CFL Countdown

STEVE COAD -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 9:03 AM ET

Toronto (2-4) at Montreal (6-0)

The skinny: Tonight, 7:30 p.m. (TSN). Quarterback Damon Allen's 43rd birthday last Saturday was quite a bash. Yup, Allen and the Argos got bashed (28-8 by the B.C. Lions). The Argos have no time to dwell on the loss, which is probably a good thing. The Boatmen, with only four days and a handful of hours to prepare, must tackle the undefeated Alouettes. The Argos, of course, are in big trouble -- not as big as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, mind you. The Argos' offence is injury-riddled, banged up at every position. Allen's return from that broken finger on his throwing hand means things are bound to improve for the double blue. They need to. Toronto's attack is anemic, unproductive and lacking in creativity. Their running game is virtually non-existent (witness Jeff Johnson's 19 yards on five carries against the Lions). While Als-Argos almost always carries the promise of a dandy matchup, this is clearly a meeting of two teams headed in opposite directions. The Als are strong in all areas, though they've started slowly in each of their six games. For instance, in their last start, Montreal led Edmonton only 7-6 through three quarters before getting a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter from running back Robert Edwards to pull away for a 21-13 win. All in all, this isn't shaping up as a fun night for the Argos, who need to get healthy and a lot more creative.

Cody's call: Alouettes 24-14

Hamilton (1-6) at Winnipeg (1-6)

The skinny: Tomorrow, 7:30 p.m. (TSN). The Blue Bombers humiliated the Tiger-Cats 29-0 last Friday at Ivor Wynne Stadium. Or did the Ticats embarrass themselves? In any case, it marked the first time since Oct. 8, 1951, the Ticats have been whitewashed at home. The Bombers were clearly dominant, causing usually upbeat Ticats head coach Ron Lancaster to say: "Winnipeg made us look bad. Winnipeg dominated the football game start to finish, on offence, defence and special teams." The Ticats planned to spend the week studying game film -- a horror film, in their case -- looking for ways to prevent a repeat. Hamilton will only fare better if No. 1 quarterback Jason Maas (hip pointer) is healthy enough to play. With five wins, the blossoming Bombers have matched their win total from last season.

Cody's call: Blue Bombers 33-17

Edmonton (2-4) at B.C. (4-3)

The skinny: Tomorrow, 10:30 p.m. (TSN). The Lions have put together back-to-back big games, thumping the Argos 28-8 last weekend after clobbering the Calgary Stampeders 43-20 two weeks ago. These days, the Lions are pummelling opponents with a one-two combination of quarterback Dave Dickenson and running back Joe Smith, a punishing runner who has six touchdowns in his two starts with the Leos. The B.C. brain trust thinks so highly of Smith, it released Antonio Warren after Smith's stellar effort against the Stamps. The defending Grey Cup champion Eskimos? They're way off their game. Despite a brilliant passing game, triggered by Ricky Ray, the Esks struggle to score. They're averaging just over 17 points a game, too few in this wide-open league.

Cody's call: Lions 30-21

Saskatchewan (3-3) at Calgary (3-4)

The skinny: Saturday, 7 p.m. (CBC). Henry Burris's three-game winning streak against his former team, the Roughriders, came to a halt last weekend. Burris's lacklustre performance, his second sub-par outing in a row, was a big part of the problem in the Stampeders' 19-9 loss. The Calgary QB totalled just 188 passing yards, though some ham-handed receiving -- by Jermaine Copeland especially -- hurt Burris's numbers. The most reliable Stampeder threat these days is running back Joffrey Reynolds, the CFL's leading rusher with 667 yards (a whopping 7.4 per carry). Meanwhile, the Roughriders are just playing solid football and being rewarded for their efforts. One thing, though, we'd be a bit happier in this part of the world if ex-Western Mustang all-Canadian Andy Fantuz saw the ball more. Against Calgary last week, the Chatham native caught one for nine yards, which gives him six snags for 60 yards on the season.

Cody's call: Stampeders 23-20

Season record Last week: 2-2; overall: 13-13


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