2023-07-12 · 3 min read · CFL/Football
Ottawa Redblacks' Travon Van and Calgary Stampeders' Jake Maier

Getty Images/Canadian Encyclopedia | Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia

It’s that point in a CFL season where a team near the top might start to slip while one or more at the bottom usually begins to make their move.
Week six begins with the Elks aiming to kill two birds with one stone at home to Hamilton before we witness a rematch of the 2022 East Final, then the Redblacks try to solider on despite some devastating news regarding their starting QB and finally two teams who thrilled us with an overtime classic in week three go at it again in Regina.
Here is a look at the week six matchups and my predictions.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Edmonton Elks
It wasn’t the prettiest victory, but Orlondo Steinauer will take it as his Tiger-Cats are finally in the win column, defeating the Redblacks 21-13.
Steinauer can thank his defence for the victory as the secondary had three interceptions, while the defensive line registered five sacks.
Matthew Shiltz remains the quarterback, while Bo Levi Mitchell continues to nurse an injury.
He’s been sharp when given time to throw in the pocket, with Hamilton third in the CFL for completions (90), though they’ve not been able to get the best out of James Butler, with the Ti-Cats currently dead last in rushing yards (278).
When it looks like something good is coming the Elks’ way, something always seems to mess it up, and last weekend at Mosaic Stadium, CJ Sims had what can only be described as a total brain fart, allowing a kickoff to sail over his head for a single point when the game was tied with just over a minute remaining.
Hopefully, he and the rest of the Elks have had time to study the CFL rule book since then, and while they’re at it reading a few things on how to prevent big plays might be handy with Edmonton allowing more competitions of 30+ yards than anyone so far (nine).
Taylor Cornelius and the Elks didn’t have a touchdown pass last week, as they are dead last regarding net offence, averaging 264.2 yards per game, while their defence, which improved a lot last Thursday, is still not getting off the field at critical times, conceding the most first downs in the CFL (104).
Prediction- Hamilton Tiger-Cats 14-17 Edmonton Elks
It’s been said that all good things must come to an end, but perhaps the same can be true for bad things, and there’s been a lot of bad in Edmonton since they’ve been known as the Elks, having lost a CFL-record 19 straight home games.
We believe that will change this weekend thanks to Edmonton’s solid receiving corps, who should be able to have their way with a Ti-Cats defensive unit that has given up the highest pass efficiency rating in the league (103.4).
Toronto Argonauts- Montreal Alouettes
The Argos are the only unbeaten team remaining in the CFL this season and in 2023 they have rediscovered how to run the ball, leading the league in rushing yards per game (136.7) while allowing the fewest on the ground per game themselves (57.7).
Toronto’s capitalized throughout the campaign on turnovers, picking off Vernon Adams six times in their last encounter, while they are tops in the CFL regarding turnover ratio (+9), and their secondary has allowed fewer competitions of 30+ yards or more than anyone so far (three).
While he didn’t toss a pick in two of his three starts Chad Kelly isn’t exactly lighting up the league when he goes downfield; in fact, the Argos have the fewest completions in the CFL (50), with the second-fewest passing scores heading into week six (two).
Jason Maas and the Alouettes might want to watch some Argonaut game film to learn how to block because they’ve struggled at that all season, with Montreal allowing the most sacks in the league (22), including seven to the BC Lions the last time out.
While Cody Fajardo is a mobile QB who can improvise, the fact that the Als lead the CFL in average gain per pass (10 yards) shows how much Fajardo’s progressed this year, as he and the offence have the most competitions of 30+ yards (12) and are second in pass efficiency (101.8).
The problem is they aren’t making their drives count, posting the second-fewest TDs on offence (five), while their running game hasn’t helped, currently with the third-lowest average yards-per-game (78.8)
Prediction- Toronto Argonauts 24-17 Montreal Alouettes
Montreal can be explosive, but you need more than a few field goals to beat a team as well-rounded as Toronto, who can change the complexion of a game with so many speedy and intelligent ballhawks.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Ottawa Redblacks
Since its stinker of a loss to the BC Lions, the Blue Bombers have won two in a row, with big plays being on the menu for the co-leader in passing touchdowns this season Zach Collaros (nine), who’s tossed four in his last two encounters.
They were tested by Calgary last week, giving up 108 yards rushing, but have been able to counter its weak secondary with a slew of outstanding receivers, seven of which had a catch last week.
At the same time, Brady Oliveira has looked unstoppable, leading the league in rushing yards (400).
Their pass rush has been their saving grace defensively this season, with Winnipeg registering the second-most sacks (16) though its defensive backs have given up the second-most completions (98).
What more could go wrong for the Redblacks?
They’re dead last in the standings once again, and just like a season ago, they won’t have Jeremiah Masoli around after he ruptured his Achilles last week ending his season early yet again.
That puts Dustin Crum in the spotlight, and the quarterback out of Kent State showed an ability to scramble last week, with 91 rushing yards and a score, but he had difficulty with his reads, tossing a pair of interceptions.
Ottawa is last in virtually every passing category this year with just one TD toss, a 54.0 pass efficiency, and a 6.3-yard average gain per pass.
Prediction- Winnipeg Blue Bombers 40-14 Ottawa Redblacks
Without Masoli, it’s hard to imagine the Redblacks will be able to keep up with an offence that can hurt you in many ways.
Calgary Stampeders at Saskatchewan Roughriders
Calgary continues to start games well defensively, allowing three points or less in the opening quarter of their last three encounters, but be it fatigue or other teams’ adjustments, the Stamps eventually start to fade.
Jake Maier had another good but not great outing last week, going 14/25 for 122 yards and an interception, while Dedrick Mills had 97 yards rushing on 14 carries.
Maier’s accuracy has set them back many times this season, as the Stamps currently have the lowest completion percentage (56.7) while they have allowed the second-highest pass efficiency (91.2).
Saskatchewan was relatively ineffective versus the Elks last week, but Trevor Harris came up big near the end, and the Riders benefitted from a boneheaded play by Edmonton returner CJ Sims.
Craig Dickenson is still having trouble getting much production out of his defensive line, who’ve only registered six sacks, the fewest in the league, while their O-line has regressed a little, giving up 13 sacks, dropping them down to sixth in the CFL.
They’re doing a better job at turning their drives into points though, with the fourth-most offensive scores (eight), while they’ve made lots of big play with seven 30+ yard completions.
Prediction- Calgary Stampeders 20-13 Saskatchewan Roughriders
The Riders have given opposing QBs far too much time in the pocket, and that is what Maier needs, while a solid rushing attack in Calgary should also turn the tables in their favour.
Sports Tree Profile

By: Joel Lefevre


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