Week 18 picks: Can the Riders overcome controversy?

Saskatchewan comes off a controversial week of practice to face the top team in the league, on the road, in the toughest stadium to win in the CFL. 

Duron Carter will play receiver and defensive back and Bo Levi Mitchell said he’ll target him 25 times if the Riders leading pass catcher does indeed line up on defence.

Playoff positioning is on the line in that game and around the league.

Saskatchewan Roughriders wide receiver Duron Carter. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Taylor

Saskatchewan Roughriders (8-7) at Calgary Stampeders (13-1-1)

Friday, 9 p.m. EST

On Friday, the focus turns to football for Duron Carter and the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Carter was at the centre of some drama this week when he and Sam Williams, a defensive back on Saskatchewan’s practice roster, were involved in an altercation during practice. When people stepped in to break up the melee, there were reports at least one coach was urging the players to continue fighting. The contest is an important one for both teams. Calgary (13-1-1) needs a win to clinch top spot in the West Division while Saskatchewan (8-7) stands fourth, two points behind third-place Edmonton (9-6) needing a victory to cement a post-season berth. The Stampeders have won 11 straight and are 2-0 this season versus Saskatchewan. But the Stampeders looked mortal in Friday night’s 28-25 road win over Hamilton, needing a 62-yard pass interference penalty to set up Rene Paredes’ 17-yard field goal on the game’s final play.

Hodge: Calgary’s at home. Enough said. STAMPS
Dunk: Controversy and Calgary in the same week. STAMPS
Gasson: Is this the dumbest thing I’ve done? Maybe. RIDERS
Edwards: The Duron Carter bout with Bo Levi will not go well. STAMPS
Busby: Stamps are at home, so why bet against them? STAMPS
Filoso: Stamps don’t lose at home STAMPS
Smith: Carter and Mitchell talked some smack, one will back it up. STAMPS

Winnipeg Blue Bombers (11-4) at Toronto Argonauts (7-9)

Saturday, 4 p.m. EST

Winnipeg (11-4) clinched a post-season berth with last weekend’s 26-20 win over B.C. But the offence didn’t score a touchdown and has just one offensive TD in the last two games. The Bombers will be minus their top receiver (Darvin Adams) and defensive leader (Maurice Leggett) due to injury. Toronto (7-9) has lost two straight but would move atop the East with a win. Running back James Wilder Jr. could return after missing last weekend’s loss to Edmonton with head/chest injuries.

Hodge: This is a golden opportunity for the Argos to grab first in the East… I’m not sure they have it in them. BOMBERS
Dunk: Goes against my gut. ARGOS
Gasson: Bombers missing some pieces but they’ll get by. BOMBERS
Edwards: No Darvin, no Moe… Toronto trying to lock up the East. ARGOS
Busby: Just got this feeling Ricky Ray will take charge of this team somehow. ARGOS
Filoso: Bombers are beat up, Toronto’s not ARGOS
Smith: Winnipeg is banged up and Toronto needs it more. ARGOS

Edmonton Eskimos wide receiver Brandon Zylstra catches a touchdown pass from quarterback Mike Reilly. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Edmonton Eskimos (9-6) at B.C. Lions (6-9)

Saturday, 10 p.m. EST

Edmonton (9-6) has been streaky all year. It opened the year with seven straight wins, then dropped six consecutive contests before winning its last two. Brandon Zylstra is now the CFL’s leading receiver and newly acquired running back CJ Gable has three straight 100-yard games, the last two with the Eskimos. B.C. (6-9) has dropped seven-of-eight games and a loss here or Saskatchewan win would eliminate the Lions from post-season contention.

Hodge: B.C.’s playoff streak comes to a close. ESKS
Dunk: Reilly knows B.C. Place well. ESKS
Gasson: Lions are toast. ESKS
Edwards: Edmonton puts B.C. out of their misery. ESKS
Busby: Lock the Eskimos into the West playoffs. ESKS
Filoso: B.C.’s playoff push comes to an abrupt end. ESKS
Smith: Just really tough to pick B.C. nowadays. ESKS
Totals: ESKS 7 LIONS 0

Montreal Alouettes quarterback Darian Durant throws a pass. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Hamilton Tiger-Cats (4-11) at Montreal Alouettes (3-12)

Sunday, 1 p.m.

This is a pride game as Hamilton (4-11) and Montreal (3-12) will both miss the playoffs. After starting the season 0-8, the Ticats are 4-3 under interim coach June Jones and Jeremiah Masoli as the starter. Masoli sports a 60.7 completion average with eight TDs and five interceptions while registering three 300-yard games. Darian Durant is expected to start for Montreal, which has lost eight straight and hasn’t won since a 21-9 decision over Toronto on Aug. 11.

Hodge: Montreal won’t win another game all season. TICATS
Dunk: Hamilton’s been much better of late. TICATS
Gasson: Als gonna Als. TICATS
Edwards: They are paying me to watch this game. TICATS
Busby: At least Drew will enjoy some good food in Montreal. Otherwise, no reason to watch this debacle. ALS
Filoso: The Toilet Bowl is a coin flip. ALS
Smith: Montreal is worse now than Hamilton was to start the season. TICATS
Totals: TICATS 5 ALS 2

Season records
Hodge: 50-18-1
Dunk: 50-18-1
Gasson: 48-20-1
Edwards: 47-21-1
Busby: 46-22-1
Filoso: 45-23-1
Smith: 39-29-1