Who is ready for another week of intense battles for playoff positioning in the west? I know I am. The last two games of week 15 were great games that came right down to the wire. I expect more of the same as the playoff race is only getting tighter. Last week I went 4-0 to bring my straight-up record to 34-19 on the season. Week 16 brings a few more games with large playoff implications. Let’s take a look at how I see the week playing out.
(3-9) Toronto Argonauts @ (10-2) Calgary Stampeders Friday 9:00pm ET
The Argos are coming off of a tough 30-29 loss to the Roughriders last week. They had a chance to win with a 51-yard field goal but it went wide. If Toronto wants to sneak into the playoffs they are going to have to basically win out and that starts with beating the league’s best team on the road. Mcleod Bethel-Thompson has come crashing back down to earth after a few good starts and in my opinion, it’s time to give James Franklin another shot. If they want a win against Calgary on Friday the offense is going to have to play way better than they have the past few weeks. For Calgary, they are coming off of a bye. The Stamps need to stay focused on this game and not look ahead. It would be easy to get distracted with Toronto and Montreal being their next two opponents. If that happens they could find themselves in the loss column this week. Toronto will be desperate for a win and won’t roll over easily. Calgary has quite a few injury issues but the bye week sounds like it has helped a few players get healthy so there should be no excuses.
Prediction: Stampeders win 39-27
(6-6) B.C. Lions @ (6-7) Hamilton Tiger-Cats Saturday 4:00pm ET
This is a rematch from last week that saw the Lions claw back to win in overtime in a battle of the cats. The Lions now go on the road to try and get over .500. With Winnipeg struggling and playing Edmonton this week B.C. could really take a stranglehold on the crossover spot with a win this week. B.C. traded for bruising running back Tyrell Sutton this week and he will be a huge addition to the Lions run game that already has some dynamic backs. The Lions offense will be in the hands of Jonathon Jennings for the foreseeable future. I’ve stated many times that I do not trust him as a starting QB, but with a strong running game, he might be able to make some plays. For Hamilton this is a must-win game. They are two games behind Ottawa for first in the east and if they want to host the east final they have to win this weekend. Jeremiah Masoli has been doing enough to win this season but injuries and untimely plays have cost the Tiger-Cats. This week they have to buckle down and win at home. Plain and simple. I expect this to be the best game of week 16 but I see the Lions three-game winning streak coming to an end.
(6-7) Winnipeg Blue Bombers @ (7-6) Edmonton Eskimos Saturday 7:00pm ET
This is another HUGE game. The Bombers got back in the win column last week against Montreal but this will be the real test to see if the Bombers can get it back together. Winnipeg has struggled at the QB position lately and there is some unrest among fans. If Matt Nichols loses this week Chris Streveler needs to be the starting QB in week 17 against Ottawa. This is Nichols last chance in my opinion. This is easily the biggest game of the year for Winnipeg and they need their leader to step up. Andrew Harris is a little nicked up so they will need to rely on the passing game and the running backs behind Harris to keep him fresh and healthy going into the final third of the season. If the Bombers are going to win it will have to be by comity this week. For Edmonton, they got beaten down by Ottawa in a game that they really would have liked to win. The Roughriders are once again a game ahead of them in the race for second in the west and they play Montreal this week so barring another huge stinker from the Riders they will win. So, expecting a Rider win, Edmonton needs this win or risks going two games behind Saskatchewan. I expect Mike Reilly to have his team ready for a fight this week against Winnipeg and I also expect him to have the offense playing better than they did last week.
Prediction: Eskimos win 37-34
(8-5) Saskatchewan Roughriders @ (3-10) Montreal Alouettes Sunday 1:00pm ET
The Riders are in Montreal after squeaking out a 30-29 win against Toronto last week. They have to be better this week against Montreal because they were lucky to come away with a win. The offense looked good in the first half but then scored just six points in half number two. A half of good offense is a step in the right direction because everyone knows they have been brutal lately. This week they will look to put a full game together against the Alouettes. Montreal got their first win against Saskatchewan this season so the Riders will be looking for revenge. For Montreal, they will just continue to hope Johnny Manziel breaks out. He looked alright in his first start since coming back from injury last week against Winnipeg but he threw a costly interception that ultimately sealed the game. What the Als should look for against Saskatchewan this week is to gel better on offense and hope the defense keeps them in it long enough to give them a shot.
Prediction: Roughriders win 29-22
What a week we have in store this week in the CFL. Two huge games and two others where the East’s bottom teams will try and play spoiler against the West’s top teams. Hamilton hosting B.C. and Winnipeg in Edmonton should be absolute dogfights as the teams look to either get back in the playoff race or jockey for position as the season winds down. This could be the best week of CFL action so far in my opinion. I can’t wait. Thanks for reading!