CFL picks: All systems go

After last week’s line up of just three games, we’re back to the full version this week and the slate features some interesting match ups. Let’s take a look at the games.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Matt Nichols (15) and Nic Demski (10) celebrate Demski’s touchdown during the second half of CFL action against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, in Winnipeg on Friday, August 10, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Friday, Aug. 17
Ottawa at Winnipeg, 8:30 p.m.

Trevor Harris and the Ottawa Redblacks’ offence face a major challenge Friday night. Harris threw for a season-high 487 yards last week to rally the Redblacks to a 24-17 win over the Montreal Alouettes. But Ottawa (5-3) visits Winnipeg (5-3) to face a solid Blue Bombers defence. The Bombers lead the CFL in sacks (21) and interceptions (11) and are tied with unbeaten Calgary for most turnovers forced (25). Winnipeg is also second in fewest offensive points allowed (19.5 per game) and passing TDs (five).

Dunk: Winnipeg beat Hamilton without playing a clean game. BOMBERS
Edwards: Winnipeg has found their groove. BOMBERS  
Gasson: Redblacks roller coaster continues. BOMBERS
Hodge: If the Bombers can beat the Ticats in a below-average showing from Matt Nichols… BOMBERS
Ballantine: Being the best team in the East doesn’t mean you can hang with the West. BOMBERS
Filoso: If Ottawa can shut down the run, they’ll keep it close. Hard to see that happening though. BOMBERS
Smith: Two good teams, one is just better. BOMBERS

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

Saturday, Aug. 18
British Columbia at Toronto, 4 p.m.

At Toronto, McLeod Bethel-Thompson makes his second career start after throwing three fourth-quarter TD passes to rally the Argos (2-5) from a 24-point deficit to a 42-41 home win over Ottawa on Aug. 2. Travis Lulay gets his fifth start for B.C. (3-4), which is coming off a 31-23 win over Edmonton. Defensive lineman Shawn Lemon faces his former team for the first time since being dealt to the Lions last month.

Dunk: Bye week be damned, Lions are roarin’. LIONS
Edwards: The Lulay Lions are a very different team. LIONS
Gasson: BC is looking real all of a sudden. LIONS
Hodge: Lulay’s got the Lions believing. LIONS
Ballantine: Look for Lulay to keep the Leo’s rolling. Remember this game when they crossover this year. LIONS
Filoso: With the bye week under their belts, Trestman and McLeod Bethel-Thompson conjure more magic. ARGOS
Smith: If they Argos go down 24 in this one they won’t make the comeback. LIONS
Totals: LIONS 6 ARGOS 1

Edmonton Eskimos’ JC Sherritt (47) celebrates his fumble recovery against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers during the first half of CFL action in Winnipeg Thursday, June 14, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Montreal at Edmonton, 9 p.m.

At Edmonton, the Eskimos (5-3) look to rebound after being outscored 21-3 in the second half against B.C. CFL passing leader Mike Reilly threw for 302 yards with two TDs and scored another. Johnny Manziel threw for 168 yards and no picks against Ottawa but Montreal (1-7) put him under concussion protocol Wednesday. Defensive backs Branden Dozier (13 tackles) and Tyquwan Glass (12) led the way against the Redblacks, which speaks volumes.

Dunk: Nah. ESKS
Edwards: Edmonton at home, for now at least. ESKS
Gasson: ESKS
Hodge: If the Alouettes were a horse, the farmer would have shot them by now. ESKS
Ballantine: Eep…this won’t be pretty. ESKS
Filoso: Edmonton by a landslide. ESKS
Smith: If Edmonton doesn’t beat them by 20-plus they should be embarrassed. ESKS
Totals: ESKS 7 ALS 0

Calgary Stampeders quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell attempts a pass during first half CFL action against the Saskatchewan Roughriders at Mosaic Stadium in Regina on Friday, July 28, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Taylor

Sunday, Aug. 19
Calgary at Saskatchewan, 7 p.m.

At Saskatchewan, Calgary (7-0) looks for a second straight win this season at Mosaic Field. Bo Levi Mitchell threw three TD strikes as the Stampeders took a 24-0 first-quarter lead en route to a 34-22 win July 28. Zach Collaros didn’t play then but will start for the Riders (3-4). However, he won’t have Duron Carter to play catch with after the veteran receiver was released last weekend. Caleb Holley will take Carter’s spot. Both teams come off the bye.

Dunk: Riders have 99 problems on offence but Duron Carter ain’t one. STAMPS
Edwards: The Riders are coming off a bye week… but so is Calgary. STAMPS
Gasson: That O against that D. STAMPS
Hodge: If you can’t score, you can’t win. STAMPS
Ballantine: Calgary doesn’t lose after a bye week, and the Riders cut their best offensive weapon ahead of a game against the leagues stingiest D? STAMPS
Filoso: Calgary off the bye is money STAMPS
Smith: Just like Braun Strowman, Calgary after a bye are money in the bank. STAMPS

2018 Records
Dunk: 24-10
Edwards: 24-10
Ballantine: 24-10
Smith: 23-11
Gasson: 23-11
Filoso: 22-12
Hodge: 22-12

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