December 6, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Friday: 8 p.m. TV: TSN
Calgary line: The Stamps have won three straight, thanks in large part to the work of running back Jon Cornish. The nifty Canadian is chasing two rushing marks -- he is 351 yards shy of Willie Burden's club record set in 1975 and is just 455 yards shy of becoming just the second running back in CFL history to eclipse the 2,000-yard mark (Mike Pringle set the record with 2,065 in 1998).
Edmonton line: The Esks own the dubious distinction of being the first team eliminated from the CFL playoffs after last week's loss in Regina. The big discussion point in Edmonton this week? The club record for losses in a single-season is 14, set in 1963. The Esks have Calgary, Saskatchewan and B.C. in their final three games. Hello.
Bottom line: The Battle of Alberta used to be riveting drama. Now... not so much.
Saturday: 2:30 p.m. TV: TSN
Toronto line: Back-to-back losses to arch-rival Hamilton have the Argos doing some soul-searching this week. Ricky Ray returned last week and threw for 303 yards, but his last throw -- picked off in the end zone by Arthur Hobbs in a 24-18 defeat -- was his first pick of the season. Toronto will have dominant DB Patrick Watkins back as they attempt to lock down top spot in the East.
Winnipeg line: There were just enough positives in last week's win in Montreal to make this game still interesting for Bomber faithful. As QB duels go, Ray vs. Max Hall doesn't exactly scream out marquee matchup, but the Bomber pivot did flash some promise against the Als.
Bottom line: The Bombers haven't won consecutive games since the late summer of 2011. Just sayin'.
Saturday: 6 p.m. TV: TSN
B.C. line: A loss by the Leos locks them into third in the West and eliminates them from having a chance to host a home playoff game -- critical for a club 6-1 in their own park. Thomas DeMarco will start again at QB for the injured Travis Lulay. The Lions are 2-2 with him behind centre.
Saskatchewan line: The Riders have thrown up a couple of wins in a row, both of them built on defence -- first holding the Lions to 17 points and then the Eskimos to just nine last week. Kory Sheets returned to breathe life into the ground game but Darian Durant's numbers over the past two games -- just 404 yards passing with two TDs and two picks -- are disconcerting.
Bottom line: DeMarco rallied the Lions in their last visit to Regina. A second time? Not likely.
Sunday: noon TV: TSN
Hamilton line: There's a lot to like about the Tabbies of late with their consecutive wins over the Argos, Kent Austin's guidance of Henry Burris and the work of running back C.J. Gable.
Montreal line: The Als were in some serious soul-searching mode this week -- a loss at home to the lowly Bombers the source of their angst -- and still insist they are a worthy playoff squad. But the big story is that Troy Smith, the former Heisman Trophy winner from Ohio State, will likely make his first start at QB.
Bottom line: The Ticats are playing the kind of football right now that makes them a scary opponent come playoff time.
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: Calgary, Winnipeg, Saskatchewan, Hamilton.
Lyons: Calgary, Toronto, Saskatchewan, Hamilton.
Lawless: Calgary, Toronto, Saskatchewan, Hamilton.
Brown: Calgary, Toronto, Saskatchewan, Hamilton.
Tait: Calgary, Toronto, Saskatchewan, Hamilton.
Wiecek: Calgary, Toronto, Saskatchewan, Hamilton.
Last week/overall: Tait 3-1/38-22; Wiecek 2-2/36-24; Lyons 2-2/36-24; Lawless 2-2/36-24; Brown 2-2/35-25; Irving 2-2/35-25
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 18, 2013 C4