ESKIMOS (1-3) AT ALOUETTES (1-3)
Tonight, 6:30 p.m.. TV:TSN
Edmonton Line: The Eskimos have the worst passing game and have scored the fewest points in the CFL under the leadership of starting QB Mike Reilly -- the former BC backup who many in Winnipeg were hoping would lead the Bombers offence this year until Edmonton traded for him prior to free agency last winter. Reilly is tied for the league lead in interceptions with Winnipeg's Buck Pierce and while he has shown flashes at times, this one looks like it could be a long, slow and steep learning curve.
Montreal Line: They're not used to losing in Montreal and patience is already wearing very thin for rookie head coach Dan Hawkins and a Montreal offence that has the quarterback looking like the Anthony Calvillo that got run out of Hamilton in the late 1990's instead of the one who has put together an unassailable hall of fame career in Montreal ever since. The better part of this team is a defence that is second only to Winnipeg in sacks this season and will surely be breathing fire down the neck of Reilly all night.
STAMPEDERS (3-1) AT BOMBERS (1-3)
Friday, 7 p.m.. TV:TSN Radio:CJOB
Calgary Line: The Stampeders have the deepest troika of quarterbacks in the CFL -- Drew Tate, Kevin Glenn and Bo Levi Mitchell -- and they've needed all of them lately after injuries, first to Tate and then last week to Glenn. Mitchell took first-team reps at practice in Calgary on Monday and Tuesday, but split the reps with Tate on Wednesday and it's now unclear who will start for Calgary versus Winnipeg. And that's exactly the way Stamps head coach John Hufnagel likes it -- Hufnagel said Wednesday his starter will be a game-day decision.
Winnipeg Line: Justin Goltz will get his first ever professional start on Friday in place of injured Buck Pierce. The Bombers say Pierce will still dress but will be relegated to third string. That means Max Hall moves up to backup this week, which in Winnipeg means Hall's also now the most popular man in town. Ba-da-boom. The Bombers defence is second only to Saskatchewan against the run and that will only be boosted this week by the return of lineman Bryant Turner. On the other hand, Jon Cornish.
ROUGHRIDERS (4-0) AT TIGER-CATS (1-3)
Saturday, 6:30 p.m. TV:TSN
Saskatchewan line: The Riders lead the CFL in the following categories: Offence -- most points scored, most TDs scored, most passing TDs, most first downs, most yards net offence, most yards rushing, highest average gain per pass, fewest interceptions, fewest sacks, fewest fumbles; Defence -- fewest yards net rushing, most interceptions, fewest TDs rushing, fewest TDs, fewest points. Any questions?
Hamilton line: Hamilton was embarassed 37-0 by the Riders in Regina last weekend, leading to a personnel shakeup this week that included the jettisoning of LB Markeith Knowlton, the 2010 CFL defensive player of the year. Hamilton's only win this season has come at their temporary home in Guelph against Winnipeg and with the worst run defence in the league, they seem particularly ill-suited to take on Saskatchewan and their league-leading rusher, Kory Sheets.
LIONS (3-1) AT ARGONAUTS (2-2)
Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. TV:TSN
BC Line: Lions QB Travis Lulay has thrown for fewer yards this season (974) than the Winnipeg QB tandem of Buck Pierce and Justin Goltz (1015), which seems hard to believe. But what they lack in aerial fireworks, the Lions make up for with a strong running game (they're second only to Saskatchewan) led by tailback Andrew Harris. And no defence in the country is better against the pass than the Lions, who've surrendered just 792 yards through the air in four games.
Toronto Line: Expect the crickets to out-number the fans for this rare Tuesday game that is just more evidence of how badly the Argos need to get out of Rogers Centre, where they play second-banana in terms of scheduling to the Blue Jays and everything else that goes through there. The few fans that do show up next Tuesday either will or will not see QB Ricky Ray, who was hurt in a win over Winnipeg last week and hasn't fully practised since. Toronto has two backups who've both shown promise this season -- Zach Collaros and Trevor Harris -- but it would be a tall order to ask either to take on the vaunted Lions defence.
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: Montreal, Calgary, Saskatchewan, BC
Lyons: Montreal, Calgary, Saskatchewan, BC
Lawless: Montreal, Calgary, Saskatchewan, Toronto
Brown: Montreal, Winnipeg, Saskatchewan, BC
Tait: Montreal, Calgary, Saskatchewan, BC
Wiecek: Montreal, Calgary, Saskatchewan, BC
Last week/overall: Irving 3-1/8-8; Lyons 4-0/11-5; Lawless 3-1/9-7; Brown 3-1/9-7; Tait 4-0/11-5; Wiecek 4-0/11-5
-- Paul Wiecek