CFL Countdown

STEVE COAD -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:08 AM ET

Edmonton (3-5) at B.C. (6-3)

The skinny: Tonight, 10:30 p.m. (TSN). There's finally reason for optimism in the Edmonton Eskimos camp. The defending Grey Cup champion Eskimos ditched their three-game losing streak with a 24-18 victory last weekend over the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Edmonton's fellow cellar-dweller in the West. Edmonton quarterback Ricky Ray continues to lead the loop in passing yards with 2,443 and in completion percentage -- 71.4. Lofty numbers, but they've translated into only 11 TDs, five behind league leader Dave Dickenson of B.C. Eskies running back Troy Davis is gaining 5.2 yards a pop but 82 carries in eight games isn't enough. Passing or running, Edmonton's offence needs to find ways to score. The bad news for the Eskimos is they're facing the Lions, the CFL's hottest team (four straight victories). With Dickenson on the shelf with a sprained ankle, the Leos barely missed a beat with backup Buck Pierce at the helm in last week's 32-5 unravelling of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. B.C. began last season with an 11-game winning run. They're quite likely feeling invincible again.

Cody's call: Lions 33-23

Montreal (7-1) at Toronto (3-5)

The skinny: Tomorrow, 7 p.m. (TSN). It was a little more than a week ago the Alouettes were seemingly an unstoppable juggernaut and the Argos anything but. Then the Arghs (again, my pick to win the Grey Cup in November) tamed the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 20-2 and the Als suffered their first loss of the season, taking a last-play boot to the ribs in a 27-24 beating by the Calgary Stampeders. Sure, the Als could have played better, but QB Anthony Calvillo passed for 383 yards and a touchdown and there's not a lot you can do when a place-kicker (Calgary's Sandro DeAngelis) hits twice from outside the 50 in the game's final minute. The Als will be OK. The Argos? Suddenly, they found their offence. Damon Allen's finger is far from right, but he picked apart the Ticats' defence for 319 yards passing, 171 of them by Arland Bruce III. John Avery gave the Argos a much-needed running attack, gaining 74 yards on 13 carries. Make no mistake, though. The Ticats' defence must never be confused with Montreal's vaunted D. Ditto on offence.

Cody's call: Alouettes 36-17

Hamilton (2-7) at Saskatchewan (3-5)

The skinny: Tomorrow, 10 p.m. (CBC). This is the first meeting of the season between these two sadsacks. The retooled and reloaded Tiger-Cats have not performed to expectations, a turn that cost Greg Marshall his job as head coach. While the Tiger-Cats will live to regret Marshall's firing, Londoners are happy because he's landed back here with the Western Mustangs. In last week's 20-2 loss to the Argonauts, Jason Maas was awful -- he said it himself in stronger terms -- passing for 152 yards and leading the Tabbies to just 14 first downs and 221 net yards. Yuck. The Roughriders had a chance to put some distance between themselves and the Eskimos last week in the race for the final playoff spot -- but lost. In fact, they've dropped two straight, both to teams from the West. The Roughriders are facing an Eastern team for only the second time this season. They barely dispatched the injury-riddled Argos 26-23 on July 22. They badly need to beat the Ticats, too. You can't let the easy ones get away.

Cody's call: Roughriders 27-17

Season record Last week: 2-2; overall: 18-16


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