CFL WEEK 20 PREDICTIONS

2022-10-18 · 6 min read · CFL/Football
Saskatchewan Roughriders and Edmonton Elks

Paul Swanson/3DownNation | Bob Butrym/3DownNation

Heading into the second to last week of the CFL regular season, the only guarantees are that the Winnipeg Blue Bombers will host the West Final, the Edmonton Elks will not be in the playoffs and five teams are assured of a postseason berth, while three are fighting for one remaining spot.
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats, and Saskatchewan Roughriders now have identical 6-10 records, while the Ottawa Redblacks still have a slim chance of making it into the postseason.
Here is a look ahead to the four matchups in Week 20.
Ottawa Redblacks at Hamilton Tiger-Cats
It is now or never for the Ottawa Redblacks, who have been a lot more competitive since Bob Dyce took charge, beating the Montreal Alouettes 24-18 in his debut and narrowly losing 34-30 in La Belle Province last Friday.
Nick Arbuckle played well in a losing effort last week, throwing for 271 yards and a pair of touchdowns, though they have allowed plenty of points defensively, conceding an average of 24.9 per game in 2022, the second-most in the league behind the Edmonton Elks.
For Ottawa to make the postseason, they will have to win this home-and-home series with their provincial rivals and have Calgary defeat the Riders twice.
The Redblacks have moved the ball efficiently on offence this year, with the most first downs among Eastern teams (335) and the best net offence in their division (5685 yards), but they have scored the second-fewest points in the CFL (337) and the least number of touchdowns (28).
We have waited almost the entire regular season to see the best version of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, who have won three of their last four outings, defeating the Stampeders 35-32 in a back-and-forth contest that went down to the wire last week.
Dane Evans has been aided by some fine work from his offensive line, who have only allowed one sack in each of their last two outings, enabling their QB to make much smarter decisions with the ball, throwing for 244 yards and a major score last Friday.
Orlondo Steinauer’s team have allowed the fewest first downs in the league this year (310), while they are the best run defence, allowing an average of 84.1 yards per game.
They are second in the league for interceptions (19), but through a good portion of the season, turnovers have killed this team as Hamilton are dead-last in turnover ratio at -20.
  • Prediction- Ottawa Redblacks 17-24 Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Steinauer and his team have been in many win-or-go-home scenarios in the recent past and lately those experiences have served them well.
Their O-line and running game has improved, as they look like a more dynamic offensive unit who are peaking at the right time.
BC Lions at Edmonton Elks
Another impressive outing at BC Place Stadium last Saturday enabled the Lions to remain in the pole position for a home playoff game, beating the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 40-32.
While they did not have to face Bombers starting QB Zach Collaros, Rick Campbell’s unit fully deserved the victory, producing a pair of pick-sixes, while James Butler averaged 7.4 yards on the ground with one touchdown as BC took advantage of their excellent field position all game long.
The Lions created some of those turnovers thanks to the outstanding work of their defensive line that pressured Dru Brown throughout the evening, sacking him twice, as they currently sit second in the league in that department (43).
BC still have the best net offence in the CFL, averaging 391.2 yards a game, while allowing the lowest net offence (5271 yards), and conceding the second-fewest first downs in the league (312).
Just when it looked like their lengthy home losing streak was ending, the Elks let it slip away, allowing the Argos to score 16 fourth-quarter points, losing 28-23.
Friday will be their last opportunity of the year to end a CFL record-long losing streak at home, and, at the same time, bury some bad memories against BC, a team who have scored 105 points on them in two victories this year, while the Elks have only tallied 29 points in those two outings.
Taylor Cornelius was playing well last week, throwing for 185 yards and a touchdown before being injured and replaced by Tre Ford, while Kevin Brown had another outstanding performance on the ground, running for 121 yards on 19 carries.
Edmonton have 20 interceptions to lead the league, while their run game has enabled them to sustain longer drives offensively, sitting fourth in the CFL for first downs (334) and second for first down rushes (132).
  • Prediction- BC Lions 35-20 Edmonton Elks
Vernon Adams might not be able to put up as many points offensively as Nathan Rourke managed in two outing against Edmonton, but the Lions are better and healthier than the Elks.
Edmonton does not match up well against BC, plus the Lions have more to play for than the home team in this one, so we believe they will win this game quite comfortably.
Toronto Argonauts at Montreal Alouettes
Fresh off a nice come-from-behind victory at Commonwealth Stadium against the Edmonton Elks, Toronto can clinch first place and a spot in the East Final with a win on Saturday.
McLeod Bethel-Thompson has been the most consistent quarterback out East, throwing for 273 yards and a touchdown last week, as he leads the league in passing (4,491 yards), with the Argos ranked third in the CFL for passing yards (4524).
Toronto are dead last in the league regarding rushing yards (1279), so it is not a big surprise to also see them last in the CFL regarding time of possession (28:46 per game average).
On the defensive side, Ryan Dinwiddie’s unit have had the bend but don’t break mentality throughout the campaign, allowing the second most completions in the CFL (377), but they are tied with the Blue Bombers for the fewest offensive TDs conceded (27).
Montreal put together a solid bounce-back performance last Friday, defeating the Ottawa Redblacks.
When Trevor Harris plays intelligent, mistake-free football, good things usually occur for them, as the Als pivot went 19/27 versus Ottawa for 241 yards, one major score and zero interceptions.
Since Danny Maciocia took over as head coach early in the season, he has simplified the playbook for his veteran QB, while rarely trying to make big plays as the Alouettes are last in the CFL for completions of 30 yards or more (17).
Their strong special teams’ unit has made it a lot easier for them offensively as Montreal are third in terms of average field position this year (38.3-yard line).
Defensively they are in the middle of the pack in most statistical categories, but the one which jumps out and one that Maciocia will want to see them improve on would be their struggles to force opposing offences off the field, having allowed more first downs than any CFL squad this season (352).
  • Prediction- Toronto Argonauts 27-17 Montreal Alouettes
While they still commit their share of mistakes and make some games closer than they should be, the Argos’ errors have not been nearly as costly as the ones the Als have committed throughout the campaign.
We believe this, plus the offensive depth and big play capabilities which the Argos possess, will give them the victory this weekend, while also locking up first place in their division.
Calgary Stampeders at Saskatchewan Roughriders
A slip-up from Dave Dickenson’s Stampeders last weekend in a defeat to the Ti-Cats has them playing catch-up in the race to host a playoff game for the first time since 2019.
As has been the case through most of the regular season, the Stamps had their game last Friday there for the taking but came up short, as Jake Maier made some uncharacteristically poor decisions, tossing three interceptions.
The run game, which leads the league in yards (1914) and average yards per gain (6.1), struggled to get going, making Maier and his team more one-dimensional as the league’s leading rusher Ka’Deem Carey had 12 carries for only 64 yards.
Big plays have not been a big focal point for Calgary this season as they sit second in the league for passes of 30 yards or more (19), but when they can’t get to the quarterback on time, they often get burned, as they have allowed the most completions in the CFL (379) along with the most yards through the air.
Until now, the Saskatchewan Roughriders playoff hopes never looked in jeopardy, but since Labour Day, things have gone from bad to worse every week for Craig Dickenson’s men.
Fresh off a bye week, the Riders are tied with Hamilton for that final playoff spot as Cody Fajardo has struggled with his decision-making of late, tossing two picks in his last outing in Steeltown.
In his defence though he has not been given much help on the offensive line, as he was sacked seven times versus the Tiger-Cats with Saskatchewan allowing a league-high 66 sacks this year.
Saskatchewan have the lowest average yards per play in the league (5.7 yards), while they have fewer first downs than any team (292).
It doesn’t help that they are the most penalized unit in the CFL (154 yards), though they have allowed the third-fewest first downs.
  • Prediction- Calgary Stampeders 40-24 Saskatchewan Roughriders
Maier did not have his best outing of the season last week but given how much the Riders' play has dropped over the past month, one off-game is not enough for us to suggest the Stamps are in a bad place.
Overall Calgary are more consistent and efficient than the Riders, who seem to have lost their mojo.
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By: Joel Lefevre

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