Week 20 picks: finding meaning in the meaningless

Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Andrew Harris (33) gets swarmed by Ottawa Redblacks players during the second half of CFL action in Winnipeg Saturday, October 29, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Winnipeg Blue Bombers (10-7) at Ottawa Redblacks (8-8-1)
Fri., Nov. 4, 7 p.m. EST

Matt Nichols and the Blue Bombers could give themselves some playoff clarity Friday night.

Winnipeg concludes its regular season visiting the Redblacks. The Bombers have clinched a post-season berth but not a final position within the West Division. Winnipeg is currently third, two points behind the B.C. Lions (11-6) and just two ahead of the Edmonton Eskimos (9-8). A win Friday would keep the Bombers in the West come playoff time but a loss and Edmonton win Sunday against Toronto would force the Manitoba squad to head to Hamilton for the East Division semifinal.

Dunk: Nevermind playoff seeding, Winnipeg needs a shot of confidence. BOMBERS
Smith: Ottawa is sitting too many guys. BOMBERS
Filoso: Most of Ottawa’s starters are resting, but those playing will be hungry and fighting for jobs. REDBLACKS
Hodge: the number of starters Ottawa is resting makes this an easy pick. BOMBERS
Edwards: Good Hank, Bad Hank, Sitting Hank? BOMBERS
Busby: Bombers send Eskimos packing their bags for Hamilton. BOMBERS
Gasson: Redblacks sitting many. BOMBERS.

Montreal Alouettes quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. spots a receiver through the rain during first half CFL action against the Saskatchewan Roughriders, in Regina on Saturday, October 22, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Taylor

Montreal Alouettes (6-11) at  Hamilton Tiger-Cats (7-10)
Sat., Nov. 1, 1 p.m. EST

Hamilton has clinched second in the East and home field for the division semifinal. Predictably, a host of starters won’t play this week, including running back C.J Gable, although starter Zach Collaros will see action. Slotback Andy Fantuz (101 catches, 1,059 yards, five TDs) has a suspected torn anterior cruciate ligament but receiver/returner Brandon Banks returns after serving a two-game suspension for a positive drug test. Montreal halted Calgary’s 14-game win streak last week to improve interim head coach Jacques Chapdelaine’s record to 3-2.  

Dunk: Montreal’s defence will play hard, regardless. ALS
Smith: Hamilton does not want to enter playoffs on a losing note. TICATS
Filoso: With nothing to play for but pride… ALS
Hodge: I’ll take the Tabbies… or what’s left of them. TICATS
Edwards: Hamilton needs something good to happen. This isn’t it. ALS
Busby: Late-season surge gives Montreal a decent record, but no playoff position. ALS
Gasson: It is in Hamilton. TICATS.
Totals: ALS 4 TICATS 3

Ricky Ray

Toronto Argonauts (5-12) at Edmonton Eskimos (9-8)
Sat., Nov. 1, 4 p.m. EST

Edmonton will know by kickoff whether it has something to play for, depending on how Winnipeg fares. With Calgary idle, Eskimos quarterback Mike Reilly will claim the CFL passing title and again have the league’s top two receivers in Adarius Bowman and Derel Walker to play catch with. It’s been a wretched stretch for Toronto, which has lost six straight and 10 of its last 11. Argos’ veteran Ricky Ray will make his 200th career start against his former team.

Dunk: About that Drew Willy trade…. ESKSSmith: Bombers send Eskimos East, Eskimos give Bombers No. 1 overall pick in the draft. ESKS
Filoso: Argos end their season on a sour note ESKS
Hodge: Remember, Argo fans — Grey Cup tickets are still on sale! ESKS
Edwards: Get the bleep button ready, Maas is on the Live Mic. ESKS
Busby: Argos have long forgotten there are still games left in this season. ESKS
Gasson: Wearing mics or not. ESKS
Totals: ESKS 7 ARGOS 0

VANCOUVER August 19 2016. BC Lions #16 Bryan Burnham eludes a tackle from a Calgary Stampeders player in a regular season CFL football game at BC Place, Vancouver, August 19 2016. ( Gerry Kahrmann / PNG staff photo) ( Prov / Sun News ) 00044657A Story by Mike Beamish

Saskatchewan Roughriders (5-12) at B.C. Lions (11-6)
Sat., Nov. 1, 7 p.m. EST

B.C. looks to sweep the home-and-home series after last weekend’s 24-6 win in Regina. Veteran kicker Paul McCallum came out of retirement this week to rejoin the club as incumbent Richie Leone has been inconsistent. The Lions could have second spot sewn up prior to kickoff depending on what Winnipeg does. Saskatchewan has dropped two straight and allowed 11 sacks – including seven last weekend – following four straight victories as the Riders complete their first season under head coach/GM Chris Jones.

Dunk: B.C. will likely have to lock it down and will. LIONS
Smith: Leos want that home date. LIONS
Filoso: BC shouldn’t have trouble locking up 2nd in the West LIONS
Hodge: B.C.’s got something to play for — Saskatchewan doesn’t. LIONS
Edwards: Whatever the motivation, B.C. is just better. LIONS
Busby: Because they want that home date, the Lions scratch and claw out a victory. LIONS
Gasson: Riders are improving but not at this level yet. LIONS.
Totals: LIONS 7-0

Season records
Dunk: 47-29-1
Smith: 47-29-1
Filoso: 46-30-1
Hodge: 44-32-1
Edwards: 43-33-1
Busby: 40-36-1
Gasson: 35-39-1

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