Week 12 picks: Banjo Bowl should be finger pickin’ good

The Banjo Bowl is the marquee match up this week but we’re also going to find out whether the Ticats are for real, the Lions can get back on track and if Derel Walker can make an instant impact. Should be fun.

B.C. Lions’ head coach Wally Buono stands on the sideline during the first half of a CFL football game. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Montreal Alouettes at B.C. Lions
Friday, 10 p.m. EST

Travis Lulay and the B.C. Lions have had plenty of time to ponder what’s ailing the CFL team. B.C. (5-5) returns to action Thursday night at home against the Montreal Alouettes (3-7). The Lions have been off since a 31-24 loss to the Ottawa Redblacks on Aug. 26.
Lulay replaced starter Jonathon Jennings in the second half of that game with B.C. trailing 31-3. Lulay rallied the Lions to within 31-24 but a late interception preserved the victory for the Grey Cup-champion Redblacks. The loss was B.C.’s third straight and fourth in five games. But after completing 18 of 23 passes for 202 yards and two TDs, Lulay secured the start against Montreal, which has also dropped three straight. Despite the off-season acquisition of quarterback Darian Durant, the Alouettes have struggled offensively. They’re ranked second-last in offensive points (19.1 per game), net offence (346.1 yards), passing (265.3) and interceptions (11).

Hodge: Montreal’s offence simply can’t cut it. LIONS
Dunk: Wally’s boys need to keep pace in the West. LIONS
Gasson: Montreal has to travel and are struggling. LIONS
Edwards: B.C. at home vs. Montreal anywhere. LIONS
Busby: Long trip over to Vancouver does in the visitors. LIONS
Filoso: Two teams desperate for a win, I’ll take the one at home. LIONS
Smith: Montreal stinks. LIONS
Totals: LIONS 7 ALS 0

Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback Vernon Adams Jr., left, celebrates a touchdown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Taylor

Saskatchewan Roughriders at Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Saturday, 3 p.m. EST

Saskatchewan (5-4) has won five of its last seven games and three straight, including last week’s 38-24 decision over Winnipeg (7-3). Kevin Glenn threw for 386 yards and three TDs while Duron Carter, Roosevelt Naaman and Bakari Grant all had 100-yard receiving efforts. Matt Nichols had 364 passing yards and two TDs for the Bombers, who are 3-1 at Investors Group Field, while the Riders are 1-3 on the road. The winner also takes the season series.

Hodge: Bombers bounce back. BOMBERS
Dunk: Sold out IGF. Loudest fans competition. BOMBERS
Gasson: This is a tough one to win at the best of times for the Riders. BOMBERS
Edwards: Back-to-back jacks. RIDERS
Busby: Home-side offence gets back on track after a blip. BOMBERS
Filoso: Saskatchewan might be for real. RIDERS
Smith: Tough to beat a team in back-to-back games. BOMBERS

Hamilton, Ontario, Sept 4,2017- Tiger Cats quarter back Jeremiah Masoli is congratulated by fans after leading his team to their first win of the season 23-21 over the Toronto Argonauts in a storm delayed Labour Day Classic. Cathie Coward/ Hamilton Spectator

Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Ottawa Redblacks
Saturday, 6 p.m. EST

Finally a win for Hamilton (1-8), coming off a 24-22 decision over Toronto on Monday night. But it wasn’t pretty as starter Jeremiah Masoli was just 19 of 33 passing for 219 yards and a TD and the Ticats’ offence mustered 276 net yards. Ottawa (4-6-1) has won three straight, including a convincing 32-4 decision over Montreal last week. CFL passing leader Trevor Harris threw for 343 yards and three touchdowns while the Redblacks’ defence had five sacks, a forced fumble and interception.

Hodge: Ticats got a feel-good win on Labour Day; now back to reality. REDBLACKS
Dunk: Redblacks can make a run in the East. REDBLACKS
Gasson: Ottawa is figuring it out. REDBLACKS
Edwards: If only because it makes life more interesting. TICATS
Busby: That bump didn’t last long. REDBLACKS
Filoso: Ottawa’s on a roll. REDBLACKS
Smith: Ottawa last played nine days ago; Hamilton played Monday. REDBLACKS

Edmonton Eskimos’ Mercy Maston, right, tries to tackle Calgary Stampeders’ Anthony Parker as he scores a touchdown during first half CFL football action in Calgary, Monday, Sept. 4, 2017.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Calgary Stampeders at Edmonton Eskimos
Saturday, 9 p.m. EST

Calgary (8-1-1) looks to sweep the home-and-home series with Edmonton (7-3) for the fifth time in six years and has won the Labour Day rematch at Commonwealth Stadium nine times in 10 years. The Stampeders’ 39-18 win Monday was their 15th straight victory at McMahon Stadium and sixth overall. What’s more, the defending West champions have a league-best 3-1-1 road record. The Eskimos have lost three straight but received some good news Wednesday when all-star receiver Derel Walker rejoined the squad.

Hodge: Derel Walker’s a star, but… STAMPS
Dunk: Until proven otherwise…STAMPS
Gasson: I don’t really know why. ESKS
Edwards: Calgary until proven otherwise. STAMPS
Busby: Just feel the Stamps are better in all three phases. They need two to win. STAMPS
Filoso: Esks are getting healthier but still. STAMPS
Smith: What I said previously about winning back-to-back games doesn’t apply when you add Calgary to the equation. STAMPS
Totals: STAMPS 6 ESKS 1

Season records
Hodge: 34-10-1
Dunk: 33-11-1
Gasson: 33-11-1
Edwards: 32-12-1
Busby: 32-12-1
Filoso: 28-16-1
Smith: 25-19-1