HAMILTON TIGER-CATS at MONTREAL ALOUETTES
Tonight, 6:30 p.m. TV: TSN.
Vegas line: Montreal -4.5
Ticats line: Let's try to get through this before Henry Burris puts the football on the carpet again. The defence is in shambles and it looks like running back Chevon Walker is out for this one. How much does Avon Cobourne have left? The good news is Chris Williams. Period. Oh no, BALL'S OUT!
Alouettes line: After blowing the doors off the Eskimos defence and setting the cruise control for the second half, the offence gets an easier challenge this week. If Anthony Calvillo doesn't have this one on autopilot during the third quarter, something is terribly wrong in Montreal. OK, maybe not.
Final line: Does anyone like the 'Cats here?
at WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS
Friday, 7 p.m. TV: TSN. Radio: CJOB.
Vegas line: B.C. -5.5
Lions line: The defence hasn't surrendered a touchdown in three games and has only allowed 22 points in that same span. Yikes! That's stiffer than a shot of Maker's Mark. On the other side of the ball, Travis Lulay has been rock solid since a loss to the Eskimos last month. No picks in three games.
Bombers line: The Joey Elliott Experience takes the training wheels off this week. The Lions defence isn't the final exam, but it will provide everyone with a better sense of where the quarterback is development wise. Defensively, they still have problems. Everyone who has been waiting for the Bombers to come around -- this is the test.
Final line: Someone should tell Elliott the Lions have a pass rush.
at SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS
Saturday, 2 p.m. TV: TSN.
Vegas line: Saskatchewan -2.5
Stamps line: Battle of two teams who could really use a win. In the red corner, we have Kevin Glenn, who is doing just enough to fall just short on the scoreboard. His numbers aren't terrible, but they don't jump off the page, either. And there's the first draft of the biography, folks.
Riders line: In the green corner, we have Darian Durant, a quarterback who continues to frustrate an entire province with his play. Talk of benching him has surfaced. What happened in Regina? A four-game losing streak after a 3-0 start has Rider Nation in a full-on panic. Be strong, green.
Final line: Durant has to run the ball more to be effective.
at TORONTO ARGONAUTS
Monday, 6:30 p.m. TV: TSN.
Vegas line: Toronto -2.5
Eskimos line: The big attraction will be the return of Cory Boyd to the Big Smoke. The running back, a top rusher in the CFL for a few seasons now, should have a bigger impact to the Eskimos offence than the nine total yards he put forth in his debut last week. We'll see.
Argos line: It's too bad coach Scott Milanovich didn't open his post-game scrum in Calgary with "How do you like Chad Kackert now?" That would have been cool. What does Kackert (14 carries, 94 yards; 5 catches, 41 yards) do for an encore? The Argos new starting tailback will be going up against an Eskimos defence with something to prove.
Final line: Wait, this game is Monday night? Neat.
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: Montreal, B.C., Calgary, Toronto
Lyons: Montreal, B.C., Saskatchewan, Toronto
Lawless: Montreal, B.C., Saskatchewan, Toronto
Brown: Montreal, B.C., Saskatchewan, Edmonton
Wiecek: Montreal, B.C., Saskatchewan, Toronto
Wazny: Montreal, B.C., Saskatchewan, Toronto
Last week (overall): Irving 2-2 (18-10); Lyons 3-1 (15-13); Lawless 0-4 (12-16); Brown 2-2 (15-13); Wiecek 1-3 (10-18); Wazny 2-2 (14-14).