LIONS (8-4) at BLUE BOMBERS (2-10)
Tonight, 7 p.m. TV: TSN
B.C. Line: While there's been lots of attention on the absence of injured starting QB Travis Lulay from the B.C. lineup, Thomas DeMarco showed himself to be a capable backup with a 24-22 win in Saskatchewan in his CFL debut last week. Plus, the B.C. defence -- which leads the league in several key categories, including net yards surrendered -- is probably the best part of this Lions team anyway.
Winnipeg line: The Bombers have been a roller coaster ride the last three weeks: beating Saskatchewan in the Banjo Bowl; getting drilled in Edmonton the next week; and then jumping out to a 20 point lead on the Eskimos last week at Investors Group Field only to blow it and lose in overtime. Which Bombers team shows up tonight? All of them, probably.
Bottom line: Winnipeg has the worst offence in the league, B.C. has one of the best defences. You do the math.
STAMPEDERS (9-3) at TIGER-CATS (6-6)
Saturday, 5 p.m.. TV: TSN
Calgary line: The Stampeders lost for the first time at home in 11 regular-season games last week, letting one slip away late in a 33-27 loss to the Toronto Argonauts. But the Stamps are no slouches on the road, boasting a league second-best 4-2 record this season. And Calgary continues to be the most opportunistic team in the league, boasting a league-best plus-13 in the takeaways/giveaways department.
Hamilton line: Ticats QB Henry Burris continues to lead the league in passing yards by a wide margin -- his 3,765 yards this season is almost 700 yards better than the next most prolific CFL QB, Edmonton's Mike Reilly, who has 3,085. But Burris has also been throwing more interceptions in recent weeks and his TD-INT ratio of 20:12 has now fallen below the 2:1 ratio considered the gold standard for that statistical category.
Bottom Line: Burris historically puts forth an above average effort against his former teammates from Calgary.
ARGONAUTS (8-4) at ESKIMOS (3-9)
Saturday, 8 p.m. TV: TSN
Toronto line: The Argos are nothing less than the hottest team in the CFL right now, rattling off their third straight win last week in a win at McMahon Stadium over a Calgary team that had been money at home until the Argos showed up.
Edmonton line: The Eskimos had won just once all season and had an eight-game losing streak on the go until they had the good fortune the last two weeks of playing the Bombers, the CFL's free space on the bingo card.
Bottom line: The Argos have a league-best 5-1 record on the road.
ROUGHRIDERS (8-4) at ALOUETTES (4-8)
Sunday, noon TV: TSN
Saskatchewan line: There was no team in the CFL better than the 8-1 Riders the first half of the season -- and there's been no team worse than the 0-3 Riders ever since. Who is this team really? All the current evidence would seem to suggest they were never as good as their early record suggested -- but they're also not nearly as bad as they've shown the last three weeks.
Montreal line: After opening the regular season at 1-5, the Als rattled off three straight wins to get back into the conversation at 4-5. But it's been downhill ever since, with the Als coming into this week riding a three-game losing streak of their own.
Bottom line: Two teams mired in difficulties and riding three-game losing streaks go head to head? Someone's going to win, but it's not likely going to be the viewing public.
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 and football writers Paul Wiecek and Ed Tait:
Irving: B.C., Hamilton, Toronto, Montreal
Lyons: B.C., Hamilton, Toronto, Saskatchewan
Lawless: B.C., Calgary, Toronto, Saskatchewan
Brown: B.C., Calgary, Toronto, Saskatchewan
Tait: B.C., Calgary, Toronto, Saskatchewan
Wiecek: B.C., Calgary, Toronto, Saskatchewan
Last week/overall: Tait 2-2/31-17; Lyons 1-3/30-18; ; Wiecek 2-2/30-18; Lawless 2-2/29-19; Brown 2-2/29-19; Irving 1-3/27-21.
-- Paul Wiecek