TIGER-CATS (6-11) at ARGONAUTS (8-9)
Today, 6:30 p.m.; TV: TSN
Toronto line: This game doesn't mean much to the Argos, who've already clinched second place and will host the East semifinal no matter what happens this week. With nothing on the line, Toronto head coach Scott Milanovich announced this week that he will let starter Ricky Ray take the week off to rest and he will give the ball instead to backup Jarious Jackson.
Hamilton line: The Ticats need two things to happen this week in order to make the playoffs -- they need to win and Edmonton needs to lose. Any other scenario and Hamilton is eliminated and Toronto will play a team from the West Division in the East semifinal.
Bottom line: Hamilton needs it more. A lot more.
STAMPEDERS (11-6) at ESKIMOS (7-10)
Friday, 8 p.m.; TV: TSN
Calgary line: The Stamps have nothing on the line this week, having already clinched second place in the West Division no matter what happens. But running back Jon Cornish does have something to play for -- if he rushes for at least 50 yards, he will break Normie Kwong's 56-year-old record for rushing yards in a single season by a Canadian.
Edmonton line: If Hamilton wins tonight, the Eskimos will have to win this one to make the playoffs. And even if Hamilton loses, the Esks still have something on the line -- an Edmonton win and a Saskatchewan loss this weekend would mean the Esks finish third overall in the West and play Calgary in the semifinal, while Saskatchewan would become the crossover team and play Toronto in the other semifinal. Of course, you could argue that the easier path to the Grey Cup goes through Toronto, meaning crossing over might be the better scenario this year anyway.
Bottom line: Depending on what Hamilton does, the Eskimos will either need a win to keep their season alive or a win will be of very questionable benefit to them.
ALOUETTES (11-6) at BLUE BOMBERS (5-12)
Saturday, 2 p.m.; TV: TSN; Radio: CJOB
Montreal line: The Als have already clinched first place in the East Division and will start at quarterback their backup, Adrian McPherson, in place of Anthony Calvillo.
Winnipeg line: The Bombers were the first team in Canada to be eliminated from the playoffs this season and are going with third-string Alex Brink as their starting quarterback this week and will also be without both their regular tailbacks, veteran slotback, their latest strong-side linebacker, their defensive tackle etc...
Bottom line: The Bombers could at least salvage something of this season by making the final game ever to be played at Canad Inns Stadium -- no, really, this time we're serious -- a win for the home team.
ROUGHRIDERS (8-9) at LIONS (12-5)
Saturday, 9 p.m.; TV: TSN
Saskatchewan line: Again -- if Edmonton wins, then Saskatchewan would need to win to finish third in the West and face Calgary in the West semifinal. Alternatively, if Edmonton wins and Saskatchewan loses, then the Riders would finish fourth in the West and cross over to play Toronto in the East semifinal. And if Edmonton loses, Saskatchewan automatically finishes third in the West no matter what they do in this game. Got all that?
B.C. line: The Lions have first place in the West all wrapped up in a neat bow, but head coach Mike Benevides will still want to get at least some reps for starting QB Travis Lulay, who's missed the last couple weeks with a sore throwing shoulder.
Bottom line: If Edmonton wins, Saskatchewan might be better off losing this game. And that might be interesting to watch.
THE PICKS (straight up)
The Free Press has assembled a panel this season 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 lead football writer Paul Wiecek.
Lyons: Toronto, Edmonton, Montreal, B.C.
Irving: Hamilton, Edmonton, Winnipeg, B.C.
Brown: Hamilton, Edmonton, Winnipeg, B.C.
Lawless: Hamilton, Edmonton, Winnipeg, B.C.
Wiecek: Hamilton, Edmonton, Montreal, B.C.
Last week (overall): Lyons 3-1 (42-26); Irving 2-2 (40-28); Brown 1-3 (37-31); Lawless 2-2 (34-34); Wiecek 1-3 (31-37)