is on a six-game winning streak. BOMBERS
Santino Filoso:Last week´s momentum carries over and leads Toronto to another upset win ARGOS
Totals: BOMBERS 5 ARGOS 2

Calgary Stampeders' quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell passes against the B.C. Lions during the first half of a CFL football game in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday August 19, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Ottawa Redblacks (5-4-1) Calgary Stampeders (9-1-1)
Sat., Sept. 17, 5 p.m. EST

Calgary is riding a 10-game unbeaten streak. Its tie, though, was a 26-26 decision in Ottawa on July 8. But the Stampeders are 5-0 at McMahon Stadium and are the league’s lone unbeaten squad at home. They not only boast one of the league’s top quarterbacks in Bo Levi Mitchell (3,575 yards, league-high 20 TDs) but also its leading rusher in Jerome Messam (704 yards). Linebacker Taylor Reed, released this week by Calgary, is expected to be in the lineup for Ottawa, which hasn’t played since a 19-14 win over Montreal on Sept. 1.

Drew Edwards: Calgary at home. And we’re done. STAMPS
Justin Dunk: The Taylor Reed revenge game is not enough. STAMPS
John Hodge: You never pick against Calgary at home. STAMPS
Joel Gasson: see the last few weeks Calgary has been at home. STAMPS.
Ian Busby: Taylor Reed lands with the RedBlacks and is able to hand over all the Stamps’ secrets. The secret is the Stamps have no weaknesses. STAMPS
Josh Smith: This game is at McMahon. That’s all that needs to be said. STAMPS
Santino Filoso:  The Redblacks have a history of being blown out in Calgary STAMPS
Totals: STAMPS 7 REDBLACKS 0

Edmonton Eskimos Adarius Bowman (4) celebrates a touchdown against the Calgary Stampeders during first half CFL action in Edmonton, Alta., on Saturday September 10, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson.

Edmonton Eskimos (5-6) Saskatchewan Roughriders (1-10)
Sat., Sept. 17, 5 p.m. EST

The Eskimos are a tough team to figure out. They boast the CFL’s leading passer in Mike Reilly (3,747 yards) and its top two receivers in Adarius Bowman (1,127 yards) and Derel Walker (1,124) yet they’ve lost two straight and stand fourth in the West Division. An Edmonton defence that anchored last year’s Grey Cup run stands eighth in the nine-team CFL in points allowed (29.6). But Saskatchewan is not only last overall in points allowed (33.1 per game) but also in points scored (18.6). The Riders have lost seven straight, are 0-7 within the West Division and just 1-4 at home.

Drew Edwards: This is a game the Riders could win. They won’t. ESKIMOS
Justin Dunk: Mike Reilly leads the league in passing and at some point, that has to translate into wins. ESKIMOS
John Hodge: Is this match-up an upset in the making? Could be. But I wouldn’t count on it. ESKIMOS
Joel Gasson: Riders have played Edmonton well this year. They finally close one out for win 2. RIDERS.
Ian Busby: This is a perfect time for the Eskimos to hit the mean streets of Regina looking for a fight. ESKIMOS
Josh Smith: This is nothing more than a gut feeling. RIDERS
Santino Filoso: Following two tough losses to Calgary, Edmonton gets back into the win column vs a hapless Saskatchewan team ESKIMOS
Totals: ESKIMOS 5 RIDERS 2

Season records
Smith: 31-17-1
Dunk: 30-18-1
Filoso: 30-18-1
Hodge: 29-19-1
Edwards: 27-21-1
Gasson: 24-24-1
Busby: 21-27-1

Must Read