Predicting the outcome of the remaining 20 games of the CFL regular season, the 4 playoff games, and the Grey Cup.
Disclaimer: Predicting the outcome of so many games so far in advance is not a great likelihood. This article is based on observations made so far this season and is meant more as a thought-provoking conversation starter than a set-in-stone prophecy. If seeing a team being predicted to beat your favorite team is going to offend you then this may not be an enjoyable article for you.
Mike Mitchell’s CFL Week 17 Power Rankings
Montreal Alouettes (7-7) Week 17 Preview
BC Lions (10-4) Week 17 Preview
#6 UBC Thunderbirds (4-0) at #8 Saskatchewan Huskies (3-1) Preview
Regina Rams (1-3) at #11 Alberta Golden Bears (3-1) Preview
U Sports Canada West Football: Week 4 Team of the Week
U Sports Canada West Football: 2023 Team Previews
CFL 2nd Period All-Star Team (Weeks 8-14)
CFL Midseason All-Star Team, Awards
First Period CFL and Divisional All-Stars
@JonathanClink on Twitter
Week 17 Predictions
Week 17 Reasoning:
WPG 37-14 TOR
Winnipeg over Toronto due to this being a meaningful game to Winnipeg while Toronto is resting their starting quarterback Chad Kelly.
BC 34-23 SSK
BC over Saskatchewan due to the Lions’ defense dialing it up as they contest for first place in the West. The Lions’ defense has been in hunting mode the last 5 quarters of football.
OTT 30-24 MTL
Ottawa over Montreal due to Ottawa being a strong rushing team and Montreal struggling against the run this season. Montreal’s tendency to quickly move away from the run game is another factor. The Alouettes have also displayed an increased susceptibility to the pass rush when they abandon the run and Ottawa has a very formidable pass rush.
CGY 27-22 HAM
Calgary over Hamilton. If Calgary can lean on their talented running backs I think Calgary will get the win here. Jake Maier plays a lot more efficiently when Calgary is mixing in the run whereas he has thrown too many interceptions this season when the run game is being underutilized. If Ka’Deem Carey is unable to play Dedrick Mills can carry the offense.
Standings after Week 17
Week 18 Predictions
Week 18 Reasoning:
TOR 30-17 EDM
I think BC demonstrated to the league in week 16 how to properly limit Tre Ford with their defensive schemes of frequently having 3 defensive linemen with an additional linebacker joining the rush after the snap creating unpredictability that Edmonton’s pass protection had to face. Toronto has been the best run-stopping team and they have been smart defenders.
I have a hunch that this may be the last matchup we see both Chad Kelly and A.J. Ouellette play in the same game this regular season for Toronto.
WPG 23-21 BC
BC shocked Winnipeg in their own building in week 3 winning 30-6 in Winnipeg. In week 9 Winnipeg flexed their muscles and won 50-14 against BC. I am predicting Winnipeg to win this one on the road in a close game. This is the must-see game remaining in the regular season schedule.
SSK 30-24 HAM
I imagine Saskatchewan will have Anthony Lanier II back in the lineup. I expect the Riders to put a good game together at home against Hamilton in this one. In Jake Dolegala’s 3 starts at Mosaic, he has thrown for 767 yards and 6 touchdowns with 1 interception.
OTT 24-27 MTL
I am predicting Montreal and Ottawa to both win their home game in their back-to-back home and home series. I predict Montreal to fine-tune their run defense as the unit continues to gel with recent additions such as LB Darnell Sankey and DE Shawn Lemon. I also predict Montreal to play with more commitment to their run game and have a more balanced offense in week 18.
Standings after Week 18
Week 19 Predictions
Week 19 Reasoning:
BC 30-18 HAM
Hamilton embarrassed BC in their own building in week 12 winning 30-13. I predict BC to be out for revenge in this match and the defensive line to be playing very hot in this game. As we get closer to the end of the year I am expecting the BC defense to resemble the level of play that we saw earlier in the season.
CGY 27-23 SSK
I am predicting Calgary to win a close game in this one in their own building. Calgary has been a good team at defending against the pass this season and Saskatchewan has been a pass-often, run-rarely team this season. Saskatchewan has also allowed the third most yards per pass attempt so far at 9.2 yards per attempt. I predict Jake Maier to play well in this game helping bring Calgary back into the playoff conversation.
MTL 24-20 EDM
Montreal has an underrated tough defense with fast linebackers and hard-hitting defensive backs. Montreal has allowed the 4th least offensive points scored against at 23.4 points per game despite having many key injuries to starters in the season and they have recently added some top-level talent to the defensive side. I feel like Montreal’s defense is somewhat well suited to spread out and contain Tre Ford to contain some of his explosive rushing plays. I also predict William Stanback will get loose for 80+ rushing yards.
OTT 30-24 TOR
I don’t expect we will see all of Toronto’s key players in this match with the division title already being locked up. Ottawa is a good team that has a lot to prove. Ottawa has been playing good football lately and is a lot better than their record would suggest. 12 of Ottawa’s games have been decided inside the final 3 minutes.
Standings after Week 19
Week 20 Predictions
Week 20 Reasoning:
BC 27-20 CGY
I predict BC to win at home in this match. I predict Taquan Mizzell to get loose for BC and get 90+ yards in this game and a touchdown.
SSK 27-17 TOR
I predict Saskatchewan to take their foot off the brakes and Toronto to let off the gas in this game. Let’s say 2 sacks from Anthony Lanier II and Chad Kelly is likely not playing in this game in front of a rocking crowd for Saskatchewan’s final home game.
WPG 24-17 EDM
Winnipeg had a pretty good second half defensively the first time they played Tre Ford and they will be playing hard to lock up the division in front of their home fans. I do expect to see a strong game from the Edmonton pass rush as well as the Winnipeg run defense in this game. 3 sacks combined from Jake Ceresna and A.C. Leonard.
Standings after Week 20
Week 21 Predictions
Week 21 Reasoning:
CGY 30-17 WPG
In this scenario, Calgary would be eliminated from the West already and Winnipeg would have clinched the West prior to this game. We would likely see backups resting for Winnipeg and Calgary playing hard to finish the season with a win in front of their fanbase. Calgary would win and then watch the 2 games after with their fingers crossed hoping for losses from both Hamilton and Ottawa so that they can crossover to the East playoffs.
HAM 27-17 MTL
In this scenario, we would see Montreal resting players with nothing to play for and Hamilton entering the week. I think we see James Butler have a very big game in this match with 120-plus yards from scrimmage and efficient play from Taylor Powell.
OTT 27-20 TOR
Toronto resting backups and playing hard and fast coming off the bye week. 300 plus total yards and 3 total touchdowns from Dusting Crum and 2 sacks from Lorenzo Mauldin. Ottawa would be playing for a moral victory as they would be eliminated with Hamilton’s victory before their game as Hamilton won all 3 of their games against each other. The RedBlacks would finish with a strong game in front of their home fans.
Division Semi-Finals Reasoning:
MTL 23-17 HAM
Despite not having a bye a lot of Montreal’s starters would have rested the week before while Hamilton was putting it all on the line. I predict a strong game from Cody Fajardo with 290+ passing yards and touchdowns from Austin Mack and Kaion Julien-Grant.
BC 23-13 SSK
BC was very dominant defensively last time the Riders travelled to Vancouver in week 7 which they won 19-9. The Lions held Jamal Morrow to 11 yards on 12 carries and did not allow an offensive touchdown. BC had Dane Evans starting at quarterback in this game and Saskatchewan had Mason Fine so the passing landscape of the game will be different but I predict BC to have a strong performance. 2 sacks from Mathieu Betts.
Division Finals Reasoning:
MTL 31-24 TOR (Overtime)
Toronto won all 3 of their games against Montreal this season although 2 of them were decided on the final play. Despite Montreal having lost all of their games to the top 3 teams this season I am predicting them to get their first win against a top 3 team in the playoffs. Montreal is not taken seriously as a contender by many but I am predicting them to surprise people. We are talking about a team with a new coach and a new quarterback in the same year. The Alouettes have lost a lot of man games to starting defensive backs and have released both of the defensive ends that were starters for them in week 1. Montreal has added big pieces defensively in Shawn Lemon and Darnell Sankey and has talented offensive weapons.
When you look at Montreal’s offensive weapons there’s a lot of impressive young talent with Austin Mack, Tyler Snead having stellar CFL rookie seasons, and some very good Canadian talent in Tyson Philpot and Kaion Julien-Grant. William Stanback can certainly rise to the occasion as well.
I believe Toronto is the better team overall but am predicting Montreal to get hot at the right time for this game and Toronto to potentially lose some of their cohesiveness with so many meaningless games towards the end of the regular season.
BC 27-24 WPG
I am predicting a game-winning field goal from Sean White for the BC Lions in Winnipeg.
Here’s a statement that a lot of people will not agree with. I don’t think Zach Collaros plays well in the cold. If he is not wearing a turtleneck for this game under his jersey I don’t think Winnipeg will overcome BC’s defense despite the home-field advantage. Collaros has had a lot of amazing plays in the playoffs but he has had a lot of moments in which he was playing below average starting quarterback football. In the 7 games Collaros has played in the playoffs for the Blue Bombers he has only thrown for more than 200 yards in 3 of those games. Last year against BC at home he completed 14 of his 20 passes for 178 yards and 1 touchdown and 1 interception. In the 2 playoff games last year Collaros completed 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. Over his playoff time as a Bomber, he has thrown for 6 touchdowns and 7 interceptions over the 7 playoff games.
The BC Lions’ defense is better than it was last year in my opinion and Vernon Adams Jr. is very underrated in his ability to escape a pass rush.
Grey Cup Reasoning:
BC 30-20 MTL
I think we would see some of the fatigue of a long playoff set in for the Montreal offensive line at this point and really struggle against the BC pass rush. Both teams have solid defenses and a lot of talented receivers. I think the difference here would be BC’s stronger ability to protect the pass and BC’s success against the run.
BC has not had the most complete season so far in the CFL but I think they have the highest ceiling based on the high points they have had this season. Such as 2 shutouts, 2 separate games holding their opponent’s running back to 2 yards or less, and Vernon Adams Jr.’s recent streak of 6 300+ yard passing games in a row.
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