3DownNation CFL picks: rivals battle with 2021 Grey Cup spots on the line

Photo courtesy: CFL

The 2021 CFL season will soon draw to a close with just four teams remaining in contention for Earl Grey’s mug.

It’s been a chaotic week in the league with a member of the Saskatchewan Roughriders being detained by police following a disturbance at a restaurant, five members of the Toronto Argonauts breaking COVID protocols, and several players fighting through injuries.

Three of our contributors are still in contention to finish atop the 3DownNation picks standings, while two of them look to avoid finishing the year below .500. With only three games left in the year, the pressure is to see who can come out on top (and who can avoid finishing at the bottom).

Without further ado, here are the picks.

Photo courtesy: Ticats.ca

Sunday, Dec. 5
Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Toronto Argonauts, 12:30 p.m. EST
Betting Line: Ticats -2.5

The Argos should have McLeod Bethel-Thompson in the lineup after the league suddenly changed its COVID protocols to accommodate the starting quarterback. The Ticats dominated the line of scrimmage in a big win over the Montreal Alouettes in the East Semi-Final and will look to control the line of scrimmage again at BMO Field. Toronto won the season series 3-1 against Hamilton, allowing them to host the East Final.

DUNK: The Ticats have tantalized at times in 2021, but the takeover in Toronto takes hold. TICATS 

HODGE: Hamilton gets one last chance to prove they are the beast of the east. TICATS

ABBOTT: Toronto claimed the season series handedly, but that means jack in the playoffs. TICATS

BALLANTINE: The league put Bethel-Thompson back on the field, but it still won’t be enough to prevent a Hamilton home Grey Cup. TICATS

FILOSO: Hamilton is the logical pick but something tells me Toronto spoils their party. ARGOS

GASSON: Toronto has had their moments all year and are very good at home. For whatever reason, I haven’t believed in them and this will probably be wrong again, but I still don’t. TICATS

HUDSON: If the Argos win I’ll credit Jones, but I’ve been ranking the Ticats higher for a while. TICATS

LUDWIG: My gut and my brain are divided but I don’t even know which says which. How about another playoff OT game? TICATS

MCGUIRE: I need to pick against Gasson to beat him in the standings. ARGOS

SMITH: If the football gods are real then Hamilton will win this in a walk. TICATS

TICATS — 8
ARGOS — 2

Photo courtesy: CFL

Sunday, Dec. 5
Saskatchewan Roughriders at Winnipeg Blue Bombers, 4:00 p.m. EST
Betting Line: Bombers -8.5

The prairie rivals met for their annual Labour Day back-to-back in early September with Winnipeg sweeping both matchups by a combined score of 56-17. A.C. Leonard and Micah Teitz are questionable for the Riders on defence, while it remains unclear whether or not Andrew Harris will suit up for the Bombers. This marks the first West Final to be played in Winnipeg since 1972.

DUNK: It’s simple: if the Riders can’t score a touchdown they won’t win. BOMBERS

HODGE: The CFL’s best team punches their ticket to the Grey Cup. BOMBERS

ABBOTT: The Bombers are miles better than the Riders even when they’re healthy. Banged up, this could get ugly. BOMBERS

BALLANTINE: Saskatchewan barely beat Calgary who did everything to beat themselves last week. No chance Winnipeg does the same. BOMBERS 

FILOSO: Winnipeg has been the best team all season, they prove it yet again Sunday. BOMBERS

GASSON: I’ve been on the record when it comes to the Bombers blowing it either this week or next. I don’t think it’ll be this week, though, as the Riders don’t match up well against them. BOMBERS

HUDSON: The Riders we saw in the West Semi-Final can’t touch Winnipeg. BOMBERS

LUDWIG: A close game would be very impressive from Saskatchewan. BOMBERS

MCGUIRE: I need to pick against Gasson to beat him in the standings. RIDERS

SMITH: I may look foolish for this come about 5 p.m. ET, but I just have a gut feeling. RIDERS

RIDERS — 2
BOMBERS — 8

Records to date

Gasson 42-22
Dunk 41-23
McGuire 40-24
Hudson 38-26
Hodge 37-27
Ludwig 37-27
Ballantine 36-28
Smith 34-30
Abbott 31-33
Filoso 31-33