CFL Countdown

STEVE COAD -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:56 AM ET

Hamilton (3-11) at Edmonton (4-8)

The skinny: Today, 9 p.m. (TSN). It matters not that the Tiger-Cats' first home touchdown (normally I would just say TD, but Ticat fans might not understand the term) came on a punt return. Hey, any time the 'Cats can claw their way to a win, who am I to criticize? It scares me a bit that Hamilton did all its scoring in the first half and only barely survived an Eskimo comeback. Edmonton QB Ricky Ray threw for 328 yards, but no TDs and Eskies star running back Troy Davis, the liberated Ticat, ran for just 38 yards on 10 carries. That's no way to run an offence. If you can't run, you can't play. The teams meet again this week in Edmonton, where the Eskies tend to rule. Still, they need to establish the run. We all know what happens when the ball is thrown: It gets caught or knocked down or intercepted. One out of three, that's poor odds. Bottom line, Jesse Lumsden's insertion in the lineup can change a lot of things -- even attitudes.

Cody's call: Eskimos 33-22

Toronto (7-5) at Calgary (8-5)

The skinny: Tomorrow, 7 p.m. (CBC). The Argos are coming off a bye week, the Stamps are coming off a 43-9 clubbing of the Winnipeg Blue Bummers. Which is more therapeutic? I'm taking the win -- you can always catch up on your sleep. The Argos have won five games in a row, but this one will be tough. Toronto is the least scored-upon team in the CFL -- averaging just under 20 points a game against -- but they've definitely bent against the run. Interestingly, Calgary's attack is the CFL's most productive, piling up 364 points -- 28 a game -- and features running back Joffrey Reynolds, who dynamited his way to 162 yards on 20 carries (the perfect number of carries a game) against the Bombers last week, and wideout Nik Lewis, who snagged five Henry Burris passes for 118 yards against the Bummers. Ricky Williams says he's a go for this game. Sure, but if I were Pinball, I'd be just as happy with either John Avery or Jeff Johnson.

Cody's call: Stampeders 34-33

Winnipeg (6-7) at Montreal (7-5)

The skinny: Sunday, 1 p.m. (CBC). Five losses and counting -- this is unbelievable. Penthouse to the outhouse. That's the Als. Nothing is working for these guys. In Saturday's drubbing at the hands of the B.C. Lions, Als quarterback Anthony Calvillo, who was sacked 11 times (ouch!), delivered one to the mitts of Ben Cahoon, a guy I go on about, and little Ben dropped it. It's the first play I saw after coming home from the Western Mustangs' game, but it spoke volumes about what was ahead for the Alouettes. Again, this is a team that appears to have all the physical gifts necessary at the skill positions (although perhaps a little light at receiver). The Als' D is so aggressive that it has to be tired. Back off just a bit, guys. The Bombers -- they're there to be had.

Cody's call: Alouettes 34-17

B.C. (8-3) at Saskatchewan (6-6)

The skinny: Sunday, 4 p.m. The Lions are in a position to gain separation from the rest of the West. The Roughriders are in a position to all but lock up a playoff position at the expense of the defending Grey Cup champion Eskimos, who are showing few signs of life. B.C. is the hottest team in the CFL. They don't just give you wins these days, they give you style, too. Ding-donged Dave Dickenson isn't likely to be ready for the rough 'n' ready Riders, but that's OK because the Lions have super backup Buck Pierce at the ready. Pierce is the best No. 2 QB in the CFL and as good as most of the starters. The Bombers, unless Milt Steggal gets loose, are not very good or very exciting.

Cody's call: Lions 45-21

Season record

Last week: 2-1; overall: 30-20


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