2023-10-18 · 5 min read · CFL/Football
Calgary Stampeders and Ottawa Redblacks

David Kirouac | Larry MacDougal/3DownNation

Two weeks remain in the CFL regular season, and by the time Saturday night rolls around or even sooner, we may know where the road to the Grey Cup runs through in the West.
Last weekend, the BC Lions kept their hopes of hosting the West Final intact as Dane Evans came in for the injured Vernon Adams, leading them down the field for a game-winning field goal by Sean Whyte.
They’ll need to beat Calgary on Friday to keep those hopes alive against a club desperately fighting to overtake Saskatchewan in the playoff battle.
The Stamps’ big OT victory against the Riders means Calgary can claim the final playoff spot, but they’ll need to win and hope the Riders don’t to stay alive.
Meanwhile, the Bombers come from behind victory over BC the last time out means that they hold the season series over the Lions and would clinch first place with a Leos loss this week or if they can defeat the Edmonton Elks at home.
Here is a look at the Week 20 matchups and my predictions.
Calgary Stampeders at BC Lions
They are still alive, but the playoff hopes for Dave Dickenson’s crew are hanging by a thread as they face another must-win situation on Friday night at BC Place.
Jake Maier went 17/29 for 184 yards but, most importantly, didn’t toss a pick, but going up against an explosive offence like BC, the Stamps will need to establish a better ground game with Kadeem Carey only averaging 3.6 yards per carry against Saskatchewan, with the Stamps posting the third-lowest per game rushing yard average this season (91.4).
The Ti-Cats made them work for it, but in a see-saw game with multiple fourth-quarter lead changes, the Lions came up with the W, thanks to another outstanding performance from Keon Hatcher, who had six grabs for 92 yards, as he is currently second in the CFL in that category (1,226 receiving yards).
This team does all of their damage by throwing the ball, as they rank dead last in the CFL regarding rushing yards (1,333), but Vernon Adams leads the league in yards through the air (4,653), and the Lions pivot says he will play this weekend.
Prediction- Calgary Stampeders 20-30 BC Lions
There is just too much inconsistency offensively for the Stamps, who will have difficulty keeping pace against a team that almost no defensive unit has been able to shut down all season.
Toronto Argonauts at Saskatchewan Roughriders
They’ve not had anything meaningful to play for in weeks, but if anything, Chad Kelly continues to bolster his case to be the league’s Most Outstanding Player, throwing for 287 yards last week against Ottawa, while the O-line only gave up one sack to the second-best team in the East in that department (43).
The one thing which regressed against Ottawa was Toronto’s run defense, as they gave up 125 yards on the ground to Devonte Williams, though they have still allowed fewer rushing yards this season (1,344) than anyone in the CFL.
The tail end of 2023 has to feel like déjà vu if you’re a Riders fan as this team has lost six in a row but are still in a playoff position, but if they can’t win this one, their destiny may be out of their hands as their regular season ends on Saturday.
Once again, Jake Dolegala threw for some big numbers, 272 to be exact against Calgary, but also tossed an interception, while the secondary continued to flounder, allowing the highest pass efficiency rating in the league (106.2).
Prediction- Toronto Argonauts 35-14 Saskatchewan Roughriders
The Riders’ run game has been mediocre throughout the campaign, while Saskatchewan has the fewest sacks in the CFL (35), and that’s a bad combination when facing the best team in the league.
Edmonton Elks at Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Although it’ll be another disappointing end to the Elks season this weekend, there’s a lot to like about this team’s offence going forward as Tre Ford threw two touchdown passes last week, Geno Lewis had seven catches, and the CFL’s third-leading rusher Kevin Brown looks to be the real deal, averaging 6.8 yards per carry in the loss to Montreal (35-21).
In the offseason, Chris Jones needs to address this team’s inability to stop the run, allowing a league-high 135.5 rushing yards a game to the opposition, while their secondary has given up the third-highest completion percentage (101.4).
The Bombers are not the dominant force defensively from years past, but beating them will still take some doing, and their previous encounter proved that as they couldn’t slow down BC’s offense throughout much of that game but stopped them on a critical third and short in the latter stages.
When you can consistently move the ball well as Zach Collaros and the offense have done, though, you can still win.
Winnipeg leads the league in net offense (6,629 yards) and first downs (369) but also boasts the best running back in the CFL in Brady Oliveira, who’s making a solid case to be in the Most Outstanding Player category, leading the league in rushing yards (1,426).
Prediction- Edmonton Elks 24-34 Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Edmonton’s offence should be able to put up some points against the Bombers, but no one’s been able to slow down Oliveira all season, and it’s hard to believe a team that gives up so much on the ground can be the one that stops him.
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By: Joel Lefevre


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