2023-06-13 · 4 min read · CFL/Football
Toronto Argonauts quarterback Chad Kelly and Calgary Stampeders

Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press | Larry MacDougal/3DownNation

The 2023 Canadian Football League season is in full swing, and if the opening week is any indication, we could be in for some photo finishes and plenty of exciting ball games.
We saw games go down to the wire in week one, the Bombers nearly blowing a massive second-half advantage, and Edmonton extending its winless run at Commonwealth Stadium to a whopping 18 games.
Week two will feature a prairie rivalry which goes back decades and an all-Ontario affair at BMO Field among other things, with the Montreal Alouettes idle.
Here is a look at all four matchups and my predictions.
Calgary Stampeders at Ottawa Redblacks
Just like we saw near the tail end of last year, the Redblacks competed hard, but Bob Dyce’s crew were narrowly beaten in the end, 19-12, by the Montreal Alouettes, their fourth straight regular-season defeat dating back to last year by a single score.
The Redblacks came as advertised in the opening week, dominating the line of scrimmage defensively with a league-leading six sacks, but couldn’t play clean football offensively as Nick Arbuckle tossed three picks in the absence of Jeremiah Masoli, who is out for another encounter.
Six players had at least one catch for Ottawa in the loss to Montreal, but they could never punch it in for six, though their special teams will need to give them better field position, averaging the 29-yard line in week one.
The Stamps dropped their regular season debut for the second time in three years as they failed to contain the Lions’ offense all night, falling 25-15.
It was our first look at Jake Maier behind center in 2023, and like last year we saw an adequate but not extraordinary performance from the Stamps pivot, going 20/36 for 166 yards, a touchdown and one interception.
Ka’Deem Carey averaged 6.1 yards per carry but never busted off a big one.
At the same time, Micah Awe made an immediate impact, registering 13 tackles.
However, couldn’t couldn’t stop the Lion receivers all game long, giving up 28 completions, more than anyone in the league in the opening week.
Prediction- Calgary Stampeders 24-20 Ottawa Redblacks
Calgary should be able to take advantage of the loss of Masoli and create some game-changing turnovers, while we anticipate a big day on the ground for Carey, with Ottawa’s Devonte Williams putting together a subpar opener, averaging a mere 3.3 yards per carry on 11 touches.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Saskatchewan Roughriders
After its trainwreck campaign in 2022, Craig Dickenson and the Riders needed a reset more than anybody in the CFL, and the year started positively as they hung on to beat the Edmonton Elks 17-13, ending a seven-game losing streak in regular-season play.
Conceding a mere two sacks is undoubtedly a good start, given how poor they were at pass protection in 2022, though Trevor Harris didn’t always get his reads right, tossing two picks last weekend.
They got the run game going with Jamal Morrow, racking up 80 yards on 14 carries, while their defensive line won a good portion of those battles in the trenches, with five QB sacks, the second-most in week one.
Mike O’Shea’s Bombers looked to be on cruise control early into their season opener versus the Tiger-Cats, but a series of unforced errors which began with a blocked punt returned for a touchdown, made for a tense final few minutes at Investors Group Field.
That being said, the three-time Western champions were full marks for the victory as reigning two-time Most Outstanding Player Zach Collaros orchestrated an aerial assault, going 21/30 for 354 yards, three scores, plus zero interceptions.
Big plays were on the menu for the Blue and Gold last week as they had the shortest time of possession in the CFL (24:56) but found the end zone four times, while Brady Oliveira quietly ran for 113 yards on 22 carries.
Prediction- Winnipeg Blue Bombers 40-14 Saskatchewan Roughriders
As good as the Riders were along the offensive line last week, they will face a much stiffer challenge in the Bombers and Willie Jefferson, who looked re-energized for Winnipeg last week, while the offense looked unstoppable against a solid defensive unit in Hamilton.
Edmonton Elks at BC Lions
It may only be one game, but Vernon Adams made all BC fans forget about the local sensation, Nathan Rourke for a week, as the new Lions pivot only tossed eight incompletions in a triumph against Calgary.
Adams utilized all his receiving weapons as seven players had multiple catches in week one, with the Lions leading the league in completion percentage (77.8%).
The new Lions QB was aided by some impressive blocking as BC were the only CFL team that did not allow a sack in the opening week, while they gave up a league-low 166 yards defensively through the air, and picked up 11 first-down rushes.
Make it 18 straight for the Elks, as in the number of successive losses suffered at home with Chris Jones’ crew putting up a valiant effort but ultimately unable to put together a game-winning drive.
Two interceptions from Taylor Cornelius proved costly, while their offensive line couldn’t spring their dynamic running back Kevin Brown for any big scampers, as he had 11 touches in the backfield for 59 yards.
If Cornelius can get the ball to Geno Lewis more, we could see Edmonton put up plenty of points, as the former Alouette had five grabs for 148 yards and one score, though not a lot of others stepped up, with the Elks posting the second-lowest completion percentage last week (52%).
Prediction- Edmonton Elks 18-36 BC Lions
The number of playmakers and speed on BC is staggering, and playing indoors on that artificial turf, we find it hard to believe the Elks secondary will be able to keep so many game-changing offensive threats in check.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Toronto Argonauts
They were practically invisible for over two quarters, but a blocked punt changed everything, and although they came away with nothing, there are plenty of positives for Orlondo Steinauer to take away from Hamilton’s opening loss to Winnipeg.
Bo Levi Mitchell turned it on in the second half, ending his night with 200 yards passing and a score, though Jameer Thurman had a real impressive debut, making 10 tackles.
Their secondary was burned early and often and will have to be better this weekend, allowing four touchdowns through the air in week one.
The Grey Cup champs begin their title defence against an old foe, and they come into this encounter with just one loss in their last four games played at BMO Field in the regular season and playoffs.
Ryan Dinwiddie’s team are now under the guidance of Chad Kelly, and the 2016 Sugar Bowl MVP at Ole Miss should have his share of quality receivers to throw to and a healthy Andrew Harris to hand off to, in what is expected to be the CFL swan song for the Winnipeg native.
The Argos were second in the league regarding passing yards in 2022, while they did not give up a lot of big plays through the air, conceding the lowest pass efficiency defensively last year (83.4).
Prediction- Hamilton Tiger-Cats 20-17 Toronto Argonauts
Hamilton should learn a lot from their poor opening half last week, and we believe their defense will disrupt Kelly, who might overcompensate and try to do too much, leading to a loss in their opener.
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By: Joel Lefevre


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