Week 5 begins with two teams in big trouble early in the 2013 season. However 18 games is a long season in football, so the Edmonton Eskimos and Montreal Alouettes have plenty of time to get their act together.
This week a battle of these two 1-3 titans will decide which team uses the other team as a stepping stone toward respectability.
To be honest, it has been painful to watch these two teams in 2013 because neither one of them looks well-coached. Edmonton has taken too many untimely penalties, scored too few points and Montreal looks like a team who hired a head coach and offensive coordinator who had never seen a Canadian football game.
Former Montreal coach Marc Trestman was no fool. He made sure his coordinators were well-schooled in the Canadian brand of football and Trestman was very successful in the CFL. Current Montreal coach Dan Hawkins inherited essentially the same team from Trestman and the Als look brutal under his leadership.
The Alouettes blew a 24-point first-quarter lead against Calgary and went on to lose the game last weekend. Bear in mind Calgary was down to third string quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell and still won the game.
The Alouette-Eskimo game is a train wreck meeting a multi-car pileup and there will be only one survivor. This is a very tough game to call, given the serious levels of ineptitude displayed by both teams, but I feel that Montreal will win at home.
Next up is Calgary at Winnipeg and the biggest question will be the quarterback situation for both teams.
Winnipeg has been unable to win with Buck Pierce at quarterback and he may be pushed by fourth-year backup Justin Goltz. Calgary’s first- and second-string quarterbacks have injury issues and Stamp coach John Hufnagel may have to use third-stringer Mitchell if presumptive starter Kevin Glenn is not ready to do the job.
Winnipeg got annihilated by Toronto, but I suspect the Bombers will win against Calgary if Glenn is not healthy enough to play an entire game. Calgary will also miss all star defensive end Charleston Hughes and his relentless quarterback pressure, so I call a Bomber upset in this one.
This week’s rematch features the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at “home” in Guelph against Saskatchewan. Early prediction here: the game will be a sellout with a lot of Rider fans in the stands. A 4-0 start has Roughrider fans dreaming some big Grey-Cup-championship-at-home dreams early in the 2013 season and many transplanted flatlanders in southern Ontario will want to see if their beloved team is the real deal.
The Riders may indeed be the real deal, barring a rash of injuries, so I expect Saskatchewan will win again this weekend because the team is healthy right now. Hamilton looks awful again this year and the Austin effect has yet to change the fortunes of the ‘Cats.
A lot of Rider fans would suggest that karma is another term for a female dog in Austin’s case-and I would be one of them. I can be a petty man when it comes to football. The last game of the weekend actually takes place after the weekend on Tuesday when BC travels to Toronto. The Argos have lost all star tailback (not receiver as reported in the ill-informed CP wire feed) Chad Kackert to a cheap-shot tackle in Winnipeg. Argo star pivot Ricky Ray was also banged up in the game and his knee may still be feeling the effects on Tuesday.
I decided to play a hunch here in the last game of Week 5 and pick Toronto to win the Battle of the Braleys in Roger Center’s home for unwanted CFL football teams.