3Down CFL picks: Let’s get this thing started already

Each year, select contributors from 3Down make their picks for each and every game during the CFL season. In 2017, Justin Dunk led the way with 62-23-1 record but as a whole, the group was a collective 189 games over .500.

This year, we’re adding a little spice to the mix. The winner of our in-house competition will win a prize, determined by you, the faithful reader. Make a suggestion in the comments section and the best one wins a limited edition 3DownNation t-shirt. If nothing else, they’re great for burning things in effigy.

OK, here we go…

Thursday, June 14
Edmonton at Winnipeg, 8:30 p.m. EST

Chris Streveler wasn’t even born the last time a pure rookie quarterback opened a CFL season as a starter. Hall of Famer Anthony Calvillo, currently the Toronto Argonauts quarterback coach, was the last player to achieve that in 1994 with the expansion Las Vegas Posse. Streveler, 23, will be under centre Thursday night when the Winnipeg Blue Bombers host the Edmonton Eskimos. Steveler might be athletic and have a strong arm, but the defences he saw in pre-season will be vastly different now. Winnipeg’s offence features versatile running back Andrew Harris but Edmonton has a huge edge at quarterback with Mike Reilly.

Dunk: The Bombers can keep it close and have a shot to upset if Chris Streveler can make some plays against an Eskimos secondary that is missing some key regulars. BOMBERS
Edwards: Streveler is the first QB since Calvillo to start right out of college. There’s a reason for that: it’s not a good idea. ESKS
Gasson: Weird things happen in Week 1, not that weird. ESKS
Hodge: Streveler vs. Reilly, huh? ESKS
Ballantine: No Matt Nichols, no chance. ESKS
Filoso: I’ll take the guy with 79 career starts over the guy with none. ESKS
Smith: Man, I wish Matt Nichols didn’t get hurt. ESKS

Friday, June 15
Toronto at Saskatchewan, 9 p.m. EST

Quarterback Zach Collaros makes his first career start for Saskatchewan after being acquired from Hamilton. Collaros was the overwhelming favourite for the CFL’s outstanding player award in 2015 before suffering a season-ending injury. Since returning, Collaros has lost a league record-tying 12 straight starts. If Collaros struggles, Brandon Bridge of Mississauga, Ont., can again come off the bench. Toronto begins its Grey Cup defence with veteran quarterback Ricky Ray, the East Division’s outstanding player last year with 5,546 yards passing. Receiver S.J. Green will again be a favourite target while sophomore running back James Wilder Jr. provides a solid dual threat.

Dunk: Riders get some measure of revenge for East Final loss. RIDERS
Edwards: Saskatchewan at home with something to prove. RIDERS
Gasson: Riders horses on D haven’t played enough yet. ARGOS
Hodge: Toronto’s front-four feasts. ARGOS
Ballantine: Collaros didn’t look good in limited action. ARGOS
Filoso: Collaros/Bridge will be under siege all game long. ARGOS
Smith: I just don’t trust the Riders’ o-line to keep Collaros upright. ARGOS

Saturday, June 16
Hamilton at Calgary, 7 p.m. EST

Quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell leads the home team on its quest for a third straight Grey Cup appearance. The Stampeders was a CFL-best 7-2 at home last season and 6-1-1 versus East Division rivals. June Jones begins his first full season as Hamilton’s head coach after compiling a 6-4 record in 2017 on an interim basis. Jeremiah Masoli, who orchestrated the 6-4 mark, is the Ticats’ starting quarterback with former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel as his backup. The Ticats have traditionally struggled at McMahon.

Dunk: McMahon Stadium is the location, so…STAMPS
Edwards: It won’t be 60-1. Other than that, no promises. STAMPS
Gasson: It’s in Calgary. STAMPS.
Hodge: Stamps at home. STAMPS
Ballantine: Calgary rarely loses and when they do, it isn’t to the Ticats. STAMPS
Filoso: Manziel comes off the bench and leads an upset win. Just kidding. STAMPS
Smith: Ticats haven’t won at McMahon since 2004 and haven’t beaten the Stamps anywhere since 2011. That streak has to end sometime… but it won’t be here. STAMPS

Montreal at British Columbia, 10 p.m. EST

Head coach Wally Buono begins his final season as B.C.’s head coach. Two of Buono’s six Grey Cup rings came as a linebacker-punter with the Alouettes. The Lions won both of their exhibition games and defensively scored three TDs. But the offence, under first-year coordinator Jarious Jackson, continues to progress slowly. Having said that, quarterback Jonathon Jennings has two solid receivers in veterans Emmanuel Arceneaux and Bryan Burnham. Drew Willy makes the start for Montreal in head coach Mike Sherman’s CFL debut.

Dunk: B.C. playing on the Left coast. LIONS
Edwards: Can’t think of a single reason to take Montreal in this game. LIONS
Gasson: Long trip for Montreal and a night game. LIONS
Hodge: B.C. in a snoozer. LIONS
Ballantine: A nice game to fall asleep to for fans in the East. LIONS
Filoso: Montreal has too many question marks. LIONS
Smith: When in doubt, take the home team. LIONS

2017 Season records
Dunk: 62-23-1
Edwards: 58-27-1
Gasson: 57-28-1
Hodge: 56-29-1
Busby: 55-30-1
Filoso: 55-30-1
Smith: 49-36-1

Must Read