Tuesday, 19 July 2016




Well folks, the goal has been to improve with every time out, and in WEEK 4 we FINALLY registered our first 4-0 week!  What the hell is with all the Visiting Teams winning games?!?!?
One can expect to see some of these squads starting to improve in their trouble spots now that all 9 teams have gotten their feet under themselves, and I think that will make for some potential surprises over the next few weeks.  Let’s hope that rings true in #RIDERNATION!

Without delay, in an effort to help your water cooler conversations and smoke breaks, here are YOUR CJ Evans Home Designs CFL Picks for Week 5!

Calgary @ Winnipeg
Well if we’re going with the trend of every home team LOSING in their own yard, this one seems like a sure deal!  One should be careful writing off the Bombers immediately here though. 

With Calgary coming off of a bye week and having partied at the annual STAMPEDE for a few days, Dave Dickenson’s squad may be at risk of stumbling out of the gate.  A slow Calgary start may be just what Drew Willy and the Bombers need to grab momentum early.  At this point, Winter-Peg will take any advantage they can get. 

One may expect Calgary Defensive Coordinator Devon Claybrooks to come with some substantial pressure in this game knowing that Winnipeg has had trouble keeping Drew Willy clean.  The Bombers have allowed 13 QB sacks thus far in the 2016 and the inability to keep Willy protected has surely contributed to the fact that the Bombers sit 3rd in the league in Offensive Turnovers.  That’s not to say that Winnipeg needs to be afraid of the Stamps D, the Stumps are near the bottom of the league in every statistical defensive category aside from Points allowed (they’ve had the luxury of a bye).

The bottom line here is that the Winnipeg Offence needs to score TDs!!!  At the very least, Paul Lapolice’s crew needs to extend drives!  The Winnipeg Defence is a good one, but their abilities fade in the stretch if they are continually asked to “get back out there” after consistent 2-and-Outs from their O.

Hopefully the Bombers can jump out early and force Calgary to play from behind, however I picked against Bo Levi-Mitchell in the first go-round involving these two squads, and I won’t do it again.

Pick:  The stinking STAMPS…Shout out to Mike Labinjo!

Hamilton @ Edmonton

Word on the street is that Zach Collaros is CLOSER but not ready quite yet.  ADVANTAGE: Edmonton.
It’s one thing for the TiCats Defence to absolutely BALL OUT against an undermanned Montreal Alouette squad, but this is a far more developed offensive unit that the Tabbies are up against going into Commonwealth Stadium.

Having said that I actually like the chances of Jeremiah Masoli being ability to make throws from an unimpeded pocket during this game unless the Esks DC Mike Benevides continues to tinker with his strategy; however, throwing from an unimpeded pocket may also mean a higher likelihood of interceptions from Masoli as well.

It’s hard to ignore the three headed monster that continues to develop under Jason Maas in Edmonton (Bowman, White, and Walker).  It seems that with every passing week, Maas has figured out a few more ways to get the most production out of this immensely talented group. 

The scary part of this whole deal is that Cory Watson seems to have found the “key to health” and has become an x-factor that really spreads out a defensive secondary.

Right now it looks as though the Hamilton TiCats need an outstanding return game from Brandon Banks every contest, and for their Defence to be absolutely lights out, because they’re really struggling with consistency on the Offensive side of the ball.  Montreal managed to subtract Andy Fantuz from last games equation and it exposed Hamilton’s limitations in that phase.

Pick:  The Reigning and Defending Grey Cup Champion Edmonton Eskimos

Montreal @ Toronto

I heard that Kevin Glenn is practising!  Then I heard that the Alouettes haven’t decided on what the plans at QB are (at least up to now on Tuesday afternoon).  How rude…don’t they know that we’re trying to do a pick-em here?!? #WTF

Anyway, this game’s being played on a Monday and I have absolutely NO DOUBT in my mind that the crowd at BMO Field is going to be talked about far too much already.  Therefore, I won’t speak on the fact that it’s unfortunate that the schedulers of the CFL haven’t really given an EXCLUSIVE opportunity for people around the city to “fall in love” with the ARGOS as yet.  New field aside, everyone in Ontario are relatively snobby (including me) when it comes to certain events. 

Unfortunately, the Argos have always seemed to fall into that category.  Even the “TAILGATING” factor is going to become faux pas should the Argos continue to play in dumb time slots and lose. 
One home game at the beginning of 2016 and then scheduling the ARGOS to disappear into the WEST with night games that started at 10pm Eastern time, for 2 straight weeks, wasn’t a ringing endorsement for the squad when they returned to play in WEEK 4 during the early afternoon while everyone was still stuck on the 401 coming home from work.

I also won’t make light of the fact that another 530pm game during rush hour on the 401, 427, and the QEW makes it difficult for anyone to commit to the CFL unless they can catch a glimpse of the action from the bend that overlooks BMO field on the 427! 

I’m picking the Argos here.  Although I was never a fan of the CFL growing up, and only knew about the Argos because John Candy and Bruce McNall were part owners, it’s time I throw them some support!  I’m going to find a Ricky Foley Jersey, and cheer hard as hell for my former OVFL teammate Andre Durie (SLICK).  Shout out to Wayne Smith, my brother from another mother who keeps punching back at Father Time…Go ARGOS God Dammit!!!

Pick: Argos…Analyst Hat completely thrown out the window.

Ottawa @ Saskatchewan

While filming our CHALK TALK segment for Riderville.com this morning, Dan Plaster referred to the Ottawa RedBlacks Offence as the CFLs version of the “St. Louis Rams, Greatest Show on Turf” team.
With a deep sigh, unfortunately one may not be able argue with him.  The RedBlacks own the Total Yards, Passing Yards, and Passing TDs stat categories, and currently sit 2nd in rushing yards.  To hammer home Plaster’s point, Ottawa isn’t close to the top of the league in terms of possession time which speaks more to their ability to score quickly as opposed to consistently going two-and-out.

Many experts may actually look at this game as a “trap game” for the RedBlacks who come in to Riderville against a team that is prone to communication errors and assignment busts on D, and now may be rolling out a re-constructed Oline behind a back-up QB that showed great potential, but doesn’t have a body of work that gives anyone the ability to make a definite assessment.
Having said all of that, I still think that despite being written off by a lot of people already, the Riders still have a shot here.  It’s just going to take them playing a close-to perfect game for the first time this year but from a locker room standpoint there should be plenty of confidence. 
First off the RedBlacks, just like the Riders are one injury away from a severe shift in execution.  I’m not suggesting that the Riders play this game with an intent to “take out” guys, but it’s the reality of every football contest.  That’s the uncontrollable. 

The controllable factors are favourable.  I’ve stated this before but the Ottawa Defence is capable of giving up just as many points as their Offence can score which is illustrated by the games that the RedBlacks have played in already.  A last possession game against Edmonton, a shootout that resulted in a tie against Calgary, and win that they had to scratch tooth and nail for against the Toronto Argonauts.  This team hasn’t been blowing anyone out folks! 
If the Roughrider O can manufacture lengthy drives that result in TDs, that’s as good a Defence as any.  Keep Trevor Harris and Co. off the field as much as possible. 

When the RedBlacks Offensive Weapons do hit the field, diligent film work will help the Green and White defenders understand that their quick-hitting plays to the sidelines are setting up their big-play throws that they look to catch teams napping with.  Another must on Friday is the need to play PHYSICAL with the RedBlack receivers when they’re looking to throw blocks.  This is a receiving core that has become very good at clearing space for their ball carriers, and Ottawa has gotten a ton of YAC (yards after catch) because of their commitment to block for their teammates.

This may only seem like one or two anecdotes against a team that can beat you in a few ways however sometimes that’s the name of the game; taking away a team’s ability in one or two areas and letting the dice fly elsewhere.

Over the past two games, fans have really gotten to see a team with two-faces…the first face is a team that features outstanding athletic ability and competitiveness that gives them a chance in any competition.  The other face of this 2016 Roughrider squad is a team (coaching staff and players) that shoots themselves in the foot far too many times to have a legitimate shot at winning ball games.

Friday’s competition depends on which Rider team shows up, and more importantly, at what time?

Pick: With reluctance, the Ottawa RedBlacks.  This may be closer than some of you may think.

1 comment:

  1. Terrific analysis!! Great job Luc.
    Larry S.