2016 Week 5 Picks

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Home field advantage ain’t what it used to be.

After Week 4, road teams are an astonishing 12-3-1.  And that includes the league-leading (YUCK) REDBLACKS, whose three wins have all come on the road.  The tie against the Stampeders happened at home.

Trivia: When’s the last time an Ottawa franchise (remember, they’re on their THIRD now) started off a season by winning three road games?

In 1976.  That year, the Ottawa Rough Riders broke the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ hearts in the Grey Cup.

I may not have been born when that Grey Cup occurred, but part of my dislike for Ottawa franchises – aside from the fact that they seem to fold every few years and then rise from the dead, only to make the rest of the league give up good players in an expansion draft – can be traced back to that 1976 Grey Cup.

Where were we?  Oh, yes.  Home games.

Which teams have sucked the most at home?  The lowly Rider and their prairie counterparts, the Blue Bombers, each of which is 0-2 at home.

The only teams that have managed to win a game at home are the Lions (in Week 1 versus Calgary), Calgary (in Week 2 versus Winnipeg) and Edmonton (in Week 3 versus the Riders).  Only Western teams have won home games, and that trend may just continue this week.

Here are this week’s games:

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And here are my early predictions.

CALGARY AT WINNIPEG

The Stampeders have been surprisingly quiet to start the season.  They’re probably just sulking in a corner somewhere, as the sunshine that’s been perennially blown up their behinds has now moved on to Ottawa.

Suck it up, boys.

Actually, it makes me a little nervous that that the Stamps haven’t been beaking off.  Of course that could be the fact that their new HC, Dave Dickenson, isn’t the most vocal guy.

As for the Blue Bombers, well, they’re trying to build themselves up.

The Bombers had better hope that Stampeders QB Bo Levi Mitchell keeps playing Pokemon Go, ’cause him missing the game is about the only way the Bombers win this game.

PREDICTION: Calgary by 10

OTTAWA AT SASKATCHEWAN

Another week, another new QB in town.

Vad Lee now joins the squad.  Who?  Mr. and Mrs. Lee’s son, I suppose.  I know nothing more than that.

It looks like QB Darian Durant won’t be able to play on Friday.  The good news is that he was on the practice field today without a walking boot or anything else that would suggest a set back.  This is good news.

The bad news is that it’s a short week and the undefeated REDBLACKS (YUCK) are coming to town.

I haven’t looked at the odds, but I suspect Ottawa is favoured by more than 10 points.

The match ups just aren’t in the Riders favour, such as a veteran, big play receiving core against a very green secondary.

On a completely different note, this kind of stuff upsets me:

Those Rider fans that are already giving up on the team need to think back to 2000, when Roy Shivers and Danny Barrett took over the team.  Those first couple of years were pretty rough, as a brand new secondary usually gave up a big play or two each game, while the offence kept the team in the game.  Within a few years, that defence was one of the top defences in the league.

So patience, Rider fans.  We’re only three games into a complete rebuild.  Give it until at least Labour Day before you start writing off the season.

Nevertheless…

PREDICTION: Ottawa by 15

HAMILTON AT EDMONTON

Where are we on the Zach Collaros watch?  He’s back at practice, but that’s about all we know.  He was placed on the six-game injured list, and while the Tiger-Cats would probably like to have him back as soon as possible, it’s in Collaros’ long-term interests that he only resume the starting role when he’s ready.

Meanwhile, Jeremiah Masoli continues his audition to be a starting CFL QB.

It’s not going well.

After a stellar Week 1 performance, Masoli might as well not have even showed up for the game against BC and just hasn’t been able to replicate that Week 1 performance since. And the lack of offensive production shows.

As for Edmonton, they continue to rely on big plays from receivers Adarius Bowman and Derrel Walker in order to win games.  Will that formula continue to work?  It does seem to be working for the REDBLACKS (YUCK).

Hamilton’s defence had a great outing last week, while Edmonton’s is still trying to figure out Mike Benevides’ system.  I think.

My figurative money is on Edmonton.

(BTW, there are Pokemon in Edmonton, too.)

PREDICTION: Edmonton by 8

MONTREAL AT TORONTO

Why watch the films if you’re just going to throw them all away?

The big question for the Alouettes this week is whether Montreal QB Kevin Glenn’s pink eye remains contagious, ’cause that stuff definitely is.  I was surprised he was on the sidelines last week.

But even if Glenn plays, he’s still down a couple of keys players.

As for Toronto, their defence is playing very well right now; it’s their offence that just isn’t consistent enough yet.  That being said, I just hope they draw more than 12,000 fans to their home game, because last week’s attendance was just sad.

PREDICTION: Toronto by 5

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