This week's theme is DON`T SLEEP on anyone. This isn't a cop out when I say that all of these games could go either way but after watching all but one of these squads play during the first week of CFL action, it's going to be really interesting to see how some of the `games within the games' play out.
We went 0-4 last week, which isn't too concerning considering the stage of the season that we all find ourselves in. As long as we keep improving and focusing on the right things, I`m pretty confident in our ability to help all of you guys in your betting pools and other football conversations.
It's a MARATHON, not a sprint. And at the very least, it's great talking ball with all of you!
As always, our CFL PICK-EM is brought to you by our good partners at CJ Evans Home Designs. Let`s get into the 2nd Week of Canadian Football League action!
OTTAWA @ MONTREAL
This one is the 1st of 4 tough games to pick. We made a big deal of the RedBlack QBs doing a number on the Eskimo’s defence last week, however this is a totally different animal (no pun intended) waiting for them at McGill Stadium.
Noel Thorpe presents a far more aggressive scheme upfront than what Ottawa saw against Edmonton, and the Montreal DC is also able to benefit from a veteran secondary that seemed like they were in mid-season form as they dispatched of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in their first week.
Against the Alouettes D that is solid against the RUN and Pass, communication is key for the RedBlacks tonight. Montreal can get sacks and pressures in a couple of different ways. They may throw a ton of looks, stunts and twists at the Oline in order to get bodies to the QB, or they can just line up and beat guys 1 on 1.
In order for Trevor Harris to continue to build on his solid Wk 1 outing, they’ll have to give him time to make throws. There’s too many talented players roaming around in that Angry Bird secondary to rush passes blindly.
As for the Montreal O? They may stack up nicer against the RedBlack Defence than some may think, ESPECIALLY upfront. There may be a good opportunity to control the ball on the ground and with some quick passes. Let’s not forget that this is an Ottawa D that gave up more that 440 yards of Offence last week.
McGill Stadium is always a tough place to play for any team. There’s a ton of vets on either side of the ball in La Belle Province that are winners that are pretty tired of being losers.
This may be a prefect week to make a statement.
Pick: Les Alouettes
TORONTO @ SASKATCHEWAN
When I mentioned the “games within the game” at the top of this column, this was the battle that pops in to mind first.
Through my analyst work that have the opportunity to do for riderville.com and Harvard Broadcasting I’ve talked a lot about the Saskatchewan Roughriders Oline, and how early on this team will go as far as this experienced group will take them. Well, after watching the Argos game against the TiCats, it’s clear that the Green and White’s Oline has a really good chance to come out and dominate their opponent physically, which in turn will give them all the ability to move the ball that they’ll need.
The problem I see with that train of thought, as it relates to this game, is that for as much as our Oline may dictate things against the TO Dline; the Toronto Offensive Line may have that same ability against the Roughrider front 4!
The Guard-Centre-Guard combo of the Double Blue seem to match up well vs. the Rider interior Dlinemen. Jonathon Williams hasn’t played a ton of downs this year and Corvey Irvin is about to see the first CFL game action of his young career.
On the outside, it doesn’t get much better in the Eastern Conference than Josh Bourke and Chris Van Zeyl, so Capiccioti, along with newcomers Jonathon Newsome and A.C Leonard, and Shawn Lemon are going to have to be at their best.
What may have made this game an even closer match-up was the signing of Brandon McDonald and Buddy Jackson. It was clear that in the Riders last outing against the Esks that the field-side halfback spot may need some tweaking and with Ed Gainey out, the Riders have the benefit of experience going into tonight’s tilt.
I’m going to go with the visiting Toronto Argonauts here. They’ve had the benefit of actually playing in the first week, and the jury is out on what the COMMUNICATION is going to be like across the board for the Riders D.
Hopefully I’m wrong here because I think that if this was any other week the Riders win this handily. There’s too much that could potentially affect this game from the Green and White’s side right now that doesn’t have to do with overall talent.
Pick: Toronto…hopefully it’s just my natural paranoia that’s in play here.
BC @ HAMILTON
It’s tough to win in the Donut Box, or whatever the hell they’re calling it now, and I think that the Lions are going to be a team that goes through some hardships early on in the season with their personnel and schemes. That shouldn’t scare any Lions fans either. This is the same Wally Buono who’s team went 1-7 to start the 2011 season and ended up winning the cup. It’s simply a matter of stages of development.
Not only is this an aggressive Defence that BC has to deal with, but the Hamilton Special Teams Units are consistently at the top of the league with their ability to score and dictate field position. They’re impressive to watch.
Teams have to win 2 out of the 3 phases of the game (O, D, & STs) and we say this consistently here on Pro Perspective. Hamilton has the edge in all three phases right now, and that means that BC will have to play mistake free football and score TDs every time they’re near the score zone. They won’t make it if they’re kicking Field Goals all game.
Anything can happen in the CFL, and we all know that teams are one injury away from going from sugar to sh*t! The Lions have the talent to keep it close but I’d anticipate the TiCats to pull this thing out at the end.
Pick: The Steel City that is Hamilton
WINNIPEG @ CALGARY
Can the Calgary Stampeders really start off a regular season going 2-0???
That thought would be unfathomable in past years, however after watching BC close the Stamps out in Week 1, it’s a very real possibility.
I’ve been going back and forth on this one all day and as I write this final prediction, I still don’t know how it will end.
There’s so many question marks on both sides of this game!
On one hand, we’ve got the Bombers that looked pedestrian at times on Offence, and porous on D, and in Calgary, fans were left wondering where the Stampeders team of old is? There didn’t seem to be any motivation to establish the line of scrimmage that the STUMPS have become renowned for. Hufnagel moving up to the box couldn’t have affected their scheme that much could it?!?
Let’s go with Winnipeg here. I stated on the radio this week that not having Weston Dressler as an option for Paul LaPolice may be a blessing in disguise. It forces Lapo to utilize his other weapons and find out about the players he may not know as much about. I’d expect Andrew Harris’ touches to go way up!
I’m also confident that there’s no way Drew Willy is going to come out and NOT play better than he did in the first game of the year. There’s no way the franchise QB who has wanted to be paid as one of the top tier QBs in the league doesn’t bounce back right?!?
The toss up goes to Winnipeg. Calgary’s got Bo Levi-Mitchell which makes it hard to ever pick against them, but until the Stamps come out and use Mess and Harrison the way they should and pound the Line of Scrimmage. I can’t see their Defence holding up over the course of 4 quarters.
See you again next week folks…Hopefully we’ll be 4-4!!!