Tuesday, August 30, 2016
CFL THIS WEEK PRESENTED BY DRAFT KINGS
Ricky Ray returns just in time for a crucial stretch for the Toronto Argonauts.
Ray will start Wednesday night when Toronto (4-5) hosts the B.C. Lions (6-3) at BMO Field. Ray missed three starts recovering from a knee injury and the Argos were 1-2 under backup Logan Kilgore.
Ray's return should provide a boost for a Toronto offence that threw nine interceptions during his absence. Ray has had plenty of time to prepare as the Argos play their first game since a 46-23 loss to Edmonton on Aug. 20.
After facing B.C., Toronto will have a home-and-home series with the arch-rival Hamilton Tiger-Cats (4-5). The Argos will visit Tim Hortons Field on Labour Day before hosting the Ticats at BMO Field on Sept. 11.
Ray's return means Toronto will have its offensive leader back for a stretch that will see it play against East Division opponents in four of its next six regular-season games.
First things first, though, as B.C. will present a formidable challenge for Toronto. The Lions are coming off a 29-23 road win over Ottawa on Thursday, their third straight victory over an East Division squad, to improve to 4-1 overall away from B.C. Place Stadium.
Pick - B.C.
OTTAWA AT MONTREAL, THURSDAY
Ottawa (4-4-1) has dropped four of its last five games. Trevor Harris threw for 352 yards and a TD in his return against B.C. and while the Redblacks' defence had six sacks and forced two fumbles, it also allowed 420 net yards _ including 128 rushing. After exploding for six touchdowns in a 43-19 win over Ottawa, Montreal (3-6) managed just two in its 32-18 loss to Winnipeg. Receiver Duron Carter won't play after an arbitrator upheld his a one-game suspension for bumping Ottawa coach Rick Campbell earlier this season.
Pick - Ottawa.
WINNIPEG AT SASKATCHEWAN, SUNDAY
Winnipeg (5-4) has won four straight after last week's 32-18 victory over Montreal. Quarterback Matt Nichols improved to 4-0 since going under centre but again got plenty of help from the defence, which forced six turnovers against the Alouettes. But the Bombers were flagged 13 times for 151 yards in penalties. Saskatchewan (1-8) continues to struggle after losing a 33-25 decision last week to Edmonton. The Riders have lost five straight and been outscored 181-60 over that span.
Pick - Winnipeg
EDMONTON AT CALGARY, MONDAY
Calgary (7-1-1) has won six straight and is riding an eight-game unbeaten streak while Edmonton (5-4) has recorded three consecutive victories. The Stampeders are also 4-0 at McMahon Stadium. Edmonton's Mike Reilly leads the CFL in passing (3,096) and TD strikes (16), just ahead of Calgary's Bo Levi Mitchell (2,857 yards, 15 touchdowns) although Mitchell possesses a CFL-best 35-7-1 career record as a starter. Another factor in the Stamps' favour is kicker Rene Parades, who has made 28 straight field-goal attempts.
Pick - Calgary
TORONTO AT HAMILTON, MONDAY
There's something about playing on the road that agrees with Toronto (4-4), which is 3-0 away from BMO Field. And there's also the matter of redemption as Hamilton (4-5) handed the Argos an emphatic 42-20 loss in the first-ever regular-season game at BMO Field to open the '16 season June 23. And that was with Jeremiah Masoli at quarterback as incumbent Zach Collaros was recovering from season-ending knee surgery. Collaros is back, having thrown for 1,151 yards with 10 TDs and just one interception in his three starts. Hamilton is just 1-2 at Tim Hortons Field but that win was a 53-7 victory against Saskatchewan in Collaros's home debut.
Pick - Hamilton.
Last week: 4-0