Here we are in Week 3, and like most CFL seasons, the first couple of weeks have brought a few surprises.
First and foremost is the play of the BC Lions. Have they really improved enough to be among the top teams in the league, or have they just been lucky enough to catch both the Stamps and the Ti-Cats on off days?
I expected Winnipeg to be better than it has been thus far. Then again, there’s a reason why they’re called the Bumblers.
Home teams have lost six of eight games and been outscored 235 to 160. Home field advantage means nothing so far in 2016.
This week’s match ups should provide some clarity as to where each team stands. But this IS the CFL, so the chances are pretty darn good that it may just muddy the waters even more.
Here are this week’s match ups:
Let’s take a look at what to expect.
WINNIPEG AT HAMILTON
Weston Dressler to the rescue!
Let’s first recall the Bombers’ performance last week:
What does Drew Willy think the problem is?
JUST mistakes, eh? Sounds easy to fix.
Here’s Paul LaPolice on the issues with Winnipeg’s offence:
And what about the defence?
The Bombers just need to PLAY. Period.
So just to recap, the Bombers are making mistakes, they’re underperforming, they need to find a solution and maybe they just need to play a full 60 minutes.
As for the Tiger-Cats, they need to atone to their home fans for that abysmal showing last week against the Lions. One statistic I missed was that K Brett Maher missed on each and every one of his three field goal attempts. That certainly didn’t help.
But if I was a betting woman – and I clearly am – I’d bet on the Ti-Cats to bounce back.
The Ti-Cats are just too good of a team to play two terrible games in a row. They will be motivated, and that tips the scales in their favour this week.
PREDICTION: Hamilton by 7
TORONTO AT BC
The Argos hung out in Regina all week after their win at Mosaic last Thursday night.
While Saskatchewan folks are known for their friendliness and hospitality, we should’ve kicked those Argos straight out of the province after they screwed the Riders over in a trade for the SECOND TIME this year.
First it was OL Bruce Campbell that was traded to the Riders, only to retire. Now it’s OL Matt Sewell.
You’ve gotta check to make sure you still have all of your fingers after you shake hands with Argos GM Jim Barker.
Anyway, the Argos are feeling good after their win last week.
As for the Lions, well, they`re attributing all of their early season success to the Godfather himself:
The Lions will be without RB Jeremiah Johnson this week, so former Rider Anthony Allen will step into the starting role.
I did not pick the Lions during the first two weeks of the CFL season. I’m not going to overlook them for a third week.
BTW, this usually means that they’ll lose.
PREDICTION: BC by 5
CALGARY AT OTTAWA
This should be an interesting game. I say “should” because you have the league-leading REDBLACKS at home against the Stampeders, who may have found their (football) sea(son) legs last week by beating up the Bombers.
But even though the REDBLACKS have started off well, some people seem to think that they’re still being overlooked:
Who exactly is overlooking Trevor Harris and Chris Williams? NO ONE. And why do we even care? It’s WEEK THREE of the season. WEEK THREE. If Trevor Harris is still starting for the REDBLACKS in Week 16 and Chris Williams has over 1,000 yards and nobody is talking about them, then fine, such a headline is warranted. But not in WEEK THREE. If you want to write about something, write about the tough decision Rick Campbell is going to have if Henry Burris comes off the injured list and all Harris has done is lead the REDBLACKS to wins.
I soooooooooooo want this to evolve into a quarterback controversy!
Getting back to the game, the REDBLACKS’ passing game is superior to the Stamps’, albeit not by much, but the Stamps’ ground game is a lot better. I’d put the teams as even on the offensive front.
The REDBLACKS’ defence has been decent, but not outstanding. It did give up a lot of points to the Eskimos back in Week 1. The Stamps’ defence has been a bit more consistent. I give a slight edge to the Stamps’ defence.
As for special teams, REDBLACKS’ WR Chris Williams is a better returner, and K Chris Milo has been surprisingly consistent since being released by the Riders last year. Stamps’ K Rene Paredes has been anything BUT consistent, which is odd. A slight edge to the REDBLACKS there.
In other words, this one is too close to call. But I’m going to put my faith in the hometown Ottawa crowd making a difference. This is probably a mistake.
PREDICTION: Ottawa by 2
SASKATCHEWAN AT EDMONTON
How fast we’ve forgotten that just a few weeks ago, Chris Jones returned to Edmonton.
If you look closely at the above picture, you’ll see Chris Jones, coach of the Riders, and Eskimos LB JC Sherritt in the foreground. It’s a picture from Jones’ RETURN TO EDMONTON.
Media people: are we seriously going to go through this every single time the Riders and Eskimos meet up this year? Hasn’t enough ink been wasted on this storyline?
The one good thing that may come out of this is watching Chris Jones give one word answers to said media people. I love it when he stonewalls them.
If I was a media person, here are some of the questions I’d ask Chris Jones ahead of this game:
- How did you manage to screw up yet another trade with Toronto?
- Were you specifically looking for a QB in that trade? Why Mitchell Gale?
- Who’s the #2 QB now?
- How does the trade of Shawn Lemon affect the defensive linemen rotation?
- Who will start at DT for Jonathan Williams?
- What changes did you make to the scheme this week or to your personnel to ensure that no long plays are given up by your defensive secondary?
- Are you actually going to put an extra offensive lineman on the roster this week? Or are you going to continue using defensive linemen fill in when a guard or tackle goes down?
- What’s the key to beating the Eskimos’ defence?
- How have you prepared your special teams differently in order to try and get more production on punt and kick returns?
See? It’s not that hard to come up with good questions.
All I’m looking for from the Riders on Friday night is progression. I fully expect the Riders to lose to the Eskimos. The Eskimos’ defence will have something to prove after being picked apart by the REDBLACKS in Week 1. And the Riders don’t yet have the aerial attack that the Eskimos have. So take the Eskimos by a few.
PREDICTION: Edmonton by 8