Week 9 picks: Streaks in jeopardy & a whiff of desperation

The Eskimos are trying to get to 8-0, the Bombers are trying to prove their a legitimate threat in the West and the Ticats and Redblacks are two teams that define the term “desperation.” Even without the Riders, this should be fun.

Edmonton Eskimos’ Josh Woodman (7) celebrates after he intercepted a pass during fourth quarter CFL football action against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in Hamilton, Ont., on Thursday, July 20, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley

Edmonton Eskimos (7-0) at Winnipeg Blue Bombers (5-2)
Thursday, Aug. 17, 8:30 p.m. EST

The unbeaten Eskimos have won four games by four points or less and another by just five points. Winnipeg is 3-1 in contests decided by four points or less. Edmonton visits Winnipeg on Thursday night in the first of two head-to-head meetings between the West Division rivals. Both teams come in on win streaks. Edmonton is the CFL’s only unbeaten squad while Winnipeg had captured its last three games, all against East Division competition.

Dunk: Mike Reilly goes down, but it won’t be without a fight. BOMBERS
Hodge: The streak ends here. BOMBERS
Edwards: The Esks have lost so many bodies to injury but Almondo Sewell is a bridge too far. BOMBERS
Gasson: I keep betting against Winnipeg. The streak ends. BOMBERS
Busby: Streak will end in a shootout. BOMBERS
Smith: Edmonton has found a way all season, injuries be damned. ESKS
Filoso: Edmonton keeps rolling. ESKS
Totals: BOMBERS 5 ESKS 2

Hamilton Tiger-Cats head coach Kent Austin, left, leaves the field following the team’s seventh straight loss by a score of 39-12 to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in CFL action in Hamilton, Ont., Saturday, August 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Lynett

Ottawa Redblacks (1-6-1) at Hamilton Tiger-Cats (0-7)
Friday, Aug. 18, 7:30 p.m. EST

Ottawa is 0-5-1 in games decided by four points or less and has lost three straight. Quarterback Trevor Harris leads the CFL in passing (2,468 yards) and TDs (16) while Greg Ellingson remains the league’s leading receiver (48 catches, 749 yards, five touchdowns). It’s been a miserable existence for Hamilton, which is scoring a league-low 15.4 offensive points per game while allowing a CFL-high 39 points.

Dunk: It’s time the Tabbies get on the board. TICATS
Hodge: You can’t trust the Tabbies. REDBLACKS
Edwards: The Desperation Bowl. TICATS
Gasson: Oh boy. REDBLACKS, I guess.
Busby: Couldn’t have predicted this as the basement bowl at the start of the year. Ticats still struggling. REDBLACKS
Smith: Two bad teams in desperate need of a win. I’ll take the most desperate one at home. TICATS
Filoso: Ottawa is bad, Hamilton is worse. REDBLACKS
Totals: REDBLACKS 4 TICATS 3

B.C. Lions head coach Wally Buono sports a “Diversity is Strength” T-shirt on the sidelines before taking on the Saskatchewan Roughriders in CFL football action in Regina on Sunday, August 13, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Taylor

B.C. Lions (5-3) at Calgary Stampeders (5-1-1)
Friday, Aug. 18, 10:30 p.m. EST

Fatigue shouldn’t be a factor for Calgary, which last played Aug. 3 in a 41-24 road win over Toronto. The Stampeders have scored a CFL-high 29 TDs while allowing a league-low 19 offensive points per game. And returner Roy Finch is a big-play threat on special teams. B.C. never got on track in its 41-8 loss to Saskatchewan on Sunday as starter Jonathon Jennings threw three interceptions in his return under centre before being replaced by veteran Travis Lulay.

Dunk: DeVone Claybrooks owns Jonathon Jennings. STAMPS
Hodge: Calgary’s deadly off the bye. STAMPS
Edwards: No doubts that Calgary will be ready to play. STAMPS
Gasson: In Calgary off a bye. STAMPS
Busby: Stamps simply don’t lose after bye weeks, but Wally’s boys won’t make this easy. STAMPS
Smith: Calgary off a bye is almost as automatic as Calgary at home, but it’ll be close. STAMPS
Filoso: I’ll take the team at home and coming off a bye. STAMPS
Totals: STAMPS 7 B.C. 0

Toronto Argonauts quarterback Cody Fajardo, centre, is tackled by Montreal Alouettes’ John Bowman (7) and Kyries Hebert during second half CFL football action in Montreal, Friday, August 11, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Montreal Alouettes (3-4) at Toronto Argonauts (3-5)
Saturday, Aug. 19, 4 p.m. EST

Montreal can clinch the season series with a sweep of this home-and-home set after last week’s 21-9 home victory. That makes the Alouettes the only East Division team not on a losing streak. Toronto has dropped three straight but starter Ricky Ray is expected back after missing last week’s game with a shoulder injury. Ray is crucial to coach Marc Trestman’s pass-first offence and having him back under centre would be huge for an Argos team that needs a win to keep pace the division.

Dunk: Ray better be healthy. ARGOS
Hodge: Toronto gets a Ray of hope. ARGOS
Edwards: Ricky Ray’s bum shoulder isn’t enough. ALS
Gasson: Is Ray really back to where he needs to be? Not sure. ALS.
Busby: When Ray plays, the Argos are a much different team. ARGOS
Smith: Tough to beat a team in back-to-back games, and if Ray is back, Toronto is better. ARGOS
Filoso: Ray makes all the difference. ARGOS
Totals: ARGOS 5 ALS 2

Season records
Dunk: 27-5-1
Hodge: 26-6-1
Edwards: 25-7-1
Gasson: 24-8-1
Busby: 22-10-1
Smith: 20-12-1
Filoso: 20-12-1

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