Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Picking Week 17 in the CFL

Fresh off the Kevin Glenn trade in the middle of a Saskatchewan Roughrider Bye Week, we hit you with our Week 17 picks brought to you by our great friends at CJ Evans Home Designs.  As the playoffs draw closer, one may be in for some surprises, as each team looks to solidify themselves for the Grey Cup run.  Even the teams like Saskatchewan can still wreak havoc on the playoff scene, so don't turn the dial at any point during the CFL week because you may miss something that changes the entire landscape as we know it!
As usual, we hope this helps your Water Cooler Convo's and your friendly wagers!
Be on the lookout for tomorrows PodCast episode which we'll drop in the afternoon. 
Also, keep in mind that there is still going to be playoff football in Regina, as the Calgary Colts visit #YQR and go head-to-head with the Thunder in PFC Semi-Final Action!  Let's pack the park folks, this game is going to be a physical 4 quarter battle.  Hit the link for more info:
Here's your picks for this week!!!
Winnipeg @ Ottawa
As far as the Bombers go, I can’t help but think of the Godfather III movie when Don Corleone realizes that he’ll never be able to shake his mob ties, in one of the many iconic quotes from that trilogy;
“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!!!”
Everyone on the outside of the Winnipeg Locker Room had all but scratched the Blue Bombers off their bingo cards, when it came to the playoff scenario.  Now, low and behold, after a gritty victory in BC against the Lions, Winnipeg is back in the swing of things…WHAT A DIFFERENCE A KICKER CAN MAKE. 
I’m happy for the Bombers.  Hopefully the Blue and Gold can hold onto whatever momentum their comeback last weekend may have drummed up.  They’ll need it, as they head into another hostile environment in the Nation’s Capital to face the RedBlacks who are still in the hunt for their division, and were on the losing side of an offensive shoot-out with the Argos last week.
This game, on paper, is a personnel mismatch.  If there is one thing that we have all come to realize about the RedBlacks this year, is that they can score the football in droves;
Winnipeg…Not So Much.
Granted, the loss of Jeremiah Johnson for the rest of the year is a HUGE loss to what Ottawa has been trying to do offensively as of late, but the RedBlacks still have a bunch of weapons they can go to and a defense that is in the top percentile in the CFL.
With the odds on paper stacked against them, I’ll take the RedBlacks over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Pick: Ottawa
Calgary @ Toronto
After coming off a victory against Ottawa where it seemed both teams were playing 7 on 7 (no Dline/Oline) the Toronto Argos are looking more dangerous than ever.  If the Double Blue can get their Defense to play solid consistent football over the final weeks of the regular season, I don’t see why one wouldn’t have them up there with Edmonton as favourites to compete for the Grey Cup.
That’s the only thing that scares analysts, experts, and some current players about the Argos.  People still don’t trust Casey Creehan to get it done schematically, and their offensive prowess may be covering up some legitimate concerns.  In talking to a former teammate who has gotten the opportunity to prepare for Toronto a couple of times this season, he stated that “It’s all about slowing down their Offense.  They’ve got great guys on D but they’ll make a mistake or two defensively that will keep you in the game.”
I call BS, and I almost fell into that “analyst trap” last week when referring to Toronto…There’s no way that as a former player I’m going to doubt the legitimacy of a team that is currently tied for the top spot in their division.  As a pro, it doesn’t matter how the team gets it, A WIN IS A WIN IS A WIN…So far the Argos are winning games.  We can sit here and say “despite this” and “despite that” all we want, but the bottom line is that the Double Blue are winning football games. 
Now on to Calgary.  Another team that the CFL community is gossiping about.  The fact that their last two losses have been at the hands of their Alberta neighbour has seemed to take some of the lustre off of the shiny “Stamp Machine” rep. 
To some; it seems like little brother (Edmonton) is growing up, and the rest of the league is catching up.
What a perfect time to drop a PSA regarding the mindset of the Stampeders, and let everyone know that the Western Powerhouse still has some kick left.  If Calgary wants to be looked at as the benchmark of the CFL still, they’ll need to get a win against a Toronto team that may feel that Calgary lucked out during their first battle.
Last week T.O had to drop 38 just to get a win.  It’s tough to see any offense dropping that many on a Rich Stubler Defense that sits 2nd in the league against the pass, so the Argos are going to need their D to show up, and show out.  The question is, will the Toronto Defenders answer the bell…
Pick: Calgary
BC @ Edmonton
Jonathon Jennings made a couple of young mistakes in their loss to Winnipeg but for the most part played well in his 2nd full game as a starter.  His 3rd game is going to test his decision making skills like no other.  This is not Saskatchewan or Winnipeg.  This is the Chris Jones, get in your face D that makes no secret about how aggressive they are going to be.  Really, the team as a whole are a nightmare to play against in Commonwealth Stadium, so the entire Lions squad is going to have to manufacture a herculean effort to knock off the Grey Cup hopefuls. 
If BC wants to continue to hold onto the 3rd Western Playoff spot they’ll need their Oline to pick up everything.  It’s one thing to have to make quick decisions as a QB, it’s another thing for Jennings to have to make his reads under duress.  The Lions front needs to have their communication on point, and may look to “slide protect” in order to move their young QB to a different launch point that isn’t under as much stress.  Andrew Harris will have to get his touches in as well.
All in all, this game has the makings of a blowout if Edmonton can get to Jennings EARLY, but if the Lions can keep the rookie clean for a while, and he settles; we may be in for a better game than we thought.
Pick: Edmonton
Hamilton @ Montreal
I’m really curious to see is the Alouettes actually put Kevin Glenn in the game on such short turnaround after today’s trade.  For a team that is trying to crossover, bringing Glenn into the fold was brilliant seeing as they only had to give up a 5th round draft selection.
The problem I have with the Als, or anyone that “achieves” the 3rd Western Playoff spot, is that they’ll run head first into either the defending Grey Cup Champs (who may have Juwan Simpson back), or the Edmonton Eskimos…sheesh…some reward that is.
Anyway, this will be the 3rd start for Jeff Matthews who showed some improvement (albeit against the Green and White) in his last outing.  Matthews actually finds himself in a spot similar to what Jennings (in BC) is in this week, where he’ll be up against a D that is aggressive and will throw a ton of different looks at the young QB.
Don’t sleep on this game, even though it falls on an NFL Sunday, because it’s got the makings of a physical pride fight.  I’ll go out on a limb and say that Montreal gets it done with a good defensive outing, and maybe some help from their Special Teams unit.
Pick: Montreal

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