EDMONTON ESKIMOS at WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS
Tonight, 7:30 p.m. TV: TSN. Radio: CJOB.
Vegas line: Edmonton -3.5
Bombers line: Buoyed by an almost-win in Toronto last week, the club is confident that playing in front of the home crowd will put them over the top. Hmm. Too many question marks are still present. The biggest: Can Alex Brink get this team into the end zone?
Eskimos line: Well, isn't this an interesting start to the season? Not many had them with just one loss at this point. Another win against Winnipeg would confirm two things about their lofty July position: Good teams win on the road, and good teams beat the teams with lesser records.
Bottom line: Screen pass, Winnipeg. Ever heard of it?
TORONTO ARGONAUTS at MONTREAL ALOUETTES
Friday, 6:30 p.m. TV: TSN.
Vegas line: Montreal -4.5
Argos line: Everyone is all jazzed up about this defence, but they haven't really played a good offence yet. Calgary's Drew Tate was hurt against them and Henry Burris hung three TDs on them in a Ticats win. Don't get us wrong -- they're a good unit. Not all-in yet, that's all.
Als line: Concern in Montreal. The defence can't stop a coed flag-football team and the offence has not looked like the well-oiled machine everyone envisioned before the season. Special teams are also a big worry. What's going on here? Just give it some time, people say. We're not getting any younger, guys.
Bottom line: Is this the week a quarterback hangs 60 on the Montreal defence?
HAMILTON TIGER-CATS at SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS
Saturday, 5 p.m. TV: TSN.
Vegas line: Saskatchewan -4.5
Ticats line: So far, we'd say the Henry Burris-Andy Fantuz acquisitions are looking pretty good in Steeltown. Smilin' Hank was excellent against Montreal, though that defence will make any quarterback grin from ear to ear. Chris Williams leads the CFL in showboating. Congrats.
Riders line: Things were looking so good in Calgary last week, and then Darian Durant forgot that he doesn't have to do it all by himself. Yikes. No one throws gasoline on the fire like Durant. That said, they should have won the game. Weston Dressler's bad drop in overtime was the metaphor you're searching for.
Bottom line: If boxes of Fantuz Flakes don't find their way to the Hamilton bench, we'll be very disappointed.
B.C. LIONS at CALGARY STAMPEDERS
Saturday, 8 p.m. TV: TSN.
Vegas line: Calgary -2.5
Lions line: Travis Lulay is turning the ball over too much, true, but shouldn't this team be good enough to survive a few hiccups? Meanwhile, Andrew Harris leads the offence, but he's starting to draw a crowd. Defensively, this group seems bored. Grey Cups and long seasons will do that, we suppose.
Stamps line: Is Nik Lewis the best receiver in the league right now? Hurdling over two defenders is pretty cool, no question about it. Added bonus: His play is taking the attention away from Jon Cornish's struggles. What is going on with that guy?
Bottom line: Big game for the Lions, who have lost two straight.
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 (who also serves as the 'OB football game analyst), lead football writer Paul Wiecek and reporter Adam Wazny.
Irving: Winnipeg, Montreal, Hamilton, B.C.
Lyons: Winnipeg, Montreal, Saskatchewan, B.C.
Lawless: Edmonton, Montreal, Saskatchewan, B.C.
Brown: Winnipeg, Montreal, Saskatchewan, B.C.
Wiecek: Winnipeg, Montreal, Saskatchewan, Calgary
Wazny: Edmonton, Montreal, Saskatchewan, B.C.
Last week (overall): Irving 3-1 (11-5); Lyons 1-3 (10-6); Lawless 1-3 (10-6); Brown 1-3 (9-7); Wazny 2-2 (9-7); Wiecek 1-3 (8-8).
-- Adam Wazny