Thursday, October 19, 2017
WEEK 18 CFL PICKS 2017
SASKATCHEWAN AT CALGARY, FRIDAY
(Stampeders favoured by 10 points)
On Friday, the focus turns to football for Duron Carter and the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Carter was at the centre of some drama this week when he and Sam Williams, a defensive back on Saskatchewan's practice roster, were involved in an altercation during practice. When people stepped in to break up the melee, there were reports at least one coach was urging the players to continue fighting.
On Tuesday, head coach/GM Chris Jones predictably downplayed the incident and didn't divulge potential discipline for Williams or Carter. Williams won't play but Carter will see action on both sides of the ball when Saskatchewan visits the Calgary Stampeders.
Carter is Saskatchewan's receiving leader and a big part of the club's offence. But with an abundance of injuries in the secondary, Jones said Thursday Carter will also see action on defence against Calgary.
Carter has never started a game on defence but played defence twice earlier this season.
The contest is an important one for both teams. Calgary (13-1-1) needs a win to clinch top spot in the West Division while Saskatchewan (8-7) stands fourth, two points behind third-place Edmonton (9-6) needing a victory to cement a post-season berth.
The Stampeders have won 11 straight and are 2-0 this season versus Saskatchewan. But the Stampeders looked mortal in Friday night's 28-25 road win over Hamilton, needing a 62-yard pass interference penalty to set up Rene Paredes' 17-yard field goal on the game's final play.
However, the Stampeders are at McMahon Stadium, where they've won 17 straight. Calgary is also a stellar 7-0 within the West Division.
Saskatchewan is 4-4 on the road but 3-5 against West Division competition. The Riders also surrendered a 12-point lead in last weekend's 33-32 home loss to the Ottawa Redblacks.
Calgary nipped Saskatchewan 15-9 in Regina on Sept. 24. Bo Levi Mitchell, last year's CFL MVP, was 24-of-32 passing for 222 yards but Jerome Messam ran for 127 yards on 23 carries (5.5-yard average) while Paredes made all five field goals he attempted.
Saskatchewan's Kevin Glenn was 12-of-19 passing for 127 yards and an interception before giving way to Canadian Brandon Bridge, who completed six-of-seven attempts for 91 yards and a TD. Glenn finished 29-of-39 for 387 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions versus Ottawa.
But the story against Ottawa - outside of Saskatchewan not protecting its lead - was Carter, who had 11 catches for 231 yards. That gave him 72 catches for 1,037 yards, his first-ever 1,000-yard campaign.
And with Naaman Roosevelt (75 catches, 1,035 yards, eight TDs) recovering from a head injury suffered against Ottawa, Carter could become an even more pivotal offensive figure against Calgary. If Roosevelt can't play, veteran slotback Chad Owens could make his '17 debut.
Running back Cameron Marshall is also scheduled to come off the six-game injured list for Saskatchewan. He ran for 490 yards on 87 carries (5.6-yard average) with two TDs while adding 29 catches for 278 yards and two touchdowns over the Riders' first nine games.
In Marshall's absence, Trent Richardson, Canadian Kienen LaFrance and Greg Morris registered 73 carries for 290 yards (3.9-yard average) and two TDs with 13 receptions for 125 yards and a touchdown.
Calgary counters with a defence that's the CFL's stingiest in offensive points allowed (16.4 per game) and yards (320.2) while registering a league-high 109 quarterback pressures.
Saskatchewan is sound defensively, allowing an average of 23.3 offensive points, a league-low seven rushing TDs and the second-fewest offensive touchdowns at 33. But the Stampeders' unit, combined with the club's stellar home record, are hard to overlook.
WINNIPEG AT TORONTO, SATURDAY
(Argos favoured b 1.5-points)
Winnipeg (11-4) clinched a post-season berth with last weekend's 26-20 win over B.C. But the offence didn't score a touchdown and has just one offensive TD in the last two games. The Bombers will be minus their top receiver (Darvin Adams) and defensive leader (Maurice Leggett) due to injury. Toronto (7-9) has lost two straight but would move atop the East with a win. Running back James Wilder Jr. could return after missing last weekend's loss to Edmonton with head/chest injuries.
EDMONTON AT BC, SATURDAY
(Lions favoured by 1.5-points)
Edmonton (9-6) has been streaky all year. It opened the year with seven straight wins, then dropped six consecutive contests before winning its last two. Brandon Zylstra is now the CFL's leading receiver and newly acquired running back CJ Gable has three straight 100-yard games, the last two with the Eskimos. B.C. (6-9) has dropped seven-of-eight games and a loss here or Saskatchewan win would eliminate the Lions from post-season contention.
HAMILTON AT MONTREAL, SUNDAY
(Ticats favoured by 3-points)
This is a pride game as Hamilton (4-11) and Montreal (3-12) will both miss the playoffs. After starting the season 0-8, the Ticats are 4-3 under interim coach June Jones and Jeremiah Masoli as the starter. Masoli sports a 60.7 completion average with eight TDs and five interceptions while registering three 300-yard games. Darian Durant is expected to start for Montreal, which has lost eight straight and hasn't won since a 21-9 decision over Toronto on Aug. 11.
Last week: 2-2.