LIONS (5-2) at ALOUETTES (2-5)
Tonight: 6:30 p.m.; TV: TSN
B.C. line: B.C. got killed in the time of possession battle, lost the field position battle and -- usually most important -- also lost the turnover battle and yet still found a way to beat Calgary at BC Place last week, once again cementing the Lions' long reputation as the best home team in the land. But while the Lions are 4-0 at home this season, they are just 1-2 on the road, which just happens to be where they are this week.
Montreal line: The Als lost both QB Anthony Calvillo and receiver Brandon London to injury in a loss in Regina last week and could have as many as 10 regulars out of their lineup when they host B.C. this week. Did we mention the Als have lost five of their last six games and have still yet to win under GM Jim Popp, who replaced Dan Hawkins as head coach two games ago?
Bottom line: Lions for fun.
STAMPEDERS (5-2) at ARGONAUTS (5-2)
Friday: 6:30 p.m.; TV: TSN
Calgary line: The Stamps lost a game to B.C. last week that they probably should have won. Making matters worse, they also lost all-star slotback Nik Lewis to a broken fibula in the game and, just Wednesday, it emerged all-star running back Jon Cornish also has a "thigh contusion" and is questionable against the Argos this week.
Toronto line: The Argos gave up 511 yards passing to a rookie quarterback and very nearly lost at home last week to the second worst team in the CFL, the 1-6 Eskimos. But they don't give extra points for style and at this point the question no longer seems whether the Argos will win the anemic East Division, but rather by how much.
Bottom line: No Cornish? No chance.
BLUE BOMBERS (1-6) at TIGER-CATS (3-4)
Saturday: noon; TV: TSN
Bombers Line: The Bombers head into Guelph off yet another week of front-office tumult. With Gary Crowton fired as offensive co-ordinator earlier this week and Marcel Bellefeuille taking over, Winnipeg is hoping the offence can find some traction for the first time all season. Left unaddressed is how the firing of Crowton addresses the sieve-like qualities of a Bombers secondary that gave up 250 passing yards to Hamilton QB Henry Burris last week -- in the first half.
Hamilton line: After opening the regular season at 1-4, the Ticats have won their last two on the road and have looked vastly improved in recent weeks, including in a 37-18 throttling of the Bombers at Investors Group Field last week. The Ticats have already beaten the Bombers twice this season -- three times if you count the pre-season -- and a rivalry that in recent years tilted demonstrably in Winnipeg's favour seems now to lean the other way.
Bottom line: The Winnipeg defence looked overmatched last week.
ROUGHRIDERS (6-1) at ESKIMOS (1-6)
Saturday: 4 p.m.; TV: TSN
Saskatchewan line: Only a late collapse by the Montreal defence in the dying minutes of the fourth quarter saved the Riders last week from a huge upset loss at home that would also have been their second straight defeat after opening the season at 5-0. The Riders also lost receiver Rob Bagg in the game, although the news this week was that Bagg had only sprained the knee and had not torn his ACL, as was initially feared.
Edmonton line: For the third week in a row, Edmonton QB Mike Reilly led an epic fourth-quarter comeback. Alas, for the third week in a row Reilly and the Eskimos were in a hole too big to dig out of by the time the fourth quarter rolled around and the comeback bid yet again came up short as a 17-3 run in the final frame still produced a 36-33 loss to the Argos.
Bottom line: This game isn't nearly as lopsided as the regular-season records suggest.
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: B.C., Calgary, Hamilton, Edmonton
Lyons: B.C., Toronto, Hamilton, Saskatchewan
Lawless: B.C., Toronto, Hamilton, Saskatchewan
Brown: B.C., Toronto, Hamilton, Edmonton
Tait: B.C., Toronto, Hamilton, Saskatchewan
Wiecek: B.C., Toronto, Hamilton, Saskatchewan
Last week/overall: Lyons 3-1/19-9; Tait 3-1/19-9; Wiecek 3-1/18-10; Lawless 2-2/17-11; Brown 3-1/17-11; Irving 3-1/16-12.