Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Picking WEEK 7 in the CFL


Last Week: 1-3?!?!
During last week’s pick-em I made note of the fact that all of the games could have gone either way, and 3 out of the 4 games held true to that statement.  Unfortunately, the end results weren’t favourable to our forecasting and sadly (like many weeks this year) the only game we got the Montreal vs. Saskatchewan game correct.
Week 7 also features a slate of games that could go either way and it starts off with an interesting game in Manitoba between the Matt Nichols led Blue Bombers and the head-scratcher that is the Edmonton Eskimos. 
At any rate, we have a lot of fun with this Pick-Em and it’s great to have a partner like CJ Evans Home Designs to present it, because the owner (Christopher Evans) is a die-hard CFL fan like many of you!
Without further ado, here are our Week 7 CFL Picks to add to your water cooler conversations, and coffee shop banter.
Hamilton at Winnipeg
This is the most intriguing match-up of the week.  Two back-up QB’s and two outstanding Defences doing battle in a game both squads REALLY need.
We could make cases for both teams here so this contest follows the same narrative (that we had last week) in that things could go either way.  
If I ever took a ‘push’ in this column it would be here BUT instead of taking the easy way out, I’m going to take Hamilton’s Defence against Matt Nichols over Winnipeg’s Defence against a confident Jeremiah Masoli. 
Player’s have GREAT memories when it comes to teams they have underperformed against.  I would imagine that this game is one that has been circled on the TiCats calendar since they played Winnipeg in Hamilton. 
Pick:  Hamilton TiCats in a redemption game. 
BC at Montreal
I’ve already seen a bunch of “analysis” proclaiming that the Montreal Offence is back on track now that dust has fully settled on the victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders. 
One has to keep last Friday’s victory at McGill Stadium in perspective if one is an Alouette fan!  This opponent that the ALs have on Thursday is a far better team than the one they just beat (Sorry Saskatchewan).  What’s worse is that the Leo’s (behind Wally Buono) probably have a bad taste in their mouths about the game that they let slip away in Calgary and hopefully won’t be that interested in investing a lot of time on St.  Catherine’s street prior to game time.  
Spotlight the Defences in this battle folks.  Both units have solid Dline’s and the LB cores of both squads are up to task as well.
When we look at this competition, one may tilt the scales towards the Orange and Black based on Offensive production over the long-haul of this young season vs. Montreal’s explosion against a struggling Saskatchewan Defence.  Another factor that should be taken into account in this day and age of CFL Football is the QB’ing situation.  If for some reason Kevin Glenn were to go down, so to do the chances of the Angry Bird.  Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that because this game has the potential to be a really good.
Pick: BC…I see the OT loss in Calgary as a hiccup rather than a pre-cursor.
Saskatchewan at Calgary
The one thing that you can’t always count on when traveling to Calgary is that Ridernation is going to create a home game type of atmosphere within McMahon Stadium.  So while Jon Cornish runs up and down the sidelines waving the Stampeders flag, make sure that those of you who attend the game give him his fair share of trash talk!
As for the actual game, despite the amazing comeback last week against BC, I’m still not ready to anoint the Stamps as the best team in the CFL.  As backwards as this may sound, I have BC in my number 1 slot in front of Calgary in the 2 spot.
Either way, I’m going with the Calgary Stampeders in this game.  BC had the blueprint on beating Bo Levi-Mitchell and his crew, and that game plan involved a TON of schemed pressure and hits on the QB.  BC managed to sack Mitchell 4 times which was pretty special when one considers the fact that the Stamps walked into that game allowing a league low 8 QB takedowns.  Mitchell was uncomfortable all night and if it had no been for the BC Offence coming to a complete HALT in the 4th Quarter, the Lions would have walked out of there with a “W”. 
Unfortunately, at this point in the year, the Roughriders are having trouble CONSISTENTLY getting guys in the face of opposing QB’s.  Fans and onlookers should be relatively concerned about BLM having the ability to sit in the pocket and make throws to a loaded receiving core, including a star in the making in Greg Wilson. 
If you are a subscriber to our OFFSIDES podcast, you may have heard the term, “The best Defence is NO Defence…” when it refers to a team’s ability to keep the other team’s offence and QB off the field.  This phrase may apply to the Stamps when we look at this match-up against the Riders...Manufacture some long drives in order to keep Darian Durant and his Offence off the field. 
At any rate, the fact that the Lions didn’t win last weekend’s classic against Clagary speaks to the level of composure and focus that the Stampeders have in their locker room.  From the top down, Calgary brings a workman-like demeanor to the field and they’ve got the personnel that’s willing to play in those close physical punch-for-punch games.  What may be more important is that Calgary has also proven that teams are going to have to earn everything that they get because they’re not going to give much up in the way of discipline issues.  Against BC they committed 4 penalties that cost them a GRAND TOTAL of 29 yards.  The week before in a win over Winnipeg?  6 penalties for 70 yards. 
Saskatchewan gave up 131 yards in penalties in the Montreal game alone.
Hopefully the Face of the Franchise (#4) is back, even though I don’t like him taking snaps behind a re-configured Oline, because he’ll give them a chance.  Unfortunately, this seems like a Calgary team that is primed for a run heading into the 2nd 6-game phase of the season.  They have players that are physically and MENTALLY tough, and the leadership that will prevent the Stamps from taking the Green and White lightly.
Pick:  Calgary.  BTW, this is a rivalry game that fostered some pretty strong hatred for our neighbours next door so I don’t like giving them the edge here.  #ProudAlumni
Edmonton at Ottawa
I’m going to jump off the Edmonton bandwagon until the Defensive talent that wears the Green and Gold starts getting schemed a little bit more effectively. 
Now that Henry Burris has knocked the rust off and learned from a few throws that he would love to have back against the Toronto Argonauts, there could be a potential ‘resurgence’ of the Ottawa Offence that was so entertaining in the first few weeks of the year…especially considering the opponent walking into TD Place.
I would imagine that one of the problems that the Esks face right now is trying to become something they didn’t set out to be in the beginning.  It’s all good to make adjustments, and to commit to playing better defensively, but when it comes down to game time; I think it would be hard to be loyal to a scheme that was born out of necessity…Anyway, that’s my thoughts on the Edmonton Defensive situation and I’m curious to see how they attack the Ottawa RedBlacks O.
Pick:  The RedBlacks in the Nations Capital.

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