Blue Bomber Report Record: 6–7–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

WEEK 1 IN THE CFL

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SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS at HAMILTON TIGER-CATS

Tonight, 6 p.m. TV: TSN

Vegas line: Hamilton -7.5

Riders line: Like a prairie storm blowing over the land, change has ripped through Riderville. Things are still settling into place. Darian Durant has not been sharp in the pre-season and rookie coach Corey Chamblin is banning fans from practices. Good start, everyone.

Ticats line: Henry Burris has new life. That's what everyone is saying after the veteran grew a little stale with the Stamps last season. How long can he stay fresh? We have concerns about the run game and the defensive line, but let's save those for another day.

Bottom line: Chamblin's paranoia instructs the Riders to not run any plays. People might see something.

WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS at B.C. LIONS

Tonight, 9 p.m. TV: TSN Radio: CJOB

Vegas line: B.C. -7.5

Bombers line: Curb your enthusiasm. Offensive co-ordinator Gary Crowton, while new to the CFL, has been around a pigskin long enough to know that you don't re-invent the wheel in a month of practice. Defensively, the front seven is a curiosity. Was there too much tinkering this winter?

Lions line: There's a theory out there that B.C. is bound to fall off, given the high-level they were playing at a year ago. There's also a theory new coach Mike Benevides will struggle in Wally Buono's shadow. Lots of theories out there, yes, but no matter -- they remain a solid team.

Bottom line: A puncher's chance is still a chance, right?

TORONTO ARGONAUTS at EDMONTON ESKIMOS

Saturday, 6 p.m. TV: TSN

Vegas line: Toronto -1.5

Argos line: Ricky Ray will be fine once everyone gets used to the fact that the Argos have a real quarterback under centre. Imagine the disbelief on Cory Boyd's face as he takes the ball from Ray or the shock in a receiver's eyes when a pass isn't shorted? There's an adjustment period, folks.

Eskimos line: Did you watch TSN's 'Top 50 CFL Players' special the other day? Did you notice only one starting quarterback in the CFL wasn't on the list? The Eskimos fans did. Steven Jyles should give Jimmy Carson a call. He might have a few thoughts on how to replace a Hall of Famer in Edmonton.

Bottom line: Fans clad in Green and Gold cheering for a guy in Double Blue.

MONTREAL ALOUETTES at CALGARY STAMPEDERS

Sunday, 6 p.m. TV: TSN

Vegas line: Calgary -2.5

Alouettes line: Montreal hasn't exactly wowed everyone with their play this pre-season. There's no concern, as they arguably have the best quarterback (Calvillo), the best receiver (Richardson) and the best running back (Whitaker) to work with. Now, about that defence...

Stamps line: Of the eight teams, Calgary presents the biggest mystery. They make a few changes every off-season and every November ends with a disappointing playoff loss. Are they better than Edmonton and Saskatchewan? Yes. Can they knock the Lions down a peg? Doubtful. Start printing those West Division semifinal tickets, Calgary.

Bottom line: The winner of this game gets Ameet Pall.

THE PICKS

The Free Press has assembled a panel to offer their fearless predictions every week. Joining us this year are CJOB's Bob Irving, and from the Free Press, sports editor Steve Lyons, columnists Gary Lawless and Doug Brown (who also serves as an 'OB analyst), lead football writer Paul Wiecek and reporter Adam Wazny.

Irving: Hamilton, B.C., Edmonton, Montreal

Lyons: Hamilton, B.C., Toronto, Calgary

Lawless: Saskatchewan, B.C., Edmonton, Calgary

Brown: Hamilton, B.C., Edmonton, Calgary

Wiecek: Hamilton, B.C., Toronto, Calgary

Wazny: Hamilton, B.C., Toronto, Montreal

-- Adam Wazny

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 29, 2012 C4

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