Week Five 3Down picks: more games, more fun

It’s a weird week in the CFL with five games on the schedule and the Redblacks playing twice in the span of five days (and three times in 11.) The only undefeated team is playing the only remaining team without a point in the standings while the Riders are in Calgary off a bye week to face an ornery Stamps squad. There are games – and spies – everywhere.

Montreal Alouettes’ B.J. Cunningham (85) and Ernest Jackson (9) celebrate a touchdown during first half CFL pre-season football action against the Ottawa Redblacks, in Montreal on Thursday, June 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Montreal Alouettes (2-2) at Ottawa Redblacks (0-3-1)
Wed., July 19, 7:30 p.m. EST

It’s been a rough start for Ottawa, which has lost its games by a combined six points. What’s more, the club is in the midst of playing three games within 11 days, which gives it precious time to heal and practise. The Redblacks held Mike Reilly to 265 passing yards in last week’s 23-21 road loss to Edmonton but Tavon Van ran for 103 yards on 18 carries against his former team. Montreal is coming off a 30-23 home win over Calgary, its fourth straight victory at Molson Stadium against the defending West Division champions. Darian Durant threw for 296 yards and a TD against the Stampeders but also had two interceptions.

Dunk: Ottawa’s best chance at a win in their two-game week. REDBLACKS
Hodge: Ottawa finally gets on the board. REDBLACKS
Edwards: Montreal isn’t really this good and Ottawa isn’t this bad. REDBLACKS
Gasson: Ottawa is close and gets it done. REDBLACKS
Filoso: Long overdue, Ottawa gets the job done at home. REDBLACKS
Smith: Ottawa is snakebit and the Als finally put together a complete game against Calgary. ALOUETTES
Busby: About time the champs get off the schneid. REDBLACKS

Edmonton Eskimos (3-0) at Hamilton Tiger-Cats (0-3)
Thur., July 20, 7:30 p.m. EST

Edmonton (3-0) has earned its three wins by a combined nine points. While quarterback Mike Reilly, the CFL’s passing leader last year, has completed 71.8 per cent of his throws, the Eskimos’ defence is tied with Saskatchewan for fewest yards allowed (306 per game) and allowed a league-low two TD passes. But rival offences have run for four TDs, one behind league-worst Hamilton (0-3). The Ticats are also coming off being torched by Lulay and are ranked last in scoring (15.7 offensive points per game) and points allowed (35 offensive points per game).

Dunk: Edmonton has been finding ways to win. ESKS
Hodge: Hamilton is starting to look like the free space on the bingo card. ESKS
Edwards: I think the Ticats will win one of their three against the West gauntlet. Trouble is picking which one. ESKS
Gasson: Yeah. ESKS
Filoso: Edmonton stays undefeated and the Ticats stay winless ESKS
Smith: This feels like a trap game. Short week, long flight, Hamilton can’t lose forever and Edmonton isn’t going undefeated. Gut pick. TICATS
Busby: This might be the week the Eskimos prove they are back being a real powerhouse. ESKS

Winnipeg Blue Bombers (2-1) at B.C Lions (3-1)
Fri., July 21, 10 p.m. EST

The Lions are home Friday night to Winnipeg following three straight road wins over East Division teams, and they’ll likely have a different starting quarterback under centre when they face the Blue Bombers. Veteran backup Travis Lulay came off the bench to throw for a record 436 yards and three touchdowns in a 41-26 decision against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Saturday night. Lulay entered the game on B.C.’s opening possession after starter Jonathon Jennings suffered a reported shoulder injury. Lulay, the 2011 CFL and Grey Cup MVP, is expected to start against Winnipeg. B.C.’s defence is also playing well, allowing just 21.3 points per game, tied with Montreal for fewest in the CFL. By comparison, Winnipeg’s unit is allowing 27.3 offensive points per contest. Lulay will lead a Lions offence that’s second in offensive points (29 per game) and third in time of possession (32 minutes, seven seconds).

Dunk: Pure spot play. Nearly everyone on the Lions. BOMBERS
Hodge: Lulay lightning doesn’t strike twice. BOMBERS
Edwards: Love me some Lulay. LIONS
Gasson: Winning three in a row in the east is tough. B.C. is rolling. LIONS.
Filoso: Buono has B.C. rolling LIONS
Smith: B.C. is just better than Winnipeg. LIONS
Busby: Gotta funny feeling the Bombers are a better road team. BOMBERS

Saskatchewan Roughriders (1-2) at Calgary Stampeders (2-1-1)
Sat., July 22, 9 p.m. EST

Saskatchewan (1-2) has had two weeks to savour its 37-20 victory over Hamilton. Veteran Kevin Glenn threw for 380 yards and two TDs against Hamilton while Naaman Roosevelt had 10 catches for 167 yards. But the Riders’ defence was solid, allowing just 216 net yards. Calgary (2-1-1) is coming off a 30-23 road loss to Montreal. It was just the eighth career regular-season loss for Bo Levi Mitchell, last year’s league MVP who threw for 379 yards and a touchdown. Kamar Jorden was the club’s receiving leader with nine catches for 140 yards. Defensive end Charleston Hughes (leg), one of the CFL’s premier pass-rushers, could be back in the lineup.

Dunk: White horses at home off a loss. STAMPS
Hodge: Calgary’s at home. Enough said. STAMPS
Edwards: Angry Stamps are good Stamps. STAMPS
Gasson: they’re angry and at home. STAMPS.
Filoso: After being upset a week ago, Calgary bounces back in a big way STAMPS
Smith: Not going against Calgary at home against anyone. STAMPS
Busby: Even off a bye week the Riders are road kill this week. STAMPS

Ottawa Redblacks (0-3-1) at Toronto Argonauts (2-2)
Mon., July 24, 7:30 p.m. EST

The Redblacks (0-3-1) will end a tough stretch at BMO Field. Ottawa quarterback Trevor Harris has thrown a league-high eight touchdown passes but will face a rested Argos defence that’s recorded a CFL-best 14 sacks. Toronto (2-2) last played July 13 in a 33-25 road loss to Winnipeg. Argos starter Ricky Ray enters action as the CFL’s passing leader, having thrown for over 300 yards in each of the club’s four games. Veteran S.J. Green, who missed much of last year with a knee injury, is the league’s top receiver with 24 catches for 452 yards and a TD.

Dunk: Well rested Toronto team. ARGOS
Hodge: Ottawa will be playing this game tired. ARGOS
Edwards: So tired of picking games. Like the Redblacks. ARGOS
Gasson: Too quick a turnaround for Ottawa. ARGOS.
Filoso: Ottawa’s never lost at BMO Field. REDBLACKS
Smith: Ottawa will be tired, Toronto will be rested. ARGOS
Busby: Seems completely unfair for the RedBlacks, but who said life is fair? ARGOS

Season records
Dunk: 12-3-1
Hodge: 11-4-1
Edwards: 10-5-1
Gasson: 9-6-1
Filoso: 9-6-1
Smith: 9-6-1
Busby: 9-6-1

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