Two teams that are coming off of vastly different Week 1 results do battle in CFL betting action in Week 2 at the newly remodeled Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday night in the second half of a double dip on the NFL Network, as the Edmonton Eskimos take on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
The Tabbies knew that they were going to have a lot of pressure on their backs this year after back to back postseason appearances and back to back first round exits from the playoffs. Improvement is expected, and for the first time in quite a few years, the Ti-Cats are really supposed to be one of the challengers for the Grey Cup. They certainly didn't look like it last week against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. As comfortable favorites, Hamilton really looked terrible, getting beaten 24-16 in a very, very sloppy game. There is a big time decision to make at quarterback, and it is becoming clear that QB Kevin Glenn has a rope that is getting shorter and shorter with seemingly every pass. The longtime signal caller only went 18-of-31 for 187 yards with a TD and three INTs in Week 1, and was yanked in favor of QB Quinton Porter in the fourth quarter. Of course, Porter did no better, throwing a pick of his own to boot. The only bright spots in Week 1 were those of WR Maurice Mann and RB Avon Cobourne, both of which were key free agent acquisitions in the offseason. Mann had nine grabs for 120 yards and the only TD of the game for the black and gold, while Cobourne rushed for 75 yards and had 36 more as a receiver.
In a Week 1 full of upsets, none of the upsets were as surprising as the one that Edmonton pulled over the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Sure, the Eskies were the shortest of the three underdogs that pulled outright upsets off, but the fact that this one came by two TDs was the most shocking part. QB Ricky Ray looks like he has found the Fountain of Youth. He went 21-of-27 for 294 yards with three TDs and no picks, and most importantly, he kept those looking for QB Kerry Joseph to come off the bench to replace him quiet. Ray wasn't supposed to have great targets to throw to this year, but in a game in which both WR Andrew Nowacki and WR Fred Stamps were kept quiet, both WR Adarius Bowman and WR Jason Barnes had over 100 yards and had three TDs between them. The defense forced four turnovers as well, and when you can go +4 in the turnover department in a game against the defending conference champs when you're expected to be the worst team in the league, you've definitely accomplished something special.
Still, this is clearly an overreaction to what we have seen in just one week. Hamilton is clearly the better team in this game for the course of an 18 game season, and as long as the road trip doesn't get to it, it should be the winner of this one more often than not. That being said, we have to take the Tiger-Cats +1.5 on Saturday night for yet another upset.