Week 16 picks: Can the East fight back?

The West continues to be the big brothers of the CFL.

East teams have been picked on and beaten up to the tune of 25-5-1 through 15 weeks this season. All four games in Week 16 are of the crossover variety, so perhaps the Eastern clubs can strike back for once. 

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ Andrew Harris celebrates a touchdown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Trevor Hagan

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Friday, 8:30 p.m. EST

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats will have to do something no other East Division team has this season to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. Hamilton (3-10) visits Winnipeg (10-3) on Friday night still with an outside chance at catching the Ottawa Redblacks (5-9-1) for second in the East Division. But not only have the Bombers won three straight overall and their last five home games, they’re 6-0 this season versus Eastern clubs.  Hamilton is just 1-7 against West Division competition.

Hodge: West > East. BOMBERS
Dunk: Bombers have made IFG formidable. BOMBERS
Edwards: The Bombers are legit. The Ticats… BOMBERS
Busby: Bombers are too good to let this run slip against the Cats. BOMBERS
Gasson: East v West. Bombers
Filoso: Winnipeg keeps pace with the Stamps. BOMBERS
Smith: The Ticats lose when I think they’ll win and win when I think they’ll lose. But they haven’t played anyone over the last month as good as Winnipeg. BOMBERS

Totals: BOMBERS 7 TICATS 0

Saskatchewan Roughriders players celebrate. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power

Saskatchewan Roughriders at Toronto Argonauts

Saturday, 4 p.m. EST

Running back Trent Richardson makes his CFL debut for Saskatchewan (7-6), which ranks last in rushing. The Riders rallied to beat Ottawa 18-17 last weekend. Their defence stands second overall in fewest TDs allowed (32) and third in interceptions (14). The Argos (7-7) are 1-5 versus West Division teams but a 34-26 decision over Edmonton started their current three-game win streak. Toronto is also 5-2 at BMO Field and DeVier Posey gives Argos solid 1-2 receiving punch with veteran S.J. Green.

Hodge: West > East. RIDERS
Dunk: T-Rich balances out the offence. RIDERS
Edwards: Nevermind the masses, Toronto showed themselves something last week. ARGOS
Busby: Book Ray and Company into the East final right away. ARGOS
Gasson: Long Eastern road trip, but they’ve done it before. RIDERS
Filoso: They might not be playing in front of sold out crowds, but Toronto does well at home. ARGOS
Smith: James Wilder, Jr. versus that Riders run defense could be ugly. ARGOS
Totals: ARGOS 4 RIDERS 3

Ottawa Redblacks at B.C. Lions

Saturday, 7 p.m. EST

Trevor Harris is expected back under centre for Ottawa after missing nearly a month with a shoulder injury. The Redblacks have dropped two straight and three of their last four but running back William Powell has three consecutive 100-yard rushing efforts (438 yards combined, 6.7-yard average). Quarterback Jonathon Jennings has twice as many interceptions (12) as touchdowns (six) for B.C. (6-7), which has lost six-of-eight games. If the Lions feel they’re a playoff team, this is one contest they must win.

Hodge: West > East. LIONS
Dunk: B.C. absolutely has to have this win. LIONS
Edwards: I don’t trust either one of these teams as far as I can throw them but Vancouver is a long way. LIONS
Busby: This is the week that Wally’s boys get back on track. LIONS
Gasson: I don’t know why. LIONS
Filoso: Harris makes all the difference. REDBLACKS
Smith: An absolutely, 100 per cent must-win for B.C. LIONS
Totals: LIONS 6 REDBLACKS 1

Edmonton Eskimos at Montreal Alouettes

Monday, 4 p.m. EST

Something has to give as Edmonton (7-6) has lost six straight and Montreal (3-11) is on a seven-game losing streak. The Eskimos are 5-1 against East teams whereas the Alouettes are 2-6 facing West squads. The Esks hope Gable can provide balance to an offence anchored by CFL passing leader Mike Reilly. Drew Willy could make second straight start for the Als with Darian Durant (hamstring) still ailing.

Hodge: West > East. ESKS
Dunk: Eskies get back in the win column. ESKS
Edwards: Two losing streaks enter, one losing streak leaves. ESKS
Busby: This is the week that the Eskimos get back on track. ESKIMOS
Gasson: The streak ends. AL.. just kidding. ESKS
Filoso: Edmonton finally gets back in the win column. ESKS
Smith: If Edmonton doesn’t win this one… ESKS
Totals: ESKS 7 ALS 0

Season records
Dunk: 45-15-1

Hodge: 45-15-1
Edwards: 43-17-1
Busby: 43-17-1
Gasson: 43-17-1
Filoso: 39-21-1
Smith: 36-24-1

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