Weekly Predictor: Confidence in Calgary

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The 2021 season has been a learning experience for all of us.

For me, I now know why players get frustrated when they feel like we only talk to them about when they’ve done something wrong. It’s the life of the long snapper or offensive lineman, their mistakes always seem to stick out. But when they snap or block correctly, we don’t notice.

And that’s where I find myself this week. I was 4/4 last week on the CFL picks and radio silence from those on social media.

Zip.

Not one, ‘good job’ or ‘nice picks.’ Nope. It’s like I didn’t exist.

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Is this me begging for compliments? Damn straight, it is! I’ve sucked most of the season. 2-11 start to picks. I thought I had lost my touch. I was looking over my shoulder to see if the great people at CFL.ca would even welcome this column for the remainder of the season.

Thankfully, we all struggled. We all had to get back in the groove. So here I am, tracking down Pat Steinberg to try and make a last charge to take the crown and if there is one prediction you can mark down is that there will be a celebratory gloating column when (yes WHEN) it happens.

Now, when I go 0-4 this week, I’d appreciate it if you don’t remember the first 200 words of this column and forget who I am and where you can find me on Twitter.

Calgary at Ottawa
Friday, 7:00 p.m. ET

Bo Levi Mitchell and the Stampeders will be looking for a win against the Ottawa REDBLACKS on Friday night (The Canadian Press)

The Calgary Stampeders roll into Ottawa winning three of their last four games. They’ll try to shake off the loss to Saskatchewan after Bo Levi Mitchell threw three interceptions to an inexperienced secondary.

Now, the Stampeders take on inexperienced quarterbacking as Ottawa is trying its best to find some traction behind centre. The Stampeders defence has been very good coming off the bye week and will continue to create problems for the opposition. The Stamps have given up 17, 19, 10, and 20 points in this four-game stretch.

And they’ll be working All-Star Tre Roberson back into the lineup.

PICK: CALGARY (100 confidence bonus)

Hamilton at Edmonton
Friday, 9:45 p.m. ET

Jeremiah Masoli and the Ticats eye their second win in a row on Friday (Geoff Robins/CFL.ca)

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats now have Jeremiah Masoli and Dane Evans back healthy and both quarterbacks will want to show they’re the guy to go with as the Tiger-Cats approach the playoffs.

First things, first, however: they have to get in. The Ticats are also in chase mode and should be able to smell first place now that they’re one win back of the Alouettes and Argonauts.

Edmonton is similar to Ottawa. They’re in the mode of working Taylor Cornelius in at quarterback and you eventually will likely see them want to see what they have in Dakota Prukop before they work Nick Arbuckle into the mix.

The way to victory for the Elks is through James Wilder Jr. and a disciplined quarterback play. It does feel as though the Elks will have to play a near-perfect game to beat the Tiger-Cats.

PICK: HAMILTON (99 confidence bonus)

BC at Toronto
Saturday, 4:00 p.m. ET

McLeod Bethel-Thompson is now official QB No. 1 after the trade of Nick Arbuckle earlier this week (Geoff Robins/CFL.ca)

McLeod Bethel-Thompson has finally been named the No. 1 guy behind centre. MBT has been battling over the last few seasons and has usually shown flashes that he can be given the ball and take a team to victories.

With the Arbuckle trade, the team was using terms like ‘face of the franchise’ for Bethel-Thompson. Now, it’s time for him to repay the favour. I expect we’ll see just that for the Argonauts as the race to the top spot in the East Division heats up for the final four weeks of the season.

The defensive play needs to improve for the Argonauts. The situation isn’t ideal as Chris Jones tries to establish a new system mid-season.

Coming in are the BC Lions who have struggled. They’ve been outscored by 95 points in three games and I’m interested to see how they respond to the 45-0 shutout loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Michael Reilly is clearly banged up and Nathan Rourke suffered a throwing shoulder injury in the loss to Winnipeg.

The Lions better show some desperation this week or they’ll be left behind in the playoff race.

PICK: TORONTO (75 confidence bonus)

Saskatchewan at Montreal
Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ET

Can Matthew Shiltz lead the Alouettes to victory again this week? (The Canadian Press)

This is my game of the week! The Riders and Alouettes could both argue they deserve to be considered No. 2 in the CFL’s Power Rankings.

The Alouettes defence has quietly become one of the top defences in the league and they had an outstanding performance last week in their win over Toronto. Like the Stampeders, the Als have allowed 20 points or fewer over the last four weeks, which included wins over Hamilton and Toronto.

And if you thought the injury to Vernon Adams Jr. was going to slow them down, Matthew Shiltz and the offence contributed to 31 points last week. That was the second most points of the season for the Alouettes’ offence.

The Riders come in off a big win to take back control of second spot in the West Division. You’ll also have Duke Williams and Shaq Evans with another week of practice within the offence to build on a pair of quiet returns in the win over Calgary.

This is the first Eastern road trip for the Riders this season. They’ve started 3-0 against East Division teams but all those games were at Mosaic Stadium.

The matchup I’m intrigued by is the CFL’s top rusher William Stanback vs the CFL’s No. 1 run defence. It’ll be a battle of wills in the trenches and it should be a great finale to the week in the CFL.

PICK: MONTREAL (25 confidence bonus)

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