Week 17 Picks: Staring into the abyss

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats need a win against the seemingly invincible Calgary Stampeders, who are 426-0 coming off a bye (all numbers approximate) to keep control of their playoff destiny: a loss to the Stamps and win by Ottawa in Saskatchewan and it’s good night, kitty. Meanwhile, the B.C. Lions need a win in Winnipeg to breathe life into their fading post-season hopes while the Bombers are trying to lock up second in the West and a home playoff date. Interesting times.

Calgary Stampeders at Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Friday, 7 p.m. EST

Hamilton is 4-2 under interim head coach June Jones, whose first decision was to promote backup Jeremiah Masoli to starting quarterback ahead of incumbent Zach Collaros. Masoli threw for 338 yards and two TDs while running for 48 yards in the Ticats’ 30-13 road win over Winnipeg. On July 29, Calgary (12-1-1) throttled the Ticats 60-1 and is coming off the bye week following a 59-11 victory over Montreal. The Stamps are 5-1-1 both on the road and against the East Division this year.

Hodge: Calgary gonna Calgary. STAMPS
Dunk: Bye+Calgary=win. STAMPS
Edwards: Part two of the “nobody picked us series” has an even higher degree of difficulty. STAMPS
Busby: Stamps simply don’t lose after a bye week. STAMPS
Gasson: Until proven otherwise. STAMPS
Filoso: Calgary off a bye is automatic. STAMPS
Smith: This is lunacy, but I have to make up ground somehow and no one else is going to pick Hamilton, so… TICATS

Ottawa Redblacks at Saskatchewan Roughriders
Friday, 10 p.m. EST

After missing nearly a month with a shoulder injury, the veteran quarterback came back to rally Ottawa past the B.C. Lions 30-25 last weekend. Harris helped the Redblacks erase a 19-point deficit to secure the victory, passing for 380 yards and three TDs. With Harris back, Ottawa’s offence now becomes much more balanced and therefore more dangerous. William Powell is running well and the Redblacks possess a deep and potent receiving corps as Greg Ellingson (seven catches, 149 yards, two TDs) and Diontae Spencer (three catches, 116 yards, one TD) excelled against the Lions. Saskatchewan is 4-2 at home this year but the Redblacks are a solid 4-4 on the road. Where the Riders hold a big advantage is their 5-1 record versus East Division competition while Ottawa is 2-6-1 against Western rivals.

Hodge: Brandon Bridge does it again in relief. RIDERS
Dunk: Chris Jones’ boys at home. RIDERS
Edwards: Saskatchewan at home against the East. I guess. RIDERS
Busby: This quarterback controversy is a Bridge to somewhere RIDERS
Gasson: Sask is tough at home. RIDERS
Filoso: Once again, Harris is the difference. REDBLACKS
Smith: I very much want to take Ottawa, but the Riders have made their new digs a tough spot for teams to play. RIDERS

B.C. Lions at Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Saturday, 4 p.m. EST

It seems Winnipeg (10-4) will have starting quarterback Matt Nichols back for this one. He suffered an apparent hand injury last week against Hamilton but practised this week. That’s important because the Bombers can cement a playoff berth with a win. B.C. (6-8) has lost three straight games and six of its last seven. A loss to the Bombers would eliminate the Lions from playoff contention.

Hodge: The Lions have fallen and can’t get up. BOMBERS
Dunk: Winnipeg’s wakeup call came last week. BOMBERS
Edwards: Winnipeg needs to show last week wasn’t an aberration. They will. BOMBERS
Busby: Stick a fork in the Lions; the Bombers have their sights set on the West Division still. BOMBERS
Gasson: BC is fading hard. BOMBERS
Filoso: Last possession wins. BOMBERS
Smith: Matt Nichols isn’t 100 per cent, so I’m going upset. LIONS

Toronto Argonauts at Edmonton Eskimos
Saturday, 7 p.m. EST

Edmonton (8-6) snapped a six-game losing streak Monday against Montreal. More importantly, star quarterback Mike Reilly is expected to play after suffering a lower-body injury. One of those losses was a 34-26 decision to Toronto (7-8) as James Wilder Jr. ran for 190 yards and a TD in that game. He left Saturday’s loss to Saskatchewan in the fourth quarter and it’s unclear if he’ll play Saturday.

Hodge: Best in the East doesn’t mean much. ESKS
Dunk: Argos don’t have Lemon or Wilder. ESKS
Busby: A win over Montreal doesn’t solve much for the Eskimos woes. ARGOS
Gasson: Edmonton gets another. ESKS
Filoso: No Wilder, no win. ESKS
Smith: Edmonton has been a team of streaks, so one win isn’t enough. ESKS

Season records
Hodge: 47-17-1
Dunk: 47-17-1
Gasson: 45-19-1
Edwards: 44-20-1
Busby: 44-20-1
Filoso: 41-23-1
Smith: 37-27-1

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