It’s a fresh start for all teams across the league and the 3DownNation game picks have been reset to zero.
Time to kick-off the competition and season. Yes, it’s June. Let’s get to football.
Thursday, June 13
Saskatchewan at Hamilton, 7 p.m. EST
Zach Collaros takes on his former team for the first time since he was traded to the Riders in January 2018. Jeremiah Masoli leads Hamilton against his old quarterback room buddy in a season stacked with expectations for the black and gold franchise.
Dunk: All the hype surrounds the Ticats. RIDERS
Hodge: The beasts of the East top the worst of the West. TICATS
Alfieri: Hamilton kept the core group together and I expect them to be the class of the East this year (whatever that means). TICATS
Ballantine: Saskatchewan’s strong defence will need to score to win this game. TICATS
Filoso: Hamilton starts off strong. TICATS
Gasson: Weird stuff happens in week one. RIDERS
Smith: This will be closer than people expect. TICATS
Friday, June 14
Montreal at Edmonton, 9 p.m. EST
Less than a week after the Alouettes fired head coach Mike Sherman, interim bench boss Khari Jones leads the birds into the City of Champions. Montreal actually upgraded the roster through another off-season under general manager Kavis Reed, but Antonio Pipkin needs to prove he can be consistent as the starting quarterback.
The Eskimos underwent a major roster overhaul in the winter and begin the Trevor Harris era at quarterback. Larry Dean leads a revamped defence that’s vowed to be more aggressive under coordinator Phillip Lolley. It’s an intriguing season for Jason Maas and Brock Sunderland.
Dunk: Closer game than people think. ESKS
Hodge: The Als fired their head coach less than a week ago, so… ESKS
Alfieri: I think the Alouettes will surprise a lot of people this year, but ESKS win this one.
Ballantine: The Alouettes are not good. ESKS
Filoso: Upset special of the week. ALS
Gasson: Weird stuff also doesn’t happen week one. ESKS
Smith: C’mon now. ESKS
Saturday, June 15
Ottawa at Calgary, 7 p.m. EST
The Grey Cup rematch has one guarantee: players won’t look like they’re trying to ice skate on the field.
Ottawa presents a new-look offence with Dominique Davis as the No. 1 QB to start the season. Brad Sinopoli is the lone proven name left at the skill positions on offence, however, the Redblacks expect new playmakers to emerge.
John Hufnagel paid up to keep Bo Levi Mitchell in Calgary as the defending Grey Cup champs aim to play in the late November game at home in the comfy confines of McMahon Stadium. Mitchell didn’t have a single receiver crack the 1,000-yard mark in 2018, a testament to his ability to spread the football.
Brent Monson takes over the defence from DeVone Claybrooks. The unit looks markedly different with studs Micah Johnson and Alex Singleton gone. How the Stamps adapt on ‘D’ will be critical.
Dunk: McMahon Stadium equals death to visitors. STAMPS
Hodge: Calgary at home. STAMPS
Alfieri: I don’t think Ottawa will be as bad as people think, but the defending champs will get it done in Week 1. STAMPS
Ballantine: Stamps blowout brewing here. STAMPS
Filoso: Ottawa hasn’t won in Calgary since 2004. That changes on Saturday. REDBLACKS
Smith: New year, same philosophy: at Calgary. STAMPS
Gasson: Ottawa plays Calgary tough, but they’re still coming together. STAMPS
Saturday, June 15
Winnipeg at B.C., 10 p.m. EST
Many pundits, including a number of contributors on 3DownNation, are choosing the Bombers to hoist the Grey Cup when it’s all said and done in 2019.
The Lions are the new kids on the block with young coaches, a fresh face of the franchise in Mike Reilly and shiny new pieces all over the roster — Duron Carter, Lemar Durant, Aaron Grymes, Adam Konar and Sukh Chungh to name a few.
Dunk: Winnipeg’s roster knows each other better. BOMBERS
Hodge: Game of the week. Last possession wins it. BOMBERS
Alfieri: The Lions have added a ton of talent to their roster, but it will take them time to build chemistry. BOMBERS.
Ballantine: Great potential for this game to be amazing. Could be a Winnipeg-dominated snoozer just as easily. BOMBERS
Filoso: Get your popcorn ready. B.C. wins a wild one. LIONS
Gasson: Late game in B.C.? LIONS
Smith: Best game of week one by far. Edge to the home side. LIONS