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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

RIDERS ADD TWO STAR CANADIAN DB'S

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have agreed to terms with Canadian defensive back Marc-Olivier Brouillette, 3DownNation confirms and CKRM’s Rod Pedersen reported first.

Brouillette retired on the eve of training camp – he has a law degree and was pursuing a legal career. When Mike Edem got injured against Hamilton last week, the Riders called and brought the 31-year-old out of retirement.

The Roughriders originally signed Brouillette as a free agent in February, hoping he could serve as a starter at safety.

Drafted 23rd overall by Montreal in the 2010 CFL Draft, the 31-year-old Brouillette has played in 102 games and made 64 starts in his seven seasons with the Alouettes. He started all 18 games last season making 33 defensive tackles, three special teams tackles and registering one interception while being named an East all-star.

Meanwhile Canadian defensive back Elie Bouka has also agreed to terms with the Roughriders, per sources.

Saskatchewan drafted the 25-year-old in the third-round, 24th overall in the 2016 CFL draft.

Bouka was initially signed by Arizona as an undrafted NFL free agent in 2016, even though he was on the mend from a torn Achilles which kept him from playing in his final year at the University of Calgary. That’s the only reason why he slid down the CFL draft board.

A hamstring setback landed the cover man on injured reserve for the entire NFL season last year with the Cardinals, he made a full salary. Arizona released Bouka with an injury settlement early in 2017 training camp after he suffered an ankle setback.

The ultra-athletic defender is fully healthy now. He worked out for three NFL teams, the New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants recently.

Bouka possesses special traits and should be able to start soon for the Riders at defensive back.

www.3DownNation.com

BRIDGE HOPING TO RAISE AWARENESS FOR CANADIAN QBS

Canadian Press
The Saskatchewan Roughriders don't return to the practice field until Wednesday so until then, quarterback Brandon Bridge is still basking in the glow of Friday's 27-19 win at Hamilton.

In the triumph, Bridge became the first Canadian quarterback in over 30 years to throw for three touchdowns in a game.

"Physically I feel pretty fine," the Mississauga, ON product told 620 CKRM's SportsCage on Monday. "To finally get hit in a game felt pretty good. Mentally I'm perfectly fine. I opened up some doors and some eyes of people around the league that Canada can produce quarterbacks."

The Riders suffered a rash of injuries in the win over the Ticats, and starting quarterback Kevin Glenn never saw the field at all due to a hand injury. That led to Bridge's second career start, but now he's not sure what to expect when the club hits the field for Day 1 of their work week. Sunday the Riders host the CFL-leading Calgary Stampeders (2:00 pm, TSN, 620 CKRM Rider Radio Network).

"Honestly, it's going out to grind," Bridge said of Wednesday's practice. "Obviously this is a big game. It would be a good win to have. I'll approach this week like every other week; like I'm a starter. I'm ready to go if my number gets called again but I saw Kevin Glenn throwing today and he was throwing better. We got a week so I'm sure K.G. will go in there and light it up and get us a W."

Bridge is clearly proud of his Canadian passport, even if CFL rules stipulate that quarterbacks don't affect the ratio. Teams are mandated to start a minimum of seven Canadians in each game, but that doesn't extend to the quarterback position.

"I truly think that should be addressed," Bridge said thoughtfully. "That should be talked about this off-season. They should only call me a Canadian QB if I count against the ratio. Otherwise I should just be called a quarterback. At the end of the day I don't get to represent my own flag. I'm already seen as an American on the roster sheet and I actually think it would open up a lot of doors and would be great for teams if a starting Canadian QB could open up another roster spot for an American somewhere else. But as it is now, I'm not considered a Canadian."

Bridge realizes the current CFL rules are a conundrum. Starting-calibre Canadian quarterbacks have been a rarity in the league for decades.

"I don't want a team to put me out there just because I'd help the ratio," Bridge scoffed. "It's a double-edged sword. I want to be put out there because I'm the best guy for that job. But I really want to raise awareness for Canadians at that position. This would add a lot of value for us."

Bridge has quickly become the poster boy for Canadian quarterbacks which is an opportunity he relishes. And the more he's in the national spotlight, the more he'll be called upon to address questions like whether he'd encourage young Canadian quarterbacks to play NCAA football like he did with much success.

"I'd tell someone to go somewhere that you're going to be happy, number one," said the South Alabama product. "In your college days you really want to be able to enjoy waking up each day to the grind, no matter if it's on the Stateside or in Canada. For me, I would highly recommend to go down south. That's 100%. The coaching and the competition helped me out so much."

NOTES: The Roughriders practice Wednesday at 11:00 am ... No updates on the nine players injured in Hamilton - nor on QB Kevin Glenn - will be issued until after the workout ... There are still tickets left for Friday's Plaza of Honor induction ceremoney at Mosaic Stadium. You can buy your tickets at Riderville.com, 1-888-4-RIDERS or the Mosaic Stadium box office ... This year's inductees are Wes Cates and Roger Brandvold.

RP
@rodpedersen

THE POINT AFTER: WEEK 14

Marcel Desjardins was breathing a little sigh of relief Monday.

The Ottawa Redblacks general manager said quarterback Drew Tate is listed as week-to-week with an arm-shoulder injury sustained in last weekend's 29-11 win over the Montreal Alouettes. Tate underwent testing Monday, and Desjardins said while it's unlikely Tate will play Friday night in Winnipeg, he wouldn't rule it out.

"There's a chance he could play this week,'' Desjardins said. "I'd say no, especially when it's a short week, but you never know.''

Tate left in the second quarter after being hit by defensive back Dondre Wright. He stood on the sidelined in the second half with his right arm in a sling.

Tate was starting in place of incumbent Trevor Harris, who suffered a shoulder injury in Ottawa's 26-22 loss to Hamilton on Sept. 9. Tate finished the game 21-of-29 passing for 185 yards with a touchdown and interception. Third-stringer Ryan Lindley replaced Tate and completed 7-of-14 passes for 76 yards and an interception.

Although Lindley, 28, is in his first CFL season, he played collegiately at San Diego State and in the NFL with Arizona (twice), San Diego, New England and Indianapolis before joining the Redblacks.

"He (Lindley) doesn't have to be the guy who does everything,'' Desjardins said. "He just needs to be the guy who distributes the ball and lets the other players make plays.''

If Lindley starts Friday night, Danny Collins will be his backup. Desjardins said he won't be looking for a third quarterback this week.

Ottawa (5-7-1) currently sits atop the East Division, one point ahead of the Toronto Argonauts (5-7-0). The Redblacks will play their next four games versus West Division opponents before finishing the regular season facing Hamilton on Nov. 3.

Toronto, which has captured the season series with Ottawa, faces Montreal and Hamilton next before finishing its regular season against Saskatchewan, Edmonton, Winnipeg and B.C. East Division teams are just 4-21-1 versus their Western rivals this year.

While not pleased with his club's record, Desjardins said the Redblacks are in a good position within the weak East Division.

"Considering that we've been inconsistent and the record reflects that, we're still in a pretty good place,'' he said. "These games down the stretch obviously mean a lot in terms of who's going to finish first and second and even beyond that.''

---

HISTORIC WIN: Brandon Bridge understands the historical significance of his role Friday in the Saskatchewan Roughriders' 27-19 road win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

The 25-year-old native of Mississauga, Ont., completed 21-of-31 passes for 231 yards and three TDs to become the first Canadian to start and win a CFL regular-season game since Greg Vavra led the Calgary Stampeders past the Toronto Argonauts 28-17 on Oct. 14, 1985. The three-touchdown performance was the first for a Canuck quarterback since Vavra accomplished the feat in 1984.

"I'm trying to open up doors for the younger generation that is a Canadian and actually wants to play quarterback,'' said Bridge. "I'm just trying to open up that door.

"I'm trying to lay that first stone so it's an easier path for them.''

Bridge made just his second career start after incumbent Kevin Glenn couldn't play due to a hand injury. Bridge and Stampeders backup Andrew Buckley, a Calgary native, are the CFL's only two Canadian-born quarterbacks.

Bridge's first start came in 2015 while with the Montreal Alouettes. He is in his third CFL season and second with the Riders.

The six-foot-five, 230-pound Bridge certainly has shown a flare for the dramatic. After throwing a TD pass in Hamilton, Bridge ran downfield rubbing his fingers together copying former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel's money gesture to the crowd.

The week before, Bridge launched himself into the stands at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg after scoring a rushing TD.

"It was planned with the group of receivers,'' Bridge said. "We always plan our celebrations throughout the week and what we want to do.

"I actually know Johnny. I went to Manning camp with him two years in a row when I was in college. He's actually a good guy.''

---

FANTUZ RE-JOINS TICATS: The Hamilton Tiger-Cats added veteran slotback Andy Fantuz to the practice roster Monday.

Fantuz, 33, has spent the last four months as Hamilton's co-ordinator of player development while recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered late last season. The Chatham, Ont., native was a finalist as the CFL's top Canadian last year after recording 101 catches for 1,059 yards and five TDs.

Fantuz has appeared in 145 career CFL games with Saskatchewan (2006-11) and Hamilton (2012-present), having recorded 631 catches for 8,308 yards and 44 TDs. Fantuz was the CFL's top Canadian in 2010 and won a Grey Cup in '07 with the Riders.

---

POINT AFTER: Calgary's 27-13 win over B.C. on Saturday was its 16th straight at home and eighth consecutive overall. Since 2013, the Stampeders are 38-4 at McMahon Stadium . . . Toronto ran for a season-high 231 yards in its 34-26 home win over Edmonton on Saturday, its first over a West Division team this year. James Wilder Jr. rushed for 190 yards and a TD on 11 carries in the Argos' first game since Jonathan Himebauch's return as offensive-line coach . . . It will be interesting to see if Hamilton coach June Jones sticks with Jeremiah Masoli at quarterback Friday night against the B.C. Lions or goes back to Zach Collaros. Masoli led the Ticats to their first two wins of the year replacing Collaros before their 27-19 home loss to Saskatchewan. But Masoli was just 60-of-112 passing (53.6 per cent) for 778 yards with two TDs and three picks in his three starts.

(Canadian Press)

Monday, September 18, 2017

OUT OF THE TUNNEL


THE QB EDITION

With injuries, poor play, and articles on future Canadian quarterbacks, it seems like a good time for a quarterback edition of Out of the Tunnel.

We’ll begin in Hamilton where a pair of backups faced off with Brandon Bridge and the Riders grinding out a 27-19 win over Jeremiah Masoli and the Ti-Cats on Friday.

It was a tale of two halves for Bridge in his first start for Saskatchewan in place of the injured Kevin Glenn. The first half was a lights-out performance, going 16/21 for 178 yards and two touchdowns, putting the Green and White up 20-10 at the half.

In the second half the Mississauga, ON product was a very pedestrian 5/10 for 53 yards and one touchdown. Bridge was sacked twice and seven of the eight second half drives were two-and-outs.

In the end, the third year quarterback out of South Alabama did what he had to do for the victory and, with that win, the Riders took over fourth in the West Division and a potential playoff spot.

There are a couple ways to look at this Rider victory:

1) Is this a great team building its way, grinding out road wins that binds a team even more? Or...

2) With injuries piling up and nearly giving up a huge lead to a struggling Hamilton club, is this a harbinger of things to come?

Next week at Mosaic Stadium will answer some of these questions when the Calgary Stampeders come to town to meet the Riders (2:00 pm, TSN, 620 CKRM Rider Radio Network).

CFL Notes (QB Edition):

- Darian Durant’s time in Montreal is starting to turn dark. He saw the bulk of his coaching staff fired last week, and he followed it up going 0/6 and was sacked twice in the Alouettes 29-11 home loss to the Ottawa Redblacks on Sunday. Drew Willy took over in the second quarter and didn’t fare much better.

The Redblacks started backup Drew Tate in place of an injured Trevor Harris but Tate was crushed near the end of the first half and a well-travelled Ryan Lindley took over in his first CFL action.

- A great ground game won the day for the Toronto Argonauts on Saturday in their 34-26 victory over the Edmonton Eskimos. James Wilder ran for 190 yards on just 11 carries and a touchdown for the Double Blue in the victory, while Mike Reilly was solid in the loss with 323 yards and a pair of scores for Edmonton in their fifth straight loss.

- Jonathan Jennings was intercepted three times by a stout Calgary Stampeder defence in the B.C. Lions 27-13 defeat at McMahon Stadium in Calgary on Saturday night. Bo Levi Mitchell didn’t have to do any heavy lifting for this one with a couple of touchdown passes and no interceptions for the Stamps.

- Heading into Week 14, the QB position will dictate the final seven weeks of the season.

Teams with no questions:
Edmonton - Reilly
Calgary - Mitchell
Winnipeg – Nichols
Toronto – Ray

Teams with question marks:
Saskatchewan – Will Kevin Glenn return to the lineup for a huge West Division showdown against Calgary?
Montreal – Is Drew Willy the new starter over Darian Durant?
Hamilton – Looks like Ti-Cats will ride Jeremiah Masoli the rest of the season over Zach Collaros.
Ottawa – Drew Tate and Trevor Harris look like they will be out for a long stint, so hello Ryan Lindley.
B.C. – Jonathan Jennings has not played well since returning from injury and has taken some big hits. Will we see Alex Ross any time soon?

The Canadian QB Debate

 A pair of great articles by CFL.ca’s Chris O’Leary here heated up the conversation about Canadian quarterbacks and the future of homegrown talent at that position. One focused on a current Canadian CFL quarterback in Brandon Bridge and the other on a potential future CFLer, Noah Picton (University of Regina Rams) and the recent history of Canadian quarterbacks.

Sparking these articles is the success of Brandon Bridge and the Stampeders, Andrew Buckley. Bridge became the first Canadian born quarterback to start and win a game in over 30 years (last one to do so was Greg Vavra for Calgary in 1985) and proved that he belongs in the CFL at quarterback. While Buckley has solidified himself as the backup to Bo Levi Mitchell.

The next crop of Canadian quarterbacks is waiting in the wings, but will they get a shot and are they any better than their American brethren?

There are a lot of roadblocks in the way for U-Sports quarterbacks. Mainly is the quality of play in Canada. While it has improved leaps and bounds in the past 20 years, in the eyes of most CFL scouts, it’s only equivalent to mid-level Division Two play in the U.S.

The skill-set is there at the quarterback spot across the country, but the jump from USports to the CFL is an incredible one. It’s not impossible, it just needs time and patience by CFL teams. Both are usually in limited supply. Which is why young Canadians who have the potential at the high school level, are starting to drift to finishing their prep career in the U.S. before heading to either a junior college or the NCAA.

Justin Dunk had it right. There needs to be an influx of QB specific camps and year-round training (very much like goaltending) before quarterbacking in Canada can get to a consistent level. Only then will you begin to see a few more pivots carrying the flag.

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Canada West Diary

In the only second half points by either team, Sam Varao recovered an Atlee Simon fumble in the end zone to secure the Regina Rams' (2-1) second win of the season 28-18 over the Alberta Golden Bears (0-3) on Saturday. Noah Picton found seven different Ram receivers in his 334-yard passing effort with Mitch Picton catching both touchdown passes.

Michael O’Connor broke out for the first time this season. He had over 400-yards passing and a pair of scores in the Thunderbirds' 31-10 victory over the Saskatchewan Huskies. What may be more impressive is almost 10,000 fans attended Thunderbird Stadium in Vancouver.

The Calgary Dinos continue to flex their Canada West muscles, going on the road and smashing the Manitoba Bisons 76-17. The Dino defence was front and centre again forcing five Bison turnovers and collecting eight sacks.

This Week:
Saturday, September 23rd:
UBC at Alberta (1:00pm)
Manitoba at Regina (2:00pm)
Saskatchewan at Calgary (4:00pm)

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PFC Wrap

The top of the PFC has become a three-horse race. The Edmonton Huskies continue to lead the way with their fifth straight win to begin the season, knocking off their cross-town rival Wildcats 40-7.

Victor St. Pierre Laviolette ran wild over the Winnipeg Rifles on Saturday as the Regina Thunder needed every one of his 214 yards on the ground and two touchdowns for the 29-24 victory. The win upped the Thunder record to 4-1 keeping track with the Saskatoon Hilltops for second in the conference.

The final game of the weekend saw the Hilltops go on the road to Calgary and roll to a 41-9 win.

The top four teams in the PFC will face off against each other this weekend, while the Edmonton Wildcats and Calgary Colts welcome OFC teams to town.

This Week:
Saturday, September 23rd:
Hamilton Hurricanes (OFC) at Edmonton Wildcats (7:00pm)
Sunday, September 24th:
Winnipeg Rifles at Saskatoon Hilltops (1:00pm)
London Beefeaters (OFC) at Calgary Colts (12:00pm)
Regina Thunder at Edmonton Huskies (1:00pm)

Canadian to Watch in the NCAA

Nathan Rourke – QB
Ohio University
6’2” 209lbs.
Hometown – Oakville, Ont.
Class – Soph.

Keeping with the QB edition of Out of the Tunnel, we will focus on Ohio Bobcat, Nathan Rourke. He is one of the examples of QBs heading to the United States to finish high school at a big-time academy. Rourke played high school in Alabama before a conference all-star season at Fort Scott Community College in Kansas.

Rourke is currently in a quarterback rotation with another sophomore, Quinton Maxwell but got the start this past weekend in a 42-30 win over the Kansas Jayhawks.

(By RodPedersen.com Staff)

TICATS SIGN FANTUZ

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats announced Monday that the football club has signed national wide receiver Andy Fantuz to a practice roster agreement. Over the last four months, Fantuz has been serving as the team’s Coordinator of Player Development while rehabilitating a torn ACL suffered on October 28, 2016.

Fantuz, 33, was the East Division’s Most Outstanding Canadian in 2016 after posting 101 receptions for 1,059 yards and five touchdowns in 17 games with the Tiger-Cats. The 6-4, 218-pound receiver became the first player in Tiger-Cats franchise history to record 100 receptions in a single season, surpassing that mark on October 21 at Ottawa. He finished the season ranked fifth in CFL receptions (101) and receiving targets (128) despite missing the final regular season game and playoffs with a torn ACL.

The Chatham, Ontario native has appeared in 145 CFL games with the Saskatchewan Roughriders (2006-11) and Tiger-Cats (2012-16), recording 631 receptions for 8,308 yards and 44 touchdowns. He attended training camp with the NFL’s Chicago Bears in 2011 before returning to the CFL. In 2010, Fantuz was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Canadian, and a CFL and West Division All-Star after catching 87 passes for 1,380 yards and six touchdowns. He has also played in five Grey Cup games, winning one (2007) and being named the game’s Most Outstanding Canadian twice (2007, 2014).

Fantuz was selected by the Riders with the third overall pick in the 2006 CFL Draft after a record-setting CIS career at Western. During his four years with the Mustangs, Fantuz set new CIS and OUA marks for career receiving yards (4,123), single-season receiving yards (1300 in 2002), career receptions (189) and career touchdown receptions (41).  He was the recipient of the Hec Crighton award as the top player in CIS football in 2005.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

REDBLACKS DROP ALOUETTES 29-11

MONTREAL - The Montreal Alouettes had a new head coach on the sidelines but the result on the field didn't change.

General manager Kavis Reed made his Alouettes coaching debut Sunday as Montreal lost 29-11 to the Ottawa Redblacks for their fifth straight defeat.

Reed took over as head coach on Wednesday after firing Jacques Chapdelaine and defensive co-ordinator Noel Thorpe.

"We made mistakes,'' said Reed, who coached the Edmonton Eskimos from 2011 to 2013. "It started with the way I set the team up in terms of the personnel going into the week. I'm culpable for that. When the score reflects this way, it's not going to reflect on the players, it's going to reflect on the coaches.

"Today we were a bad fundamental team.''

Reed's shuffling of Montreal's coaching staff - Anthony Calvillo became the team's offensive co-ordinator and Greg Quick was named defensive co-ordinator - did nothing to boost the struggling team.

Darian Durant started the game at quarterback but was replaced in the second quarter by backup Drew Willy after failing to complete a pass in six tries.

Willy went 12 of 17 for 83 passing yards in relief.

After the game Reed confirmed Durant was still his starting QB. Montreal's next game is against the Toronto Argonauts on Saturday.

Montreal (3-9), which held the ball for just 19 minutes, finished with 151 total yards and eight first downs. Ottawa had 421 yards on offence and 28 first downs in 41 minutes of possession.

"I was flat,'' admitted Durant. "I just didn't get it done. There's no excuse. It was a flat out bad performance. As the leader of this team I can't perform like that.''

It took the Alouettes more than 23 minutes to get a first down.

"I'm trying to get rid of the ball too quickly instead of standing upright and delivering the ball,'' added Durant. "When you rush things and rush your footwork, that's what happens.''

The victory propelled the Redblacks (5-7-1), winners of four of their last five games, into first place in the CFL's East Division.

Quarterback Drew Tate made his first start of the season in relief of Trevor Harris, who separated his right shoulder last week.

Tate went 21 of 29 for 185 passing yards, including one touchdown and an interception, before leaving the game with an injury of his own in the third quarter.

"Initially we thought he had the wind knocked out of him,'' said Redblacks coach Rick Campbell of Tate. "But we really don't know the extent. He doesn't feel right. We're going to get a further evaluation.''

Tate's replacement, Ryan Lindley, made his CFL debut and completed 7-of-14 passes for 76 yards.

It was more of the same for the third-place Alouettes, which have lost their last five games by a combined score of 174-70.

(Canadian Press)

KEN MILLER JOINS ALOUETTES

The Montreal Alouettes announced on Sunday that the club has hired two new coaches who will help the team until the end of the current season. Kit Lathrop will coach the defensive line, while Ken Miller also joins the group as an offensive consultant.

Miller was the head coach and vice president of football operations for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the CFL between 2008 and 2010 where he led his team to two Grey Cup appearances in 2009 and 2010, working closely with quarterback Darian Durant. In August 2011, he returned as the head coach of the Roughriders. Miller was the club's offensive coordinator under head coach Kent Austin when they captured the 95th Grey Cup in 2007. He had previously served on the coaching staffs of the Toronto Argonauts in the CFL from 2002-2006, Dickinson State University in the NAIA, Yucaipa High School and for University of Redlands in the NCAA.

Following a nine-year career in the NFL and USFL, where he won the Super Bowl with the Washington Redskins in 1987, Lathrop enjoyed a 16-year coaching career in the NCAA and the CFL, where he made stops in BC, Ottawa, Edmonton and Toronto. He was the BC Lions defensive line coach when the team captured the 2000 Grey Cup. He also acted as the Ottawa Renegades defensive coordinator in 2003. His arrival will allow Greg Quick to coach the linebackers, all while calling plays on defence.

PRO PICKS: WEEK 2 NFL PICKS FOR 4 SEASONS SPORTS PALACE

No. 32 New York Jets (plus 13 1-2) at No. 6 (tie) Oakland
Thought about 10 seconds before making this ...
BEST BET: RAIDERS, 34-10

No. 23 Washington (plus 2 1-2) at No. 20 Los Angeles Rams
Rams basically had bye vs. Luckless Colts. Redskins more formidable.
UPSET SPECIAL: REDSKINS, 27-16

No. 4 New England (minus 4 1-2) at No. 26 New Orleans
Tom Brady is mad and isn't going to take it anymore.
PATRIOTS, 30-20

No. 3 Dallas (minus 1 1-2) at No. 14 Denver
Solid early season matchup that a true O-line will win. Bengals and Texans should pay attention.
COWBOYS, 17-14

No. 16 Tennessee (minus 1) at No. 19 Jacksonville
Titans have a quarterback, something Texans didn't seem to have against Jaguars.
TITANS, 22-17

No. 29 Cleveland (plus 7 1-2) at No. 12 Baltimore
Can't see Browns winning on road this early, maybe later in season.
RAVENS, 13-7

No. 11 Philadelphia (plus 4 1-2) at No. 2 Kansas City
Two of the NFL's impressive teams in Week 1.
CHIEFS, 23-17

No. 1 Green Bay (plus 3) at No. 5 Atlanta
If Packers win this, stamp them as NFC favourites.
FALCONS, 31-30

No. 9 Minnesota (plus 7) at No. 6 (tie) Pittsburgh
Steelers looked rather blah in their win over Browns. Vikings looked terrific vs. Saints.
STEELERS, 24-20

No. 25 Buffalo (plus 7) at No. 10 Carolina
Don't be fooled by Bills' home win vs. Jets.
PANTHERS, 28-13

No. 22 Arizona (minus 7 1-2) at No. 31 Indianapolis
A shame this game is missing David Johnson and Andrew Luck.
CARDINALS, 24-7

No. 28 Chicago (plus 6) at No. 15 Tampa Bay
Will Bucs be rusty or chomping at the bit? Go with the latter.
BUCCANEERS, 23-13

No. 18 Miami (plus 4) at No. 21 Los Angeles Chargers
Will Dolphins be rusty or chomping at the bit. No matter.
CHARGERS, 28-27

No. 30 San Francisco (plus 12 1-2) at No. 8 Seattle
Seahawks will show some offence this week.
SEAHAWKS, 23-6

No. 13 Detroit (plus 5) at No. 17 New York Giants
Betting on Beckham returning, making huge difference for Giants.
GIANTS, 21-17

___

2017 RECORD:

Season Totals: Against spread (6-9). Straight up: (9-6)

Best Bet: 1-0 against spread, 1-0 straight up.

Upset special: 1-0 against spread, 1-0 straight up

___

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

RAMS TOP GOLDEN BEARS 28-18

Photo: Darren Dupont
REGINA – Mitchell Picton caught two first-half touchdown passes as the No. 6-ranked University of Regina Rams took a 28-18 victory over the Alberta Golden Bears on Saturday afternoon at Mosaic Stadium.

The score stayed 21-12 in favour of the Rams for the entire second half until the final two minutes of the game, when the teams traded touchdowns. Sam Varao jumped on a fumbled ball in the Alberta end zone to put the Rams up by 16 but just four plays later, Golden Bears quarterback/punter Brad Baker found Colby Miller in the end zone with 1:15 still remaining on the clock.

Alberta had a chance to make it a one-score game, but a pass on the ensuing two-point conversion attempt fell incomplete and the Rams took possession after an attempted onside kick to seal the win.

It was the seventh time in Picton’s career that he’s ended up with multiple touchdown catches, and the fifth-year slotback is now tied with Jason Clermont for second on the school’s all-time list with 19. Picton finished with seven catches for 69 yards, while Kyle Moortgat was the game’s leading receiver with career-high totals of 11 catches and 107 receiving yards. Rams quarterback Noah Picton completed 30 of his 42 pass attempts for a total of 334 yards as he moves from eighth all the way up to fifth on Canada West’s all-time passing yardage list. Atlee Simon finished with 15 rushes for 85 yards, the longest of which was on a 23-yard jaunt late in the game that eventually resulted in Varao jumping on the ball in the end zone for his second career touchdown.

Nicholas Dheilly had a sack for the Rams (2-1) and also applied heavy pressure to Baker on a play early in the first quarter which resulted in an intentional grounding call and a safety. Danny Nesbitt and Cole Benkic each had five solo and three assisted tackles, while Nesbitt and Zack McEachern also shared a sack early in the fourth.

The Rams will now prepare for their second consecutive home game with Manitoba (0-3) coming to town next Saturday. Alberta will also be at home next weekend with a game against a UBC team that’s 1-1 heading into Saturday night’s game against Saskatchewan.

NOTES: Saturday’s game was the first as defensive coordinator for Alberta’s Paul Dawson, who had the same role for the Rams from 2001 to 2015 ... Dheilly now has at least a share of a sack in all three of Regina’s games this season.

(Courtesy Braden Konshuh/U of R Athletics)