CFL WEEK FIVE PREDICTIONS

2023-07-06 · 5 min read · CFL/Football
Canadian defensive back Jayden Dalke

Timothy Matwey/3DownNation | Hamilton Tiger Cats Official Site (ticats.ca)

We kick off another week in the CFL with just one undefeated team remaining, and maybe fittingly, it’s the one that won it all in 2022, the reigning Grey Cup champions, the Toronto Argonauts.
The week begins with the Elks looking to finally get in the win column, while a familiar face behind centre returns to Steeltown to face his former team, and things wrap up with Montreal trying to shake off its first defeat of the campaign when battling ex-pivot Vernon Adams and the BC Lions.
Three former quarterbacks will take on their former teams this week, including the Riders’ Trevor Harris who faces the Edmonton Elks.
Here’s a look at all four matchups and my predictions.
Edmonton Elks at Saskatchewan Roughriders
Heading into the nation’s capital with a promising QB and a winless team in Ottawa, it seemed like the ideal scenario for the Elks to pick up their first W of the regular season last week.
However, rookie jitters got the best of Jarret Doege as the Edmonton pivot tossed three interceptions in a 26-7 loss to the Redblacks, with Chris Jones returning to Taylor Cornelius this week.
Regardless of who is behind centre, Edmonton’s O-line has been dismal thus far, allowing the most sacks in the CFL this year (16), while they’ve not been able to provide promising running back Kevin Brown with a lot of holes to run through as the Elks are last in average gains per rush (4.2 yards).
Given how Saskatchewan won its previous encounter in such dramatic fashion, beating Calgary 29-26 at McMahon Stadium in overtime, a bye week may not have been the worst thing as it’s allowed them to put their feet back on the ground and focus on what’s ahead.
The Riders running game, anchored by Jamal Morrow, has been hot in the early portion of the season, as he’s put up 233 yards on the ground, 133 of which came in the victory against the Stamps.
You’d think Craig Dickenson must have spent a lot of time during the bye week with his defensive line, who have continuously lost those key battle in the trenches this year, registering a mere six sacks, the second-fewest in the league.
However, their secondary has done a nice job containing the pass, allowing the second-lowest completion percentage (59.8%).
Prediction- Edmonton Elks 17-27 Saskatchewan Roughriders
The Elks have allowed a league-high 656 rushing yards already this year, and Morrow and the Riders O-line have to be chomping at the bits to face this unit on Thursday, while the Elks offensively haven’t shown they can protect their QB.
Calgary Stampeders at Winnipeg Blue Bombers
The Stamps will have had close to two weeks to dissect their OT loss to Saskatchewan, and Dave Dickenson must be racking his brain trying to figure out how to build a successful game plan together without Malik Henry.
Jake Maier was a lot more aggressive against the Riders, but it came at a cost as the Calgary quarterback tossed three picks the last time out, with his only TD throw going to Henry, who is out this week with an Achilles injury.
Not having the league leader for yards after the catch (Henry) could put a lot of pressure on the running game, which has been adequate thus far, fourth in the league regarding average yards-per-game (108), while Calgary is third in completions of 30+ yards, many of which have gone to Henry.
After being thoroughly dominated at home by BC, many CFL enthusiasts were ready to hit the panic button, thinking the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ time in the limelight was done.
Zach Collaros and company showed last week against a solid defensive unit in Montreal that they are still contenders as the reigning Most Outstanding Player tossed a pair of touchdowns in their 17-3 win; Dalton Schoen made five catches, one for a score, as he’s second in the league for grabs (22) and Brady Oliveira had another great outing with 120 yards rushing, as he sits first in that category (327 yards rushing).
While their defensive backs have had a tough time containing the deep threats, with Kaion Julien-Grant and Austin Mack posting over 100 yards receiving each on Canada Day, Winnipeg got a lot more pressure up front last weekend, with Willie Jefferson and Cameron Lawson each registering a pair of sacks, while Brandon Alexander had an interception.
Prediction- Calgary Stampeders 14-20 Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Maier needs to show he’s more than just an average quarterback, and without his biggest weapon, that won’t be easy.
The Bombers’ defence still has work to do, but last week was a good start, while we were all a little naïve to think one poor offensive showing by them would last long term.
Ottawa Redblacks at Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Exhale Ottawa, you’re finally on the board, and Bob Dyce’s squad were convincing at home to Edmonton last week as eight Redblack receivers had a catch, while they had four quarterback sacks defensively, leading the East in that department with a dozen this season.
While Tyrie Adams had a decent game versus Edmonton, going 14/20, the return of Jeremiah Masoli is something this team needed, with Ottawa sitting dead last in passing game this year (600 yards total) and tied with the Stampeders for the lowest completion percentage (58.1).
Defensively they’ve been struggling to contain the deep ball, allowing eight completions of 30+ yards this season, tied with Winnipeg for the most in the CFL.
Hamilton needed a break in the worst way, as the start to their season has been underwhelming, to say the least.
Orlondo Steinauer’s crew are 0-3 and have looked bad in each of those losses, conceding a league-high 112 points in just three games, giving up 13 touchdowns, and the second-highest completion percentage (69.2%).
With Bo Levi Mitchell still on the shelf, it’ll be up to Matthew Shiltz to try and end their suffering, and while he threw for 345 yards the last time out, he failed to punch the ball into the end zone and tossed two picks.
Prediction- Ottawa Redblacks 28-Hamilton Tiger-Cats 20
Although the Redblacks haven’t beaten Hamilton since 2018, we expect to see a highly motivated Masoli in this one, who should have plenty of time to find his open receivers.
When he has time, he’s proven that he can surgically pick apart any opposing secondary.
Montreal Alouettes at BC Lions
Whether it was the lengthy weather delay or just overconfidence, given what happened to Winnipeg the week before, Montreal did not look like themselves on Canada Day, putting up a mere three points, despite having two receivers who went over the century mark.
Cody Fajardo faced a ton of pressure from the Bombers and was sacked five times, while their normally tough run defence couldn’t keep up, allowing 185 yards on the ground.
The Als lead the league in completion percentage (69.4%) but have rarely been able to finish drives with six points, posting just four offensive touchdowns, the second-fewest in the CFL.
Three weeks into the regular season, everyone was singing the praises of Vernon Adams, with BC fans saying Nathan, who?
Against Toronto last week, Adams’ play dropped significantly as he tossed six interceptions at BMO Field, while the team gave up 45 points, 24 more than they had allowed in their first three games combined.
They still have the top net offence in the league (1570 yards) and are first regarding first downs (94), while Rick Campbell’s crew have only given up one pass of 30 yards or more, so if they can cut out the mistakes this is still an elite team.
Prediction- Montreal Alouettes 10-BC Lions 24
We may have been a little presumptuous to think that Adams would continue to play lights out for the rest of the season; however, we expect a solid bounce-back effort from this group against the Als, with BC still looking like a Grey Cup contender.
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