Employment incentives should be enough for Esks to upset Stamps
I had a very confident assumption about the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for many consecutive weeks in 2013: they would not win another game this season. Not only did they prove me wrong, they also kept their thin playoff hopes alive for 2013.
Bear in mind the finest electron microscope in the world would fail to measure the thinness of their hopes, but they have hope and that is more than the woeful Eskimos have left for their season.
The Eskimos’ playoff hopes were mercy-killed by the Riders and now the Eskies are playing for pride and their jobs. You pick the bigger incentive for them to perform well in their Friday night game against the Calgary Stampeders. I will pick jobs over pride.
The tale of these two cities is a story of complete opposites because the Stamps have won four times more games than the Esks thus far this season. In fact Edmonton is poised to set an all time team record for losses in 2013; a dubious honor for future former head coach Kavis Reed to add to his resume when he gets punted at the end of the season.
I have averaged three right and one wrong for several weeks now in my picks and I would have been perfect last weekend if the Bombers had performed down to expectations.
This week I predict another upset and pick the Eskimos to win the game against Calgary. They played Calgary tough on Labor Day and shut down Jon Cornish in a very close loss in that game. Look for future unemployment possibilities as an incentive for the Eskies to pull a Winnipeg and beat the Stamps.
Toronto visits Winnipeg on Saturday afternoon and I expect the Argos will be in a bad mood. Toronto will take out their frustrations on the Bombers and deliver a final blow to Winnipeg’s playoff hopes. Argo pivot Ricky Ray had a pretty good return to active football against Hamilton, but served up his first interception of the season at a very inopportune time against the hungry ‘Cats.
Look for Ray to dial in his game a little more in Winnipeg and begin to get himself game-ready for the playoffs. The only thing Montreal did well against the Bombers was tying the right bow ribbon on the bountiful gift of turnovers they gave Winnipeg for Thanksgiving. I seriously doubt the Argos will be as generous in this game and look for a lopsided Argo win against the Bombers.
Second place in the CFL West is on the line Saturday when the Riders host the Lions. This game has given me the greatest pause for thought because the Riders were almost beaten by the Eskimos in their last game. The main reason for Saskatchewan’s problems is offence and the reality of Darian Durant’s quarterback limitations. The saving graces for the Riders are their defence, special teams kick coverage and the return of tailback Kory Sheets.
The defence will give rookie Lion quarterback Thomas DeMarco fits and should decide the game in Saskatchewan’s favor. All Rider quarterback Darian Durant has to do is hand off to Sheets smoothly and use his own running ability to keep the Lion defence on their toes to win the game.
He has bungled the exchange on play action several times this year, so it is not entirely without risk for Durant, but his recent spate of interceptions make his pass game an even bigger adventure. A high percentage short passing game will help alleviate Durant’s chronic quarterback weaknesses enough to seal a Rider victory over BC.
The last game of the weekend is also a battle for second place in the CFL East between the Hamilton Tiger Cats and the Montreal Alouettes on Sunday. Montreal looked absolutely brutal against Winnipeg; a team that is the football equivalent of road-kill this year. Hamilton has improved on both sides of the ball over the past few weeks and I expect the ‘Cats to gut the Larks in this game.
Hamilton still has designs on first place in the CFL and wants to fend off the Als for second place, while Montreal has serious issues at quarterback and on their O-line. The changing of the guard means an aging Alouette team will be easy prey for the Tabbies in this game.