Wednesday, June 22, 2016
CFL THIS WEEK PRESENTED BY DRAFT KINGS
THURSDAY 5:30 PM
Jeremiah Masoli and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats look to spoil the party Thursday night.
The Ticats visit arch-rival Toronto in the first CFL regular-season game at BMO Field. The two teams met their during the pre-season with the Argos prevailing 25-16.
Masoli will get the start at quarterback for Hamilton as incumbent Zach Collaros continues to recover from season-ending knee surgery. Masoli led the Ticats in their two playoff games last year, including a 25-22 victory over Toronto in the East Division semifinal.
Toronto will have its offensive leader under centre. Veteran Ricky Ray returns healthy after missing most of last year recovering from off-season shoulder surgery.
The contest is expected to attract a sellout at BMO Field, which has a seating capacity of about 28,000 for football. Toronto relocated to the outdoor facility after playing the last 27 seasons at the Rogers Centre, which holds over 52,000 but fans have long complained about the lack of atmosphere and intimacy at the cavernous domed facility.
Veteran slotback Chad Owens will make his Hamilton debut. The speedy receiver-kick returner spent six seasons in Toronto and helped the Argos win the 100th Grey Cup game in 2012 at Rogers Centre after being named the CFL outstanding player that year.
Toronto gets a slight edge based upon home-field advantage.
Prediction - Toronto
MONTREAL at WINNIPEG, FRIDAY 6:30 PM
Winnipeg hosts a meeting between two teams that both missed the CFL playoffs last season. Quarterback Drew Willy returns under centre for the Bombers after suffering a season-ending knee injury last year. GM Kyle Walters was very busy in free agency, adding the likes of home-town running back Andrew Harris, receiver Weston Dressler, defensive linemen Keith Shologan and Euclid Cummings and kicker-punter Justin Medlock. The return of receiver Duron Carter was huge news in Montreal, giving veteran quarterback Kevin Glenn another big-play receiver to complement veteran S.J Green.
Prediction - Winnipeg
OTTAWA at EDMONTON, SATURDAY 5:00 PM
A Grey Cup rematch in Edmonton as the home team faces the squad it beat 26-20 in Winnipeg. Jason Maas, Ottawa's offensive co-ordinator last year, is now the head coach of the Eskimos. He will have Mike Reilly as his starter. Reilly led the Esks to 10 straight wins to finish last season. Henry Burris, the outstanding player in the CFL last year, leads the offence for Ottawa and has four 1,000-yard receivers at his disposal. However, the Redblacks will be minus defensive stalwarts Shologan and defensive end Justin Capiccotti and defensive back Jovon Johnson, who all left in free agency.
Prediction - Edmonton
CALGARY at B.C., SATURDAY 8:00 PM
At Calgary, Wally Buono marks his return as B.C.'s head coach following a five-year absence. Buono last coached in 2011 but relinquished sideline duties after leading the Lions to a Grey Cup title to concentrate on his front-office responsibilities. But he assumed the coaching job after Jeff Tedford resigned after posting a 7-11 record last season. Dave Dickenson, who played quarterback for Buono in B.C., makes his head-coaching debut with Calgary after serving as the club's offensive co-ordinator. Bo Levi Mitchell returns under centre with Canadian Jerome Messam replacing the retired Jon Cornish in the backfield.
Prediction - Calgary
(Canadian Press/Dan Ralph)