2023-09-08 · 4 min read · CFL/Football
Edmonton Elks and Calgary Stampeders

USA TODAY Sports | Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press

The opening week of September in the CFL was all about rivalries and for the most part they did not disappoint as the BC Lions got back in the race for first in the West, the Riders won a thriller at home to Winnipeg, and a late fourth-quarter touchdown stopped the bleeding in Calgary as they edged their provincial rivals, the Edmonton Elks.
Some of those matchups were so nice it is worth seeing them twice, and that’s what we’ll get at the tail end of this week as Saskatchewan and Winnipeg square off in the annual Banjo Bowl while the Elks look for back-to-back victories at Commonwealth Stadium when they host the Stampeders.
Perhaps lost in some of those memorable finishes last week was the fact that the Argos put some distance between themselves and the rest of the East Division, coming away with a convincing 41-28 victory on Monday against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, moving them three games above the Montreal Alouettes for a bye into the East Final.
Winnipeg’s loss, combined with the Lions’ victory, means the Bombers’ lead atop the division is down to just a single game, while the Elks, Stampeders, Redblacks and Ti-Cats are in a dogfight for that final playoff position.
Hamilton and Calgary are currently tied for that last playoff spot with four wins each, with the Ti-Cats having played one less game, Ottawa are one win behind them, and Edmonton sit bottom of the overall standings at 2-10.
Here is a look at my week 14 predictions.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Ottawa Redblacks
Far too often in 2023, the Tiger-Cats have been slow out of the gate, as they failed to score in the opening quarter on Monday for the seventh time this season, while they are tied with Saskatchewan for the most points allowed per game (27.5).
Their inability to stop the Argos on defence ruined another solid outing from Taylor Powell, who tossed three touchdown passes, including two to Terry Godwin, while Tim White had the other one and also racked up 110 yards on eight grabs.
Currently, on a five-game losing streak, the Redblacks need to find a way to earn a victory as the offence led by quarterback Dustin Crum has been stuck in neutral for weeks, sitting last in the CFL regarding net yards (3,305) while averaging a mere 202.7 passing yards per game, the fewest in the league.
Crum’s offensive line has not given him a lot of time in the pocket, as Bob Dyce’s team is tied with the Alouettes for the most sacks allowed this season (42), leaving them in numerous second and long situations, which would explain why they are last in the league regarding second down conversions (94).
Prediction- Hamilton Tiger-Cats 17-20 Ottawa Redblacks
Dustin Crum should have more time to find open receivers against a Hamilton defensive line that has registered the third-fewest sacks in the CFL (27), and the Redblacks’ top-ranked rushing attack could take a lot of pressure off their dismal pass game, seeing as the Tiger-Cats have given up an average of 119.6 yards on the ground per game in 2023, the second-most behind only the Edmonton Elks (138.3).
Montreal Alouettes at Toronto Argonauts
Cody Fajardo and the Alouettes held their own in their previous contest with BC but failed to capitalize on their opportunities once again, with just one TD throw, while the Montreal pivot also tossed a pair of interceptions.
If they can get a repeat performance from running back William Stanback, who had 108 yards on the ground and a score last week, the Als might have a fighting chance this weekend.
They’ll need to do a better job at stopping the run, having allowed a 5.7-yard average to their opponents this year, the second-most in the league behind Edmonton (5.9).
Whatever their issues were offensively in week nine, the Argos seem to have made the necessary adjustments, scoring over 35 points in their last three contests after only managing seven against the Stampeders in early August (20-7 loss).
Chad Kelly tossed another two touchdowns on Monday, but even though the Argos pivot has not been sacked in three straight outings, the CFL’s top-rated passer (115.5) has tossed five interceptions over that stretch, including two in each of his last two games.
Prediction- Montreal Alouettes 25-37 Toronto Argonauts
These teams had a memorable showdown in week six of the regular season, with the Boatmen emerging victorious (35-17), and the Als’ inability to stop the run throughout the year should enable Toronto to clinch a playoff berth this weekend.
Saskatchewan Roughriders at Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Jake Dolegala is quickly making a name for himself as a CFL quarterback, with the Riders’ new number one leading his team to back-to-back wins while throwing for 326 yards against the best pass defence in terms of completion percentage last Sunday (58.8).
The offence has shone brightly over the past couple of games, but that defensive line has not stepped it up, with the second-fewest sacks in the CFL (25), only managing one against the Bombers the last time out.
Winnipeg have another shot to book their place in the postseason this weekend, failing to hang onto a fourth-quarter lead on Sunday and losing in overtime for the second time this season.
Zach Collaros may still be the leading candidate for Most Outstanding Player, but the Bombers QB has made some uncharacteristic errors since returning from the injured list, tossing four interceptions in his last two starts, yet his team are still first regarding net offence with 388.9 per game.
Prediction- Saskatchewan Roughriders 19-34 Winnipeg Blue Bombers
The Bombers have captured the last three Banjo Bowls, and I expect their defence will be a lot sharper having seen what Dolegala and that Riders’ were capable of last week.
Calgary Stampeders at Edmonton Elks
Facing a 15-point deficit heading into the fourth quarter on Labour Day, it appeared that the Stamps were headed to a fourth straight defeat, but to their credit, Jake Maier and the offence rallied with 22 points in the fourth to earn a massive 35-31 victory.
He’s not known for putting up massive numbers through the air, but Maier has thrown for over 300 yards in his last two starts, but the secondary has allowed the third-most completions in the CFL (238).
Despite their heartbreaking loss on Monday, Tre Ford had another solid outing behind centre for the Elks, doing most of the damage with his legs, running for 135 yards against Calgary.
The Elks pivot has not thrown a pick in his last three starts, while they are starting to generate more pressure on opposing quarterbacks, registering multiple sacks in three of their last four contests, putting them in the middle of the pack with 30 on the year.
Prediction- Calgary Stampeders 24-30 Edmonton Elks
I’ve seen enough of Tre Ford over the past few weeks to admit he should’ve been named the starter a lot earlier, and even though they lost on Monday, they’re doing a lot of good things which suggest they’ll contend for a playoff berth down the stretch of the season.
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By: Joel Lefevre


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