CFL Countdown

STEVE COAD -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 9:03 AM ET

B.C. (5-3) at Winnipeg (5-3)

The skinny: Tonight, 8 p.m. (TSN). If Geroy Simon isn't the most dangerous receiver in the CFL, he's definitely among them. Witness last Friday's 34-17 doubling of the Edmonton Eskies. Playing brilliant catch-and-run, Simon, a supremely speedy Lion, took five snags upfield for 196 yards and two touchdowns. It was truly a thing of beauty when, with his team leading 8-0 in the second quarter, Simon took a short pass over the middle from Dave Dickenson and didn't stop running till he had a 92-yard TD. Simon will have to be the major focus of the Blue Bombers' D, even if a high ankle strain keeps Dickenson out. Simon and B.C. backup Buck Pierce connected for a 56-yard TD versus the Eskimos. The Bombers will have a couple of things going for them too. They're at home and have to be angry with themselves after a 26-11 loss to Hamilton (even if the Tabbies didn't play badly).

Cody's call: Lions 30-21

Saskatchewan (3-4) at Edmonton (2-5)

The skinny: Tomorrow, 9:30 p.m. The Eskimos -- the defending Grey Cup champions, just in case you'd forgotten -- come in with three straight losses. The Roughriders, meanwhile, were 23-7 victims last week at the hands of the Stampeders, who entered that game with three straight losses. The Eskimos' problem? "We're just not playing good football right now. . . . We're not playing smart football. We're not going out there and doing our job," quarterback Ricky Ray said in the aftermath of the B.C. loss. Gee, d'ya think. A team can't get much lower than last place. While Saskatchewan was run over by a clearly desperate Calgary team, the Roughriders are holding their own and getting good production out of stars such as quarterback Kerry Joseph, running back Kenton Keith and a batch of receivers led by Matt Dominguez. FYI, ex-Western Mustang star Andy Fantuz had one catch for 17 yards against the Stampeders, giving the rookie seven snags for 76 yards this season. The Eskimos' horrible start can't continue -- can it?

Cody's call: Eskimos 28-17

Toronto (2-5) at Hamilton (2-6)

The skinny: Saturday, 7 p.m. (TSN). Who would have thought these teams, both considered preseason contenders, would be in such a pickle as the season roars to the halfway point? This matchup determines who takes a tenuous grip on the East Division's third and final playoff spot. The Argos aren't a whole lot healthier this week than last, especially on offence, and now they're down respected offensive co-ordinator Kent Austin, who was canned Saturday, two days after the Boatmen lost 31-7 to the Alouettes. No question, Austin's troops have struggled terribly. Against the Als, Toronto's offence never got across midfield. The Ticats surprised the Blue Bombers, a win that snapped Hamilton's 13-game road losing streak. Quarterback Jason Maas is crucial to the Ticats' fortunes and he was back in the lineup last week after missing the Bombers' 29-0 pasting of the Tabbies the previous week with a hip pointer. I've picked the Argos to win it all year, but . . .

Cody's call: Tiger-Cats 23-14

Montreal (7-0) at Calgary (4-4)

The skinny: Saturday, 10 p.m. (CBC). The Stampeders snapped a three-game losing streak and regained some of their early season swagger just in time to run into the Alouettes, easily the CFL's hottest team. The Stamps were balanced on offence and punishing on defence in last week's win over the Roughriders, seeing quarterback Henry Burris regain his form after three straight poor outings. Burris passed for 255 yards and two TDs (two interceptions too), a nice -- and necessary -- complement to the running of Joffrey Reynolds, who gained 93 yards on 18 carries and has been a consistent threat all season. The Als are simply superb, although their rout of the Argos isn't a good measuring stick. Montreal just has so many weapons, a major one being running back Robert Edwards, who leads the league with 10 TDs.

Cody's call: Alouettes 33-21

Season record

Last week: 3-1; overall: 16-14


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