2017 CFL Picks – Week 3

ambrosie.jpg

It took three minutes for Randy Ambrosie to convince me that he’s the right guy for the job.

On Wednesday, Ambrosie was named the CFL’s 14th Commissioner.  A former offensive lineman who won a Grey Cup with the Edmonton Eskimos in 1993, Ambrosie was also secretary of the CFLPA for two years.  He went on to work in finance, holding various management positions with CIBC, Merrill Lynch, HSBC, and AGF.  He also led MacDougall, MacDougall, and MacTier, Canada’s oldest investment company.

On paper, he appears to be the exact person you’d want running the CFL: a former player who understands the game and the players’ needs, sees the challenges, understands the marketing/finance side of the business, has experience running large organizations, and who loves the CFL and wants to embrace its Canadian-ness.

How did the Board of Governors hire Jeffrey L. Orridge over Ambrosie last time around? Especially when Ambrosie said this:

“I’m part of this game. It’s wrapped into my DNA.”

Ambrosie displayed more passion for the CFL in those two sentences than Orridge did in two years.

Right now, it looks the CFL got it right this time.  Hopefully history will someday say the same.

week 3

Week 3 presents some intriguing match ups, none more so than the battle between the winless Tiger-Cats and the still-smarting-from-that-OT-loss Riders.

BC (1-1) at Montreal (1-1)

It’s a short week for both teams, and BC is on the second leg of its eastern swing, having played in Toronto last Friday.

BC took awhile to get going last week, finally putting it into gear in the second half of the game.  While QB Jonathon Jennings hasn’t exactly been lighting it up (it doesn’t help that he’s been sacked 9 times through the last two weeks), the Lions do lead the league in time of possession and in rushing yards.  Look for them to continue to lean on RB Jeremiah Johnson.

Montreal stayed in the game for the first half of last week’s match up against Edmonton, but it couldn’t stay with the Eskimos once the second half started.  The Alouettes’ offence has looked explosive at times, but can’t seem to keep the momentum going for more than a quarter or so.  The Alouettes’ defence is performing admirably, especially the rebuilt secondary.  But BC’s offence has more weapons and can outgun the Alouettes in a shootout.

Ultimately, though, this is going to come down to a battle of the running backs: Jeremiah Johnson versus Tyrell Sutton.  Whichever team’s RB rushes for the most yards will win.  I think that will be Johnson.

Pick: BC by 8

Calgary (1-0-1) at Winnipeg (1-0)

What’s up with the Stamps?  They tied the REDBLACKS in their Grey Cup rematch and barely eked out a win last week.

Whatever the issue is, you can’t blame the offence, which has put up 30+ points per game thus far.  The defence, though, has given up 30+ points per game.  This week we should get somewhat of an answer to the question of whether Ottawa is that good or if the Stamps’ defence is having trouble.

Matt Nichols will not have as much time to throw as his did last week – I can guarantee you that much.  Calgary’s secondary is a lot stronger and more experienced than the Riders’, so don’t expect Weston Dressler to be as open as he was last week, either.

On last week’s broadcast, Glen Suitor could not stop talking about how solid the Bombers’ roster is.  This will be a good early season test, one that I think they will fail. (Yes, that’s kind of harsh.)

Pick: Calgary by 9

Toronto (1-1) at Ottawa (0-1-1)

In Week 1, the Argos looked very sharp, but bumbled along in Week 2, looking quite ordinary.

For two weeks straight, the REDBLACKS came close, but not close enough, to beating the Stamps.

The key match up in this game is Ricky Ray versus Trevor Harris.  If Ray can get back to the success he had in Week 1, this should be a good game.  If not, the REDBLACKS could dominate.

I think the Argos will put forward a better effort on Friday night, but the REDBLACKS will be looking for their first win of the season – at home – which makes them the favourite in my books.

Pick: Ottawa by 5

Hamilton (0-1) at Saskatchewan (0-2)

Dear football gods: Please don’t put Tyler Crapigna in a potential game-winning position this week.  The guy deserves a break.

There was more upheaval in Riderville this week with the release of veteran Jonathan Newsome due to having different ‘views’ than Head Coach Chris Jones.  I keep hoping that the different ‘views’ involved Newsome telling Jones that his defence sucks and that playing a three-man front for most of the game is stupid.

I would think the pressure is on in Hamilton this year, as many prognosticators have picked the Tiger-Cats to finish first in the east.  But these are the Tiger-Cats, and they rarely perform as expected.

The pressure is also on Jones to get a win this week, as the fan base is getting more than a little bit restless.

The Tiger-Cats’ offence showed poorly in Week 1, while the Riders’ offence showed progress between Week 1 and Week 2.  The question is which defence can get on track. The Riders’ defence had a perfect first quarter against the Bombers, but then imploded, giving up 21 points in 11 minutes.  The Tiger-Cats had no answer for Ricky Ray in Week 1, but Kevin Glenn ain’t no Ricky Ray.

I’m picking the Riders, as they are a bit more desperate for a win going into their bye week.  Having written this, make sure you pick Hamilton for the win; they always win when I say they won’t.

Pick: Riders by 3

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