There is a common superstition that 13 is an unlucky number and we are now into Week 13 in the CFL.
The bad luck encountered by two more quarterback starters in Week 12 proves 13 is just another number when it comes to misfortune and CFL quarterbacks this season.
The balance of the season hinges upon who gets healthy and who can run the offence in the absence of the starting quarterback.
The first game of Week 13 features a battle between the Toronto Argonauts and B.C. Lions on the Left Coast.
I have mentioned many times about the West Coast advantage for the Lions when they play night games against East Division teams. The time zone difference means Eastern Teams start games at 10 p.m. Eastern Time and run out of steam. However, Toronto stayed in Calgary all week after their stunning loss to the Stamps last weekend and it was not just to attend the funeral of the lead they blew against the Stampeders.
The Argonauts are properly acclimatized to western time zones and I expect them to hang one on the Lions in the game. They are in an ugly mood and want to make amends for the loss in Calgary. Argo pivot Ricky Ray will keep the pedal to the metal against the Lion defence and has more weapons in his arsenal as receivers come off the injured list. This game will have plenty of offence and when was the last time I could make that prediction? Argos win on the road.
Saturday’s early game is an Eskimo visit to the partially completed Tim Horton’s Stadium in Hamilton. One thing has become clear to me: Hamilton has improved tremendously on both sides of the ball since the start of the season. Their defence has added 2013 first-rounder Lyndon Gaydosh and he will see action in the game.
Better Ticats pass protection has allowed mobile Hamilton quarterback Zach Collaros time to find an array of receivers and he will factor heavily into my prediction of a Hamilton win in the game. Eskimo quarterback Mike Reilly will face plenty of heat and will once again need to move the ball on his own to stay close on the scoreboard. Look for another Ticat home victory in this one.
Calgary plays an early game in Montreal and will use former starting quarterback Drew Tate in relief for the injured Bo Levi Mitchell. Calgary is fortunate because they actually step up a bit with Tate in terms of pass accuracy and will field a strong offence in the game. However, the Stamps have been plagued by too many injuries to the interior of their defence and they may be susceptible to an Alouettes run game.
West Division teams are also susceptible to early starts in the Eastern Time zones, because of time changes, and I call for a big upset when Montreal wins the game. West teams just hate to play games before lunch.
The last game of Week 13 finds the Saskatchewan Roughriders at home to Ottawa. The ’Riders used backup Tino Sunseri in their last game and I have to admit I was shocked by his debut as a starter. Rarely have I seen a quarterback give the appearance of Ricky Ray cool with none of Ray’s poise in a game.
Sunseri was brutal in his first start, but he gets a mulligan and has an opportunity to redeem himself against the RedBlacks. I have mentioned the ’Riders are a run-first team and do not appear to be interested in the pass game, even when Darian Durant was behind center for them this year.
’Riders coach George Cortez runs the offence and I would love to ask him why he has limited the pass game this year. Either he has little faith in his quarterbacks, or he has mapped out an offence to cope with the unprecedented domination of defences in the CFL this year.
The hook will be much shorter on Sunseri against Ottawa, but my final pick of Week 13 is a ’Riders home victory.