The first day of the 2016 season is upon us!
This may be one of the most anticipated CFL seasons in recent memory, as nearly all teams have a legitimate chance at a playoff spot, which will make these early season games all the more important come fall.
The parity across the league will also make it a lot more challenging for prognosticators like myself to predict what will happen each week.
As such, a disclaimer:
The previews and predictions provided below are only provided for entertainment purposes and are not based on anything other than the writer’s opinion. Therefore, the writer is not and shall not be held liable for any losses incurred as a result of any person relying on said previews and predictions for their own use. Any person who relies on these previews and predictions does so at their own risk, and, quite frankly, should know better.
With that bit of legalese out of the way, let’s take a look at the opening week match ups.
MONTREAL AT TORONTO
If you’ve checked out the Argos’ Twitter feed over the last couple of months – although really, why would you? – you would see this hashtag over and over again:
Why? ‘Cause this game marks the first home game for the Argos at their new home, BMO Field. This will give the Argos true home field advantage for the first time in decades.
And there’s absolutely no better way for the Argos to open up their season in their new stadium than versus their fierce rival, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
And this rivalry is only about to get more heated as Chad Owens will now wear orange and black, while Justin Hickman will be in double blue.
I consider these two teams to be relatively equal, especially after Toronto shored up its defensive line in the off season. The crucial difference, though, will be at quarterback. Ricky Ray, the perennial all-star, will line up for the Argos, while Jeremiah Masoli, who only played six games last year, will start for the Ti-Cats after winning the starting job in training camp. Let’s compare their passing stat lines:
Here’s Ricky Ray’s (why no freaking TOTALS, CFL.ca??):
And here are Masoli’s:
I rest my case.
PREDICTION: Argos by 6
MONTREAL AT WINNIPEG
Look at that smirk. That smirk is all, “We’re gonna show you, CFL, how AWESOME the Blue Bombers will be this year.”
(Side note: Who describes their team’s personality as ‘professional’? That’s about as boring as Winnipeg is in general.)
That smirk means Coach O’Shea didn’t read his injury report. LB Sam Hurl will miss this week, and RB Andrew Harris tweaked his hamstring, making him a game time decision.
The Alouettes aren’t exactly starting out with a full line up, either. But the reasons for their troubles are self-inflicted.
The Alouettes let a couple of players go last week due to rumoured salary cap issues.
Question: How do you have salary cap issues without having played a down of regular season football in 2016?
I have said over and over again that Jim Popp is not a Head Coach. I’m starting to wonder if he’s no longer much of a GM, either.
Anyway, I think the Alouettes’ front seven is better than the Bombers’ offensive line. But the Bombers are playing at home, which means I’m going with the Bombers.
PREDICTION: Winnipeg by 3
OTTAWA AT EDMONTON
I am going to go out on a limb and predict that Henry Burris throws two interceptions this weekend.
Because this is a rematch of the 2015 Grey Cup game, and of course Burris will want to win. And I predict that the need to ‘win’ will get the better of Smilin’ Hank and lead him to make a couple of ill-timed decisions.
Plus, Edmonton’s defence is still very good.
Complete side note: What does #bone mean? I have been trying to figure this out for at least a year.
The problem for the REDBLACKS will be the fact that they’re missing their two DEs from last season, both of whom are now with the Roughriders. (THANKS!) You can’t give Mike Reilly time to throw. If you do, he will burn you. Well, actually, his receivers will burn you. You know what I mean.
PREDICTION: Edmonton by 7
CALGARY AT BC
I must admit that I LOL’d at this. But someone needs to tell Rene Paredes to keep his chin down.
Seriously, though, the above picture is really a metaphor for the consistency of the Stampeders themselves over the past number of years. Yes, a metaphor. And yes, I know this is a football blog.
The Stampeders’ offensive line is hurting. But a couple of years ago the Stampeders started a rebuilt offensive line that I thought would be the team’s weakest link that season.
That o-line was one of the best in the league.
As for the Lions, I consider them to be an unknown quantity right now. There are too many questions on offense:
- Can Jonathon Jennings handle being a starting quarterback for 18 games?
- Will the Lions have a running game?
- Will the offensive line hold up and allow Jennings to get the ball to his receivers?
- Will Emmanuel Arceneaux shut up long enough to catch a ball?
And most importantly: Does Wally remember that you can’t have TWO quarterbacks on the field at the same time?
While we know the Lions’ linebackers are likely one of the top linebacking corps in the league, Ryan Phillips is an ancient defensive back and I can’t name one Lions’ defensive lineman.
So I guess I’m going with Calgary.
PREDICTION: Calgary by 12