Friday, October 26, 2018
WEEK 20 CFL PICKS 2018
BC AT SASKATCHEWAN, Saturday
It seems the B.C. Lions have cured their road woes.
The Lions opened the season dropping their first five road games before snapping that dubious streak with a 32-14 win over the Montreal Alouettes on Sept. 14. Since then, B.C. has won two of its last three contests away from B.C. Place Stadium.
B.C. (9-7) will have its road mettle put to the test Saturday night when it visits Saskatchewan (11-6). The Roughriders' rabid fans make Mosaic Stadium a very difficult place to play at the best of times, let alone with the hometown team still battling for home-field advantage in the West Division playoffs (depending on what the Calgary Stampeders do Friday night, that is).
The Lions have also punched their post-season ticket, although it's still unclear exactly where they'll finish in the standings. But B.C. comes in as one of the CFL's hottest teams, having won three straight and six-of-seven games overall.
The Riders are no slouches, having won four of their last five games and eight of 10. That includes a 29-24 road victory over Calgary last weekend without rush end Charleston Hughes.
Hughes, who leads the CFL with 15 sacks, didn't play after being charged Oct. 11 with impaired driving and failing to supply a breath sample for analysis. The 11-year veteran is expected to return this week.
But the Lions also have a road win over Calgary to their credit, a 26-21 decision Oct. 13. B.C. clinched a playoff berth last weekend after rallying for a 42-32 win over the Edmonton Eskimos.
Quarterback Travis Lulay threw four TD strikes in that game, three to DeVier Posey. And Tyrell Sutton ran for 97 yards on 16 carries after rushing for 106 yards in his Lions debut versus Calgary.
The Riders effectively bounced back from their lopsided 31-0 loss to Winnipeg on Oct. 13 with their five-point victory over Calgary. Quarterback Zach Collaros threw for 352 yards - his first 300-yard passing performance this season - while Saskatchewan ran for 140 total yards and two touchdowns.
With both teams having stout defences, this would appear to be a very tight game. In that scenario, Saskatchewan's loud, enthusiastic fans should give the Riders an edge.
CALGARY AT WINNIPEG, FRIDAY
The Blue Bombers (9-7) can clinch a playoff berth with a fifth straight victory. Receiver Darvin Adams is 98 yards shy of a second 1,000-yard campaign and running back Andrew Harris is second overall in rushing (1,269 yards). Calgary (12-4) has dropped two straight and can finish first in the West with a win. The CFL's top-ranked defence allowed almost 500 net yards last week but it's hard to imagine a Bo Levi Mitchell-led team losing three straight.
OTTAWA AT HAMILTON, Saturday
Ottawa (9-7) can finish first in the East with a victory following last week's 35-31 home win. The Ticats (8-8) can still claim top spot but must first take this contest. They'll be minus big-play receiver Brandon Banks (season-ending broken clavicle last weekend), who was Jeremiah Masoli's security blanket. Newcomer Terrell Sinkfield Jr. is expected to play and could help complement slotback Luke Tasker, who's compiled consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons.
TORONTO AT MONTREAL, Sunday
The Alouettes (3-13) look to avenge last weekend's 26-22 loss in Toronto (4-12), when quarterback James Franklin ran for two TDs, giving him a club-record 14 and tying Doug Flutie's CFL single-season mark for quarterbacks. Johnny Manziel won't have a better shot at his first win as a league starter given the Argos are a dismal 0-7 away from BMO Field this season.
Last week: 1-3.
(Canadian Press/Dan Ralph)