Its tough picking the first set of games right after the pre-season because nobody truly knows what to expect from teams, based on their exhibition game performances.
Now that teams have put together their Week 1 rosters, and practises are under way, we'll take a look at all the games on the CFL sched and pick the teams that we feel will come out on top of their respective match-ups.
This will get fun once we see everyone on film for the first time, and the analysis we can do will get far more in depth. For now, we'll just take some base reasoning into effect.
Here's our ProPerspective.ca Week 1 picks for your smoke-break convos at work (do ppl still have smoke breaks?).
Ottawa @ Montreal
The Redblacks should definitely improve this year, but they’ll still be a long way from making a splash in the CFL. The additions of Chris Williams, and Maurice Price bolster the offence, however they still need to protect the QB, and Henry Burris will have to be consistent when the Oline allows him throwing time.
Defensively, Ottawa will lean on Antoine Pruneau to continue to get better and hope that the DB group gets on the same page communication-wise. Last year the lapses on the back-end cost them games.
Go Montreal here. Their offense may struggle a bit out of the gate, but their strengths lie on the defensive side of the ball. That core group of vets on Noel Thorpe’s D, should keep Ottawa at bay while they figure things out offensively.
Hamilton @ Calgary
What a great way to start off the year. Don’t be fooled by all the injury talk that has enveloped Hamilton as of late. They are a talented group led by a great coaching staff. They’ll be ready, and will play with a chip on their shoulder for all four quarters, Kent Austin will make sure of that.
This game will be a great measuring stick for the Stamps early on. Hamilton was terrific against the run last year, and the Stamps will have to establish the line of scrimmage early to open up an effective passing game. More importantly the Stamps need to cover well on Special Teams. Both squads are evenly matched in the other 2 phases of the game, so Calgary needs to keep momentum from swinging to Hamilton via large returns in the kicking game.
Pick: Calgary in a close one
Edmonton @ Toronto
Toronto is going to be a good team this year, but they’re in tough against the Edmonton Eskimos. The spotlight here is on the Toronto Argonaut Offensive line. We all know that Chris Jones is going to be aggressive and send multiple blitz looks, but the strength in Edmonton is their Defensive front and their ability to get to the QB without a lot of help. The Argo Oline led by Chris Van Zeyl is going to have to give 4th pivot Trevor Harris the time to process everything in front of him in order to make the right decisions. Harris is a young QB with plenty of potential, but he still has a long way to go in terms of experience. Time in the pocket is crucial. Toronto can’t have Harris constantly under pressure, the Eskimos are already good enough on offense, and can’t be given additional possessions off of turnovers.
Winnipeg @ Saskatchewan
It’s weird seeing these two teams go heads-up in any games not being played in September, but any Roughrider/Blue Bomber game is always a hard fought battle.
This game is simple. The Bombers are going to have to find a way to sustain drives against a very tough defensive unit, and finish red zone visits with touchdowns; they won’t win if they’re kicking Field Goals all game.
Maintaining possession is going to be tough with a rookie right guard and a 2nd yr right tackle, especially against an athletic defensive front. Offensive Coordinator Marcel Bellefueille is going to have to come up with a scheme that gets the ball out quickly and doesn't rely on plays that take a long time to develop. If the Bombers can't find a rhythm, they'll be putting a Defense, that is working to establish a new identity for themselves, in a bad spot. The green and white have a number of weapons on offense and Winnipeg can't afford to let them find a groove by giving them consistent opportunities.