CFL picks: Final (regular season) call to ball

There are various reasons for teams to perform in the final week of the regular season.

Jobs for coaches and players are on the line in many different ways, whether it’s practice roster guys getting a shot, pending free agents wanting to leave a strong last impression on film for non-playoff clubs, coaches trying to prove they can still win or Calgary trying to lock up the West Division, there is a lot to play for. Let’s see who balls out.

Toronto Argonauts quarterback James Franklin (2) celebrates his touchdown during first half CFL football action against the Montreal Alouettes, in Toronto on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

Friday, Nov. 2
Toronto at Ottawa, 7:30 p.m.

The Redblacks (10-7) will rest several regulars – including quarterback Trevor Harris and slotback Brad Sinopoli – having swept a home-and-home with Hamilton to clinch first in the East. James Franklin is expected to start for Toronto (4-13) which has lost eight of its last nine games and sports a dismal 0-8 road record.

Edwards: I like Dom Davis but just too many guys on the pine for Ottawa. ARGOS
Dunk: James Franklin floats the Argos boat to end the season. ARGOS
Gasson: Toronto ends on a high note. ARGOS
Hodge: Toronto’s starters > Ottawa’s back-ups running a vanilla playbook. ARGOS
Filoso: Are Ottawa’s backups better than Toronto’s starters? I don’t think so, especially since Dominique Davis only plays a half. ARGOS
Smith: Ottawa has nothing to play for. ARGOS
Ballantine: Ottawa takes this week off. ARGOS

Edmonton Eskimos’ quarterback Mike Reilly (13) scrambles for extra yards against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers during the first half of CFL action in Winnipeg Thursday, June 14, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Saturday, Nov. 3
Winnipeg at Edmonton, 4 p.m.

The Eskimos (8-9) look to end a miserable season on a winning note. Still, the home team will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2013, CFL passing leader Mike Reilly’s first year with the club. Winnipeg has cemented third in the West and is expected to rest many of its starters.

Edwards: If the Eskimos players want to save Jason Maas’ job, showing that they are still playing hard in a meaningless game might help. Or not. ESKS
Dunk: Spirited effort comes from Edmonton. ESKS
Gasson: Winnipeg finds a way. BOMBERS.
Hodge: Edmonton’s playing to win, while Winnipeg’s playing to stay healthy. ESKS
Filoso: In what may be his final game in the green and gold, Mike Reilly leads Edmonton to a win. ESKS
Smith: Winnipeg’s got nothing to play for. ESKS
Ballantine: Winnipeg looks to stay sharp. BOMBERS
Totals: ESKS 5 BOMBERS 2

Montreal Alouettes quarterback Johnny Manziel throws a pass during first half CFL football action against the Toronto Argonauts, in Montreal, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Montreal at Hamilton, 7 p.m.

Montreal (4-13) looks to end its season with two straight wins. Former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel earned his first CFL victory in last weekend’s 40-10 decision over Toronto. He returns to face the team that traded him this summer. The Ticats (8-9) have clinched a playoff berth and are expected to sit many of their veterans.

Edwards: With absolutely nothing on the line, Johnny sticks it to his old team. ALS
Dunk: Hamilton wants to show Manziel up, again. TICATS
Gasson: Ticats don’t look great with something to play for right now. ALS
Hodge: Montreal wins a meaningless game, creating the illusion of organizational progress. ALS
Filoso: Manziel makes it two in a row. ALS
Smith: Hamilton has nothing to play for. ALS
Ballantine: Hamilton despite resting players still needs a good showing to build confidence. TICATS
Totals: ALS 5 TICATS 2

Calgary Stampeders head coach Dave Dickenson reacts to a play during first half CFL action against the Saskatchewan Roughriders, in Regina on Sunday, August 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Matt Smith.

Calgary at British Columbia, 10 p.m.

Dave Dickenson doesn’t have the luxury of resting his starters for the Calgary Stampeders’ regular-season finale. Calgary (12-5) visits the B.C. Lions (9-8) on Saturday night needing a win or tie to clinch first in the West Division and home field for the Nov. 18 conference final. A loss would give the Saskatchewan Roughriders (12-6) top spot and force the Stampeders to host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (10-7) in the Western semifinal Nov. 11.

Edwards: The Lions might want to win for Wally but Calgary really needs this one. STAMPS
Dunk: Too much on the line for Calgary. STAMPS
Gasson: Wally’s last game at home where BC is pretty good. LIONS
Hodge: Calgary clinches first in the West Division (finally). STAMPS
Filoso: Calgary has everything to play for, BC doesn’t. STAMPS
Smith: B.C. has Wally to play for. LIONS
Ballantine: Mitchell finally gets back on track as the Stamps finally clinch the West. STAMPS
Totals: STAMPS 5 LIONS 2

2018 Records
Edwards: 52-25
Dunk: 50-27
Gasson: 49-28
Hodge: 48-29
Filoso: 45-32
Smith: 45-32

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