Week Six Picks: Riders are big underdogs (again)

Four more interdivisional matchups in Week 6 and while the East has kept it close – compared to the 29-10 record they managed last year – the West still enjoys a 9-5 record so far this season. The CFL seems determined to get all of these games out of the way early so Labour Day and the second half of the season can be chock full of rivalry games. Fair enough.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback Jeremiah Masoli runs the ball during first half CFL action against the Saskatchewan Roughriders at Mosaic Stadium in Regina on Thursday, July 5, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Taylor

Thursday, July 19
Saskatchewan at Hamilton, 7:30 p.m.

At Hamilton, quarterback Jeremiah Masoli chases a record 10th straight 300-yard passing performance for the Ticats (2-2). He threw for 333 yards in an 18-13 road loss to Saskatchewan (2-2) on July 5, the last time both teams played. Canadian Brandon Bridge gets the start for the Riders but if head coach/GM Chris Jones holds true to form, expect to see Dave Watford under centre as well. Riders receiver Duron Carter gets another start at cornerback.

Dunk: It’s a new week, plus Chris Jones has Junes Jones’ number. RIDERS
Edwards: Hamilton deserved better in Regina They’ll get it here. TICATS
Gasson: No bye week advantage for either team. Taking the home team. TICATS
Hodge: There’s a reason that Hamilton is favoured by 11 points. TICATS
Ballantine: Saskatchewan is not good. TICATS
Filoso: Odd to see two teams coming off the bye. I’ll take the home team in a close one. TICATS
Smith: The Riders stole one a fortnight ago. They won’t steal this one. TICATS

B.C. Lions quarterback Travis Lulay (14) waits to be introduced before a CFL football game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in Vancouver on Saturday, July 14, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Friday, July 20
British Columbia at Ottawa, 7:30 p.m.

At Ottawa, Travis Lulay looks to lead B.C. (2-2) to a second straight win. Lulay helped rally the Lions from a 17-point deficit to their 20-17 victory over Winnipeg last week. But the defence will be minus stalwart linebacker Solomon Elimimian (wrist). Trevor Harris gets the start for the Redblacks (2-2) but was 27-of-51 passing for 228 yards with three interceptions in consecutive losses to the Stampeders.

Dunk: Travis Lulay factor makes it close. REDBLACKS
Edwards: I’m giving Ottawa the benefit of the doubt because Calgary is Calgary. If they lose this one… REDBLACKS
Gasson: Long trip for BC. REDBLACKS
Hodge: Ottawa’s offence has to get going at some point, right? REDBLACKS
Ballantine: I won’t punish Ottawa for losing to the Stampeders. BC came back on the Bombers and Lulay provides a spark, but Ottawa is the better team. REDBLACKS
Filoso: Even though BC clawed back against the Bombers, I’m not sold on them. REDBLACKS
Smith: I don’t know what to make of either team, so I’ll take the home side. REDBLACKS

Toronto Argonauts running back James Wilder Jr. (32) evades Edmonton Eskimos linebacker J.C. Sherritt (47) in fourth quarter CFL action against the Edmonton Eskimos in Toronto on Saturday, July 7, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

Saturday, July 21
Winnipeg at Toronto, 4 p.m.

At Toronto, Matt Nichols and the Bombers (2-2) look to rebound from last week’s disappointing loss to B.C. Winnipeg’s Andrew Harris, the CFL’s top rusher last year, leads again with 449 yards. James Franklin starts for the Argos (1-3) after finding S.J. Green 10 times for 130 yards in their 16-15 road loss to Edmonton on July 13. A positive, though, was the club’s defence holding the Eskimos’ high-powered offence to under 20 points in both games of the home-and-home series.

Dunk: Tight game to call. BOMBERS
Edwards: Bombers looked shaky last week. ARGOS
Gasson: Winnipeg’s roller coaster continues. BOMBERS
Hodge: Nichols has a bounce-back game… or does he? BOMBERS
Ballantine: Franklin looked good against the Eskimo defence. That isn’t hard to do though. BOMBERS
Filoso: The cries for Streveler grow louder. ARGOS
Smith: Gut feeling. ARGOS

Montreal Alouettes quarterback Drew Willy (5) makes a pass against the Ottawa Redblacks during first half pre-season CFL action in Ottawa on Thursday, May 31, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Montreal at Calgary, 9 p.m.

Drew Willy returns to the Montreal Alouettes just in time to face the buzzsaw that is the Calgary Stampeders defence. Willy gets the start Saturday night when Montreal (1-3) visits the Calgary Stampeders (4-0). Willy missed the Alouettes’ 28-18 loss to Ottawa on July 6 due to a neck-shoulder injury suffered in the club’s 23-17 win over Saskatchewan on June 30. Calgary is allowing a league-low 9.5 points per game and has registered 13 sacks, which is also tops. What’s more, the unit has forced a CFL-best 14 turnovers. An opportunistic Calgary offence has scored 51 points off turnovers, another league high.

Dunk: John Hufnagel could play QB right now at 66 and the Stamps would win. STAMPS
Edwards: Even if I was at QB for Calgary. OK, well Dunk at least. STAMPS
Gasson: Even if it was in Montreal….STAMPS
Hodge: … STAMPS
Ballantine: The backups that don’t start are in by halftime. STAMPS
Filoso: Calgary by a country mile. STAMPS
Totals: STAMPS 7 ALS 0

2018 Records
Edwards: 14-5
Smith: 13-6
Dunk: 13-6
Filoso: 12-7
Ballantine: 12-7
Gasson: 11-8
Hodge: 11-8

Must Read