Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Picking Week 19 in the CFL

As the second last week of the CFL season opens up, everything that matters is still up for grabs and that’s just the way we want it as fans of this game.  Well…maybe not exactly the way we want it here in Ridernation. 
Speaking of that; now that the Riders have been knocked out of contention, I’m curious to know who the FAN-Favourites are in Riderville to win the Grey Cup.  ME?  I’m pulling for the RedBlacks.  What a story and what a job done by Marcel Desjardins and his coaching staff in the Nation’s Capital.  It’d be the perfect end to a dream season.  I still remember having radio conversations with those closest to the RedBlacks organization who would’ve taken a 4 win season as a small victory.  There was no way that anyone could have imagined that this team would capture our attention the way they have.  It seems that everyone had Ottawa written off, except the RedBlacks themselves.  WHAT A YEAR.
As always, I want to thank you guys for stopping by and continuing to talk ball with us, despite the CRAPPY year hear in Saskatchewan.
With the help of our great partners at CJ Evans Home Designs, here are our Week 19 CFL picks...
BC @ Toronto
Don’t look now but the BC Lions are showing signs of life!  The dismantling of a very good Hamilton TiCats squad was impressive AND BALANCED.  Under their stud rookie QB Jonathon Jennings, not only did Andrew Harris get his touches in, but the Leos also distributed the ball amongst their receiving corps nicely with a few guys registering big plays. 
I like BC in this one for a couple of reasons.  The first being that the Lions are starting to get their pass rush down, ESPECIALLY against QBs that aren’t necessarily comfortable moving around the pocket and extending plays with their legs.  The Lions racked up 5 sacks last week against Jeff Mathews, who isn’t much of a threat with his feet, and now get their shot at the legendary Ricky Ray, who isn’t going to be keen on running out of the pocket after taking what seems to be an eternity off.
The second reason I’ll take British Columbia is that they’re desperately trying to hold off the Montreal Alouettes for that final Western playoff spot, and the Als gets to finish the year against the Riders while the Lions last game is in Calgary…Now is the time, if you’re a player in the BC Lions locker room.  The guys will have done the math in their head all this week, and one NEVER wants to leave fate in someone else’s hands.
Pick: BC
Ottawa @ Hamilton
WHO HIRED THE COMMITTEE, or PERSON, RESPONSIBLE FOR DOING THE CFL SCHEDULE?  It’s a known fact that the division battles, and playoff races usually come down to the final two weeks of the season.  I can’t, for the life of me, figure out why the CFL has two WEEK 19 games scheduled as a double header on NFL SUNDAY.  I get that there are fans that like the CFL way more than the NFL, but that pocket of purists is small compared to the NFL hungry hoards...STOP IT…JUST DON’T DO IT.  You’re not doing yourselves any favours by running alongside big brother.
The thing is that this TiCats vs. RedBlacks game should be a priority in Canada.  It features the incredible journey of an Ottawa Franchise that nobody saw coming, and a team that is up against enormous adversity, but has the coaching staff that just may still get them to the dance.  It’s going to be a great game!
If you’re the RedBlacks, you have to like your chances.  Henry Burris is a valid MOP candidate, you’ve got weapons on both sides of the ball, and Hamilton is losing steam FAST. 
Here’s the thing with the Steel City.  They’ve got a terrific Defense, and unreal Special Teams potential but the problem is that if their offense isn’t clicking the way they need it to, the other two phases are going to be spending a lot more time on the field than they should heading into the most important phase of the year.  Now I have referenced the fact that the saving grace for Hamilton is their coaching staff.  You’ll be hard pressed to find a more complete group.  Austin and Co. should mitigate some of the rough waters that the Tabbies find themselves in, and hopefully put together a scheme and belief that get the TiCats to where they expected to be before Collaros went down.  It’ll be a ton of work, but don’t write the TiCats off completely.
That being said; for this one…
Pick:  Ottawa
Montreal @ Edmonton
The second game of the worst scheduled Double-Header in the world features the Montreal Alouettes and the streaking Eskimos.
Same deal as the BC Lions here if you’re a member of the Angry Birds…ya gotta win to get in…Too bad it’s against a team that just learned the hard way to be ready to compete in every game, even if the opponent is significantly less talented.  We’ve all watched the film, the Saskatchewan Roughriders didn’t GIVE that game away to the Esks…The Esks strong-armed it.  Edmonton looked great in the trenches; especially at the Oline position.  The Hogs there are putting the intent to bury opponents on film consistently.  I spoke with a couple of friends of mine that play in Edmonton after their victory, here in Sask, and you can hear the hunger to win a championship in their words.  Definitely not a team that anyone looks forward to having to seem especially Montreal.
There aren’t too many people that will give the Alouettes a chance in this game.  Although there won’t be too many people tuning in to find out either thanks to the NFL.  The Angry Birds best bet would be to have the Lions lose, and for their playoff hopes to hinder on week 20 where they get Saskatchewan, and BC has to go to Calgary…but that’s just an outsider’s perspective.  Nobody in the Montreal locker room will be looking ahead to the next week, they’re pros.  They’ll go into Commonwealth with every intent to win.  Unfortunately, that’s a really tough ask.
Pick: Edmonton
Saskatchewan @ Calgary
As everyone in Ridernation mills about playing Armchair GM and speculating on who should be doing what, and when they should be doing it, Jerome Messam and his new squad await the Riders in the second last opportunity of the season.  There may be some more changes, and we may see some more of the new guys that we got a glimpse of vs. Edmonton, but there’s no way I could possibly spin this one in Saskatchewan’s favour.  It is what it is…
Pick: Calgary

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