TIGER-CATS (1-4) at ESKIMOS (1-4)
Tonight: 8 p.m.; TV: TSN/NBCSN
Hamilton line: The Kent Austin era in Ticat land has started with a meow more than a roar. Hamilton's injured list is long and extensive and they'll crawl into Commonwealth Stadium missing a ton of regulars, including centre Marwan Hage, defensive back Evan McCollough, safety Erik Harris, linebacker Brandon Isaac, running back Lindsey Lamar, slotback Andy Fantuz and offensive tackle Marc Dile. The Ticats' lone victory came against the Bombers, and while they moved the ball last week against Saskatchewan -- almost 400 yards passing -- their ground game has been anemic. Lindsey Lamar will miss this week with a concussion, meaning the Ticats will turn to C.J. Gable and Chevon Walker in an attempt to get the running attack chugging.
Edmonton line: The Eskimos are reeling from consecutive losses and the end of a game in Montreal in which they couldn't punch the ball in from the one-yard line on the final play. Running out of the shotgun from that spot has folks in Edmonton still cursing. The Esks saw some growth in the play of QB Mike Reilly, though he was yanked early in last week's loss to Montreal. He completed 16 of 28 passes for 262 yards and two TDs and was brilliant in driving the club into position late in the game. But there is concern about the porous Esks run defence: Montreal's Brandon Whitaker rushed for 162 yards last week.
BLUE BOMBERS (1-4) at LIONS (3-2)
Monday: 6 p.m. TV: TSN; Radio: CJOB
Winnipeg line: The big story in Bomberland is splashed all over the pages of this sports section today -- Justin Goltz will be the No. 1 QB going forward, with Buck Pierce being straight-armed to the sideline. Winnipeg has dropped three straight and its issues are far more wide-ranging than just quarterback play. The club has yet to effectively and consistently run Chad Simpson, although head coach Tim Burke said this week they'll do so, "hook or by crook." More alarming has been the play of the defence, which was torched by Calgary's third-string pivot, Bo Levi Mitchell, last week and has seen opponents' last three starting QBs complete close to 90 per cent of their passes for over 1,000 yards and seven TDs during the losing skid. And, oh yeah, the kicking game has been a question mark, too.
B.C. line: The Lions don't take losing very well and so Tuesday's loss in Toronto, a game in which they were pushed around and coughed and sputtered in the red zone (four field goals on four visits inside Toronto's 10-yard line) figures to leave them in an ornery mood. What's worse, rookie O-lineman Kirby Fabien was lost for the season with a knee injury in the loss to the Argos. The Lions are hoping the return of receiver Emmanuel Arceneaux can bring some big-play explosiveness to an offence that relies heavily on Winnipegger Andrew Harris to do most of the heavy lifting.
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 football writers Paul Wiecek and Ed Tait:
Irving: Edmonton, B.C.
Lyons: Edmonton, B.C.
Lawless: Edmonton, B.C.
Brown: Edmonton, B.C.
Tait: Edmonton, B.C.
Wiecek: Edmonton, B.C.
Last week/overall: Irving 3-1/11-9; Lyons 3-1/14-6; Lawless 4-0/13-7; Brown 2-2/11-9; Tait 3-1/14-6; Wiecek 3-1/14-6.