Esks in line dance

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:26 AM ET

Facing an angry B.C. Lions club looking for redemption on the scoreboard after last week's loss, the Edmonton Eskimos will be missing the leader of their defensive line for tonight's rematch at Commonwealth Stadium.

Dario Romero will not dress because of a leg injury, forcing rookie Joe Anoai to fill the gap at defensive tackle.

"(Anoai) played well against Hamilton," said head coach Danny Maciocia, referring to the last time the rookie played on Sept. 13.

Edmonton will be missing their top D-line tackler (27) and co-leader in the sack department (six) with Romero on the sidelines.

The Eskimos do gain a veteran along the front four this week with Fred Perry returning from a broken leg suffered on July 20.

But to get Perry on the field, Maciocia decided to bench a healthy Jim Davis - who is tied with Romero for the sack lead.

The Green and Gold coaching staff could have kept Davis on the field tonight by moving him back to his old defensive tackle position to fill Romero's void.

But Anoai received the assignment, meaning the two players - Davis and Romero - who have produced 40% of the Esks sacks this year are off the roster for this game.

"I was a bit surprised," said Davis on coming off the roster after one sack and one fumble recovery last week.

"(But) being a team player is what is most important. This isn't the time (of the year) to be selfish."

This is the time of the year for the Esks to make a serious push to get a home playoff game. Edmonton and B.C. are in a three-way tie for second in the West Division, two points behind first-place Calgary.

A victory tonight gives Edmonton the series win over the Lions with two games left in the regular season.

But the Lions are looking to make amends after a terrible offensive display last week.

"In my three years (with the Lions) - worst offensive performance I have been through," said B.C. offensive tackle Rob Murphy.

Added B.C. starting quarterback Buck Pierce: "We just weren't very good offensively. The blame falls more on us than credit to them (last week). I didn't do my job."

Pierce was yanked off the field in the second half after completing 10-of-18 passes for only 90 yards last Friday.

Geroy Simon - the league's leading receiver - was kept to just one catch for six yards.

Edmonton's secondary believes Simon will be a key part of the Lions attack this evening.

"They are going to look to give him the ball this week by any means necessary - even if it has to be a reverse or a screen. Somehow they are going to give him the ball," said Eskimos defensive back Jason Goss.

On offence, the Esks will need to produce more in the second half after scoring just three points in the final 30 minutes last week.

It was the same story two weeks ago against Winnipeg.

"Maybe we are just trying to protect the lead instead of going out there and playing like we did in the first half," reasoned Edmonton quarterback Ricky Ray for the lack of production.

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WHO HAS THE EDGE?

Quarterback - Eskimos

Defensive line - BC Lions

Running back - Eskimos

Linebackers - BC Lions

Receivers - Eskimos

Secondary - Eskimos

Offensive line - Eskimos

Return game - BC Lions

Coaching - BC Lions

Kicking - BC Lions


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