B.C. LIONS (6-2) at MONTREAL ALOUETTES (5-3)
Tonight, 6:30 p.m. TV: TSN
Vegas line: B.C. -1.5
Lions line: How about this game to kick off the long weekend, eh? The Leos have won four straight and are still the best defence in the CFL. Winnipeg snuck a touchdown past them last week, but scoring on them has been next to impossible. Defensive line terror Khalif Mitchell is back from suspension.
Alouettes line: They let Hamilton hang around all game, only to win on a last-second field goal. Hey, come to think of it -- both of these teams won on a game-ending field goal last week. Huh. That just makes this contest tougher to handicap. Can the statuesque Anthony Calvillo survive against the B.C. front seven?
Bottom line: Contender or cream of the lowly East crop? We'll have a better handle on the Als after tonight.
WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS (2-6) at SASK. ROUGHRIDERS (3-5)
Sunday, 3 p.m. TV: TSN. Radio: CJOB.
Vegas line: Saskatchewan -6.5
Bombers line: Winnipeg came close last week, playing like a club that plays hard for its coach, so the dismissal of Paul LaPolice leaves questions. How will new coach Tim Burke impact this roster? If discipline starts at the top, doesn't GM Joe Mack have something to do with that? How does Burke make the offence better? We could go on.
Riders line: Meanwhile, six hours west of Winnipeg, the Riders are in an equal, but different, kind of disarray. The Green Machine signed Joe Lobendahn this week. He'll join Odell Willis, Brendon LaBatte, Aaron Hargreaves and Terence Jeffers-Harris in the 'former Bomber' department. Good times coming back again.
Bottom line: Given the struggles on both sides, calling this a classic is a bit of a reach.
TORONTO ARGONAUTS (4-4) at HAMILTON TIGER-CATS (3-5)
Monday, noon. TV: TSN
Vegas line: Hamilton -3.5
Argos line: Losing at home to the Eskimos wasn't good for business, and here we are at .500 looking like a team who's just not ready to stand up and be counted among the elite. The good news for fans (and defenders) of the East Division this season: One of these teams will get a win. Probably.
Ticats line: They've lost three straight games, giving up an average of 31 points in those contests. Stopping anyone has been difficult, and defensive co-ordinator Casey Creehan is feeling the heat. Head coach George Cortez should just toss his challenge flags out during the anthem and get it over with.
Bottom line: Hamilton is the only reason Winnipeg still has hope this season.
EDMONTON ESKIMOS (5-3) at CALGARY STAMPEDERS (4-4)
Monday, 3:30 p.m. TV: TSN
Vegas line: Calgary -3.5
Eskimos line: Time to admit it -- this club may be for real. At no point were they in any trouble against the Argos, even with 57-year-old Kerry Joseph under centre. In fact, the offence looked better with him calling the shots. What's that? He's only 38? Sorry, man. Good job.
Stamps line: Just when you think Kevin Glenn and the Horsemen are ready to be put down, they win. And vice-versa. We seem to recall this frustration last year with Hamilton. See a common denominator here? Reports are Drew Tate's shoulder is ahead of schedule. Just saying.
Bottom line: Flip a quarter.
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, lead football writer Paul Wiecek and reporter Adam Wazny.
Irving: Montreal, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Calgary
Lyons: Montreal, Saskatchewan, Hamilton, Calgary
Lawless: Montreal, Saskatchewan, Toronto, Edmonton
Brown: Montreal, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Calgary
Wiecek: B.C., Winnipeg, Hamilton, Calgary
Wazny: B.C., Saskatchewan, Hamilton, Calgary
Last week (overall): Irving 3-1 (21-11); Lyons 2-2 (17-15); Lawless 2-2 (14-18); Brown 3-1 (18-14); Wiecek 2-2 (12-20); Wazny 2-2 (16-16).