Dirty 30 days ahead

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:01 AM ET

EDMONTON -- Call this movie 30 Days of Fight.

Starting tonight at Commonwealth Stadium (7 p.m., TSN), the Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Eskimos will knock heads for the first of three meetings in a span of 30 days.

This is almost another version of training camp with the team lining up against the same people over and over again. Tempers will eventually flare up.

"As if we don't like these guys enough," said Stamps receiver Ryan Thelwell with due sarcasm. "But this game sets the tone for the next two. It's not just a West Division opponent, but we're battling for first place. Somebody is going to be up after this game, and somebody is going to be down. We always talk about Labour Day, but this one sets the tone."

Both teams will enjoy a bye-week after tonight's outing.

The Stampeders travel to Toronto the following week, while the Esks host the Hamilton Tiger-Cats before the Labour Day doubleheader.

With both teams 3-3, neither wants to have time off after having given away first place in the division.

"This is a huge one," said Stamps running back Joffrey Reynolds. "This could define the season. Whoever gets the sweep or comes out 2-1 could end up in first place at the end."

"The toughest thing when it comes to these games is game planning," said Eskimos quarterback Ricky Ray. "You almost run out of stuff new to throw at them. Each game you are trying to come up with new stuff and different looks.

"By the third game, it's tough to draw new things up."


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