Last week eight points was the largest margin of victory in the CFL. it was a great week 17 full of a mix of defensive battles and shootouts. The week was finished off with the Riders building a nice lead for second in the west thanks to a Willie Jefferson pick six late in the game. It was an exciting finish at Mosaic Stadium. I went 3-1 last week bringing my straight up record to 40-21 on the season. This week Hamilton heads to Toronto, the Riders are in Winnipeg, Edmonton welcomes Ottawa in a huge game for both teams, and B.C looks to stay in the playoff race while visiting Calgary. Let’s see how I see each game playing out this week.
(7-7) Hamilton Tiger-Cats @ (3-11) Toronto Argonauts 7:30pm ET
Hamilton comes into this rivalry game one game back of Ottawa for first in the east with just four games remaining. The Ti-cats had a bye last week and dominated B.C. 40-10 the week before that. The offence should be able to go off against Toronto this week. Alex Green is still injured but that shouldn’t be a problem for Hamilton. I could see Brandon Banks going off this week with Jeremiah Masoli throwing for well over 300 yards. For Toronto James Franklin will be back under centre this week. He hasn’t played in quite a while but maybe the time on the bench will have helped him learn the system better and he could play well. I just don’t know that this week will be his week as Hamilton will be coming out firing looking to get back into first in the east. I see Hamilton coming away with the win this week.
Prediction: Tiger-Cats win 31-24
(10-5)Saskatchewan Roughriders @(8-7) Winnipeg Blue Bombers Saturday 2:00pm ET
The Riders and Bombers have both won three in a row going into the third and final matchup of the season. Saskatchewan goes to Winnipeg having won both of the first games between the two teams and looking for the rare three game sweep. The offence once again sputtered last week but had the ball over mid field at least eight times but didn’t do a whole lot with their opportunities. The win once again was thanks to the Rider defence against Edmonton. This week it will be a tough game against a Winnipeg team that will be fighting for their playoff lives as they are in a battle with Edmonton and B.C for the final two playoff spots in the west. The offence will need to be more consistent if they want a win. For Winnipeg they have turned it around since the Riders took them down in two straight games. Matt Nichols has found his groove and the defence looks very good lately. What has worked for the Bombers in the past was using the running game against the Riders. I think a key to the Bombers winning is feeding Andrew Harris early and often. We will see if that is the case on Saturday. I think this will be a physical battle between two good teams. I think the Riders will do just enough to continue their winning streak this week.
Prediction: Roughriders win 34-32
(8-6) Ottawa Redblacks @ (7-8) Edmonton Eskimos Saturday 5:00pm ET
Ottawa is the leader in the east as of now and will look to keep it that way this week against Edmonton. Ottawa lost by eight last week to Winnipeg and will look to get back on track against the free falling Eskimos. The key to the victory will be Trevor Harris and the offence putting up numbers against a suddenly potent Eskimo defence. If the Redblacks can put up a lot of points they should win this game because the Esks offence has been invisible lately. I do look for Edmonton to figure it out offensively this week. Mike Reilly can only look pedestrian for so long and I think it ends in week 18. I think the Esks offence and defence are going to come together this week led by Reilly and steal a win away from the east’s best team.
Prediction: Eskimos win 35-30
(7-7) B.C. Lions @ (12-2) Calgary Stampeders Saturday 8:00pm ET
The Lions are in tough this week against the league’s best team but if there was ever a week for an upset it might be week 18. The Lions could have Travis Lulay back in the fold this week and I think he gives them the best opportunity to win from the QB position. The Lions are going to have to have their best game of the season if they want to come out on top and I think it will start with their running game. if their running back by committee backfield can put in work on the ground this week it will go a long way to helping the Lions win. For Calgary they will have to find another new receiver to make plays this week as Marken Michel has been placed on the six game injured list. It is amazing that the Stamps can still win games when literally their entire receiving core from the start of the season has been injured at some point. But the defence continues to play well and Bo Levi makes his new receivers look good and the Stamps machine just keeps chugging along. I don’t think it will be any different this week.
Prediction: Stampeders win 27-21
This week could go a long way in determining playoff positioning. A Rider win mixed with a B.C. loss would guarantee a home playoff game for the Green and White. An Edmonton loss would make it very hard for them to get into a playoff spot with so little time remaining and if Calgary wins this week it will all but guarantee them first in the west. The battle between Hamilton and Ottawa for first in the east is going to be exciting to watch the rest of the way as well. I can’t wait! Thanks for reading.