We byke! Week 2 is upon us which means four straight days of glorious CFL football. Opening weekend introduced us to every team except the Ottawa Redblacks, who will debut this week. We have four games going this weekend with a doubleheader on Friday night. So if you want to break up your World Cup and baseball coverage, ESPN+ is the place to be and CFL football is the thing to see!

Saskatchewan Roughriders vs. Ottawa Redblacks, Thursday, 7:30 ET, ESPN+, – QBs vs. Defense

After a dominant performance in Week 1, the Riders look to continue their domination as Ottawa opens their season at home. QB Trevor Harris is ready to command the Redblacks team who won the Grey Cup just two seasons ago. Harris and Zach Collaros will have their hands full when they face each other’s defense.

Saskatchewan is coming off of a three sack, one interception game, and Ottawa also has a stifling defense that includes ageless veterans LB Kyries Hebert (Ayy-Bear) and FS Antoine Pruneau, DEs A.C. Leonard and Avery Ellis (12 sacks combined in 2017), and corners Louchiez Purifoy (Yes the one from Florida) and Jonathan Rose guarding the boundaries.

Saskatchewan’s defense will be a man down since CB Nick Marshall underwent finger surgery and could miss considerable time

Filling in for Marshall will be none other than WR Duron Carter, who took an interception to the house last year against Calgary. Carter will play strictly DB and WR Shaq Evans will fill in for him on offense. I don’t expect Saskatchewan’s defense to miss a beat, but Ottawa could take advantage of that little change in the secondary. Harris is among the best QBs in the league and it should be an exciting debut for him if he can beat this defense.

It won’t all be on him since he has RB William Powell to lean on (6 yards/carry, 1026 yards, 5 TDs in 2017). The real battle will be between DE Willie Jefferson and Ottawa’s LT SirVincent Rogers. If Jefferson and Charleston Hughes can get pressure, it’s going to be a long game for Harris. And HC Chris Jones knows to dial up blitzes with the best of them.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers vs. Montreal Alouettes, Friday, 7 PM ET, ESPN2, – QB Battle

Both of these teams had rough starts last week; Montreal couldn’t get their offense rolling in the second half and Winnipeg couldn’t hold on after their lightning delays. This game should show how good Winnipeg really is, since last week they had to play for 6 hours because of delays. Rookie QB Chris Streveler has a chance to get his first win in the CFL and Montreal’s QB Drew Willy gets to have another chance to get the Als on track this season.

Streveler flashed a lot against Edmonton with his big arm and running ability, but he must string it all together to be consistent for Winnipeg to win. QB Drew Willy needs his OL to give him a little more time and he even said himself that the Als must hit on big, explosive plays.

These QBs both have running games to lean on though. Against Edmonton, Andrew Harris received 14 carries for 77 yards; against BC, Tyrell Sutton received 15 carries for 65 yards. These RBs will get the ball to help out these QBs. The most consistent QB will help their team win this game.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats vs. Edmonton Eskimos, Friday, 10 PM ET, ESPN+, – Defense

Offense looks like the theme of the week. We all watch the offense. Offense is king in this league because there are so many things you can do with moving WRs and an extra man on the field. However; the defense in this game will be very important. Edmonton has LB Adam Konar, DT Mike Moore, OL Tommie Draheim, and WR Jamill Smith all on the 6-game injured list; that’s a starting DT and a starting LB out for 6 games against an explosive Hamilton offense that is trying to find their rhythm.

Hamilton has also added their former corner and former New Orleans Saints DB Delvin Breaux. Breaux was solid as a starter for the Saints, before injuries kept him off the field and they ultimately cut him. When Breaux was in the CFL, he was voted as the best lock-down corner by his peers, and he is now the league’s highest paid defensive back. So he’s worth his salt.

QB Mike Reilly is coming off of a spectacular comeback win against Winnipeg, but I don’t expect him to be as great as he was against this Hamilton defense — especially with Breaux back in the secondary. QB Jeremiah Masoli should also do well against this Edmonton D, but HC June Jones has to set up a run game to mix up the calls. It will be up to the defense to stop these dynamite offenses and lead their team to victory.

Calgary Stampeders vs. Toronto Argonauts, Saturday, 7 PM ET, ESPN+, – Run Game

Here’s something to ignite your Saturday night! ISSA GREY CUP REMATCH! Calgary was so close to winning that Grey Cup last year and they fumbled their dreams away. Kamar Jorden has watched that play countless times over the off-season. But now Calgary wants payback. Toronto isn’t too happy with their last game either; after barely playing any starters in the preseason, the Argos admitted that they came out rusty and it was a factor in their loss to Saskatchewan. So the Argos should come out wanting to prove that they are the defending Grey Cup Champs and will look to play like such.

Both teams are evenly matched with two legendary QBs, two explosive offenses and two defenses that can GATA. There could be a lot of points scored — or there could be no points scored. There is no way to predict how this game will go. All I’m going to say is, the game is going to incredible and whichever team runs the ball the best will have the upper hand.

James Wilder was Toronto’s leading receiver with 4 catches and 68 yards, but he only had 5 carries last game. I expect them to feed him this game. Don Jackson’s run sealed the game for Calgary last week and he could be clutch again this week. It stinks that this game is going to be on ESPN+ but it’s only $5 a month; I promise you that watching this game is worth your $5.

My picks

  • Saskatchewan
  • Winnipeg
  • Hamilton
  • Calgary

About The Author P.J. Green

P.J. Green is a student-athlete and junior at Tusculum College. Green is an aspiring football coach/scout/player/media personality. Green has big goals but always wants football to be in his life no matter what. Please come at P.J. for funny hot takes.