While I missed last week due to real life, I’m back this week as we truck into week fourteen of the CFL season. The league continues to prove difficult to predict, as several upsets have happened throughout the course of the year. We head into this week with the playoff picture becoming clearer.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats(4-7) v. Ottawa Redblacks(3-8)
Ottawa comes off a bye week heading into the week and it probably couldn’t have come at a better time. The Redblacks have fallen flat on their faces after the back to back Dustin Crum heroic weeks and they haven’t been able to get back on track. With five straight losses, the Redblacks need a victory badly. As for Hamilton, an upset two weeks ago against the Lions, they followed it up with a loss to the best team in the league. The Ticats do return Matthew Shiltz this week under center. Shiltz’ return is a much needed boost to an offense that’s stumbled their way through the Taylor Powell-era. For Hamilton, they’re still not out of the race for a playoff spot and a win against the struggling Redblacks would be perfect medicine to keep their post season hopes alive.
Author’s Note: The game is almost over and the Ticats stuck with Taylor Powell as their QB. He’s looked really good and possibly has this job for the rest of the season. My Shiltz prediction was obviously incorrect.
Prediction: Shiltz returns and balls out. Hamilton 32-17
Montreal Alouettes(6-5) v. Toronto Argonauts(9-1)
Montreal has boosted one of the best defenses all year long. Last week, they took on a reeling BC Lions team and couldn’t complete the job, as they lost. The Alouettes look to rebound this week against the toughest and best team in the league. Cody Fajardo played well last week, but turnovers cost Montreal the game. The defense can’t have a repeat of last week as they allowed BC to bounce back. Luckily, they don’t need to play the punching bag this week for a team trying to rebound. Instead, they get to play punching bag to the best team in the league, the Argos. Chad Kelly was recently extended by Toronto and with good reason: the front runner for MVP this season, Kelly is playing better than any other QB in the league. The Alouettes need to stay ahead of the closing the Roughriders and lurking Ticats.
Prediction: Chad Kelly torches a defense that needs to regroup. Toronto 36-20
Saskatchewan Roughriders(6-5) v. Winnipeg Blue Bombers(9-3)
In a shocking upset on Labor Day weekend, the Roughriders beat the Blue Bombers in overtime. One week later and they get the chance to repeat that upset and close the gap on Winnipeg as the race to the postseason heats up. Zach Collaros picked a poor time for one of his worst games of the year last week: he only completed 13 passes and threw a pick. The Roughriders got one of the best games of the year from Jake Dolegala. The young QB completed 22 of 39 passes and threw for over 300 yards. He didn’t throw a touchdown, but that wasn’t needed as the Roughriders got two rushing touchdowns from short yardage QB Antonio Pipkin. The Bombers will definitely be looking for revenge this week as they look to protect their home turf from a potential back to back upsets.
Prediction: Collaros bounces back from last week. Winnipeg 34-23
Calgary Stampeders(4-8) v. Edmonton Elks(2-10)
Labor Day weekend produced some of the best games of the year in any league last weekend. The Blue Bombers/Roughriders game and the Stamps/Elks game didn’t disappoint. One of the best endings all year of a football game, the Stampeders drove down the field late and Jake Maier threw a game winning touchdown. The Elks had been the hottest team in the league – an odd thing to say about a team with 2 wins. But coming off back-to-back wins after starting the season 0-9, the Elks, under the direction of Tre Ford, have been invigorated by his play and have been playing as good as almost anyone. Last week, the defense let them down late, as they led most of the game against the Stamps. While the Elks are almost entirely out of the playoff picture, the Stamps have an outside chance of making some noise and trying to get into the postseason. A back-to-back set of victories over the Elks could go a long way in accomplishing that.
Prediction: Similar game to last week, late game heroics win the day. Calgary 29-27
Not completely sold on these four this week, as we continue see the competitive nature of the CFL, but two rematches from Labor Day weekend, the two games that produced the most fireworks, could produce some lightning for the second straight week. Hopefully 4-0 in my future.
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