CFL Countdown

STEVE COAD -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 7:40 AM ET

Winnipeg (3-9) at Ottawa (5-6)

The skinny: Tonight, 8 p.m. (TSN). Three weeks ago, the Ottawa Renegades were 5-3 and in first place in the CFL East. What a team, we thought. Three straight loses since have them reeling and us rethinking -- and it all began with a 38-17 pasting at the hands of the not-so-great Kablooie Bombers Aug. 19 in Winnipeg. The win apparently didn't do much for the Riders, who have lost three straight and have pretty well taken themselves out of the playoff picture in the West. Bottom line: Both teams need this one to end serious losing streaks. The Renegades are coming off a 61-27 bashing by B.C., a margin that would have been more unflattering to Ottawa had the 10-0 Lions not had two touchdowns called back by penalties. The Bombers seem to be in every game, but hardly ever win.

Cody's call: Ottawa 24-20

Calgary (5-6) at Hamilton (2-9)

The skinny: Tomorrow, 7 p.m. (TSN). Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Calgary Stampeders are the nightcap in a historic double dip at Ivor Wynne Stadium that begins in the afternoon with the Western Mustangs taking on the McMaster Marauders in an Ontario University Athletics matchup at 2:30 p.m. (live on The Score). A lot of the football buzz in Hamilton these days surrounds the return of Burlington native Jesse Lumsden, who, as a member of the McMaster Marauders, spent the last four seasons running over and around Canadian university rivals. Cut recently by the NFL's Seattle Seahawks, Lumsden will sport Ticat black and gold rather than Marauder maroon and grey tomorrow. Lumsden said this week he's no saviour, but make no mistake, the kid can play. Tomorrow, however, he's expected to be limited to kick coverage and returns. Hope he breaks one. Meanwhile, the Stamps will be without quarterback Henry Burris, who had surgery this week to repair ligaments in his non-throwing hand. He's gone three to eight weeks and it's a crippling blow.

Cody's call: Ticats 33-21

Montreal (5-5) at B.C. (10-0)

The skinny: Tomorrow, 10 p.m. (CBC, RDS). B.C. Lions are off to their best start in franchise history and coming off one of their biggest wins ever, 61-27 over Ottawa. Lions quarterback Dave Dickenson returned from a shoulder injury and ripped the Renegades, completing 17 of 21 passes for 262 yards and two touchdowns. London's Ryan Thelwell was on the receiving end of a 54-yard TD strike from Dickenson that shot the Lions ahead 37-13 at 1:45 of the third quarter. Thelwell also hooked up with No. 3 pivot Buck Pierce on a 61-yard major in the fourth quarter, his longest TD catch of the season. All told, Thelwell's numbers include 45 catches for 662 yards and four TDs, leaving him second to fellow wideout Geroy Simon in all three categories among Lions' receivers. FYI: B.C. has four players with 40 or more receptions. The Als? Well, they're talented enough to topple the Leos but too inconsistent to allow us to trust them.

Cody's call: Lions 38-24

Edmonton (7-4) at Saskatchewan (5-6)

The skinny: Sunday, 4:30 p.m. (TSN). Danny Barrett had seen enough -- but not enough that impressed him -- to stick with Nealon Greene as his quarterback. So the Saskatchewan Roughriders head coach yanked Greene and inserted ex-Calgary Stampeder pivot Marcus Crandell. That was two weeks ago. Since Crandell's inclusion, all the Roughies have done is beat the Blue Bombers in back-to-back games, including a 19-17 victory last weekend that marked Saskatchewan's first win in Winnipeg since Sept. 11, 1994. The wins snapped the Roughies' five-game losing streak. Whipping Winnipeg is fine, but it's becoming hard to ditch the feeling the Roughriders are ready to bounce a more formidable opponent -- the Edmonton Eskimos, say. At 7-4, the run-challenged Eskimos are a disappointment. Cody's call: Roughriders 24-23

Season record

Last week: 3-1; overall: 32-17


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