Wednesday, August 24, 2016
CFL THIS WEEK PRESENTED BY DRAFTKINGS
It wasn't that long ago Chris Williams was terrorizing CFL defences.
The speedy receiver opened the 2016 CFL season with a bang, registering 25 catches for 493 yards and six TDs in Ottawa's first three games. He and quarterback Trevor Harris developed an immediate chemistry as Harris's first completion as a Redblack was a 71-yard touchdown pass to Williams, who finished that game with eight catches for 176 yards and two touchdowns.
Harris returns under centre for Ottawa (4-3-1) on Thursday night when it hosts the B.C. Lions (5-3).
B.C. comes off a decisive 37-9 home loss to Calgary in what was expected to be a much closer battle between the West Division's top two teams. Jonathon Jennings was just 10-of-22 passing for 153 yards while backup Travis Lulay completed 4-of-7 passes for 19 yards as the Lions failed to scored a TD.
Linebackers Solomon Elimimian (game-high 11 tackles) and Adam Bighill (nine tackles) were solid statistically but the Lions' defence had no answer for Calgary starter Bo Levi Mitchell, who threw for 340 yards and two TDs. However, B.C. is 3-1 on the road this season.
Pick - B.C.
WINNIPEG AT MONTREAL, FRIDAY
Winnipeg (4-4) looks for a fourth straight win under starter Matt Nichols, who has surrendered just one interception since replacing Drew Willy. The defence has been outstanding, forcing 13 turnovers (nine interceptions, three fumbles, once on downs) over the win streak. The Bombers are 0-4 coming off a bye since 2013 but hope instead to register a fourth consecutive victory for the first time since 2011. Montreal (3-5) scored a season-high six touchdowns last week against Ottawa with quarterback Kevin Glenn completing 25-of-30 passes for 382 yards and five TDs. Receiver Duron Carter, barring an arbitrator rejecting his appeal of a one-game suspension before kickoff, will play.
SASKATCHEWAN AT EDMONTON, FRIDAY
Edmonton (4-4) has won two straight, including a solid 46-23 decision last week in Toronto. After opening the game with a pick-six, starter Mike Reilly finished with 362 passing yards and three TDs. Cornerback Pat Watkins had two interceptions for a defence that's playing well of late. And that's not exactly good news for Saskatchewan (1-7), which has lost four straight and is coming off a lopsided 46-point defeat in Hamilton. Starter Darian Durant threw four interceptions against the Ticats while backup Mitchell Gale also had one. Riders head coach/GM Chris Jones faces his former team for the second time as the Eskimos won the first meeting 39-36 on July 8.
Pick - Edmonton
HAMILTON AT CALGARY, SUNDAY
A second straight marquee matchup for league-leading Calgary (7-1-1) after dismantling B.C. last week. Mitchell is second overall in passing (2,534) and tied with Reilly in TD strikes (14) but the Stampeders' defence has allowed just 34 points the last three games. Defensive lineman Charleston Hughes is tied for the league lead in sacks (seven) while kicker Rene Paredes has made 27-of-31 field goals (87.1 per cent). The Stamps (3-0) are also the only team with a winning home record. Hamilton (4-4) throttled Saskatchewan 53-7 last week as Zach Collaros threw for 381 yards and five TDs. Collaros has 712 passing yards and seven TDs since returning to the Ticats.
Pick - Calgary
Last week: 3-1
(Canadian Press/Dan Ralph)