CFL picks: Here comes the payoff

Remember all those crappy inter-divisional games early in the season, the ones that saw the West Division beat up on the East and lay the foundation for yet another crossover? Well, this is payoff.

The final three weeks of the CFL season feature nothing by West on West and East on East action with so much yet to be decided. The division titles are still up for grabs and, more importantly, so is the West Division’s final playoff team (which will play in the East but whatever.) Three of the four matchups this week mean something in the standings and the other features the latest edition of the Johnny Watch as well the continued resurrection of James Franklin: two young quarterbacks who may be a big part of their respective team’s future.

Let’s get to it.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback Jeremiah Masoli (8) is taken down by Ottawa Redblacks Anthony Cioffi during second half CFL Football game action in Hamilton, Ont. on Saturday, July 28, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power

Friday, Oct. 19
Hamilton at Ottawa, 7 p.m. EST

This is the start of an important home-and-home series. Hamilton (8-7) has won two straight and five of its last seven games. The Redblacks (8-7) have had two consecutive losses but lead the season series 1-0 and could take control of this race with a victory. Then again, the Ticats can clinch top spot with a series sweep.

Edwards: Jeremiah Masoli > Trevor Harris. TICATS
Dunk: More consistent team. TICATS
Gasson: They’ll probably split. REDBLACKS
Hodge: Coin flip. REDBLACKS
Filoso: Ottawa loses when they’re expected to win, and wins when they’re expected to lose. REDBLACKS
Smith: Hamilton plays well in Ottawa and Jeremiah Masoli is a road warrior. TICATS

B.C. Lions Shaq Johnson (88) makes the catch in the end zone as Edmonton Eskimos Monshadrik Hunter (41) tries to stop him during first half CFL action in Edmonton, Alta., on Friday June 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson.

Edmonton at British Columbia, 10 p.m. EST

The task at hand is simple one for Travis Lulay and the B.C. Lions: Win and they’re in the CFL playoffs. B.C. (8-7) can cement a post-season berth in the wild West Division on Friday night with a home win over the Edmonton Eskimos (8-8). The Lions are 6-3 over their last nine games, a stretch that began with a 31-23 home victory over Edmonton on Aug. 9. By comparison, the Eskimos are 3-6 over the same span but did snap a three-game losing streak last weekend with a solid 34-16 home win over the Ottawa Redblacks.

Edwards: B.C. is a different team at home and with the Ginger Hammer at quarterback. LIONS
Dunk: Lions at home with Travis Lulay and that defence. LIONS
Gasson: B.C. at home. LIONS
Hodge: Lulay at QB? Check. B.C. at home? Check. LIONS
Filoso: B.C. is hot, despite their win last week, Edmonton is not. LIONS
Smith: Can that Edmonton o-line keep Willis, Lemon and Coleman off Mike Reilly for a full 60 minutes? I’m not betting on it. LIONS

Montreal Alouettes quarterback Johnny Manziel and head coach Mike Sherman stand on the sideline during the final minute of the fourth quarter CFL football action against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in Montreal on Friday, August 3, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Saturday, Oct. 20
Montreal at Toronto, 4 p.m. EST

In a matchup of two teams that will miss the playoffs, James Franklin makes a second straight start for the Argos (3-12), who’ve lost seven straight. Johnny Manziel is still searching for his first CFL win with Montreal (3-12), which has lost four in a row but beat the Double Blue 25-22 in August with Antonio Pipkin under centre.

Edwards: Insert pithy line about two terrible teams playing a meaningless game in an empty stadium. ARGOS
Dunk: East Basement Bowl. ARGOS
Gasson: Here’s Johnny. ALS
Hodge: I’ll take the home side in the first instalment of the HorriBowl. ARGOS
Filoso: Manziel’s first win might not come until 2019. ARGOS
Smith: Doesn’t anyone even care? It’s not even for the first overall pick since the Als have none until 2053. Toronto’s at home, so… yeah. ARGOS

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

Saskatchewan at Calgary, 7 p.m. EST

Both teams have clinched playoff berths but are hurting and coming off losses. Yet it’s hard to imagine the Stampeders (12-3) not rebounding under quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell, 68-13-2 as a CFL starter and 38-4-0 at McMahon Stadium. Saskatchewan (10-6) dropped a lopsided 31-0 loss to Winnipeg and has been inconsistent offensively all year.

Edwards: Calgary at home, coming off a loss, eager to prove their still the team to beat. Plus, more drama in Riderville. STAMPS
Dunk: Calgary doesn’t lose two in a row at home. STAMPS
Gasson: Whenever the Riders have these kind of weeks they tend to win. But Calgary doesn’t lose two in a row. STAMPS
Hodge: Calgary at home. STAMPS
Filoso: Too much off-field drama around Sask. Plus, Calgary at home. STAMPS
Smith: The Riders can’t score and Calgary is gonna be pissed. Also, in Calgary. STAMPS

2018 Records
Edwards: 48-21
Dunk: 47-22
Gasson: 45-24
Hodge: 43-26
Filoso: 41-28
Smith: 41-28

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