CFL Countdown

STEVE COAD -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:42 AM ET

Toronto (11-8) at Montreal (10-8)

The skinny: Sunday, 1 p.m. (CBC). East Division final. Jason Maas did it to perfection for the Edmonton Eskimos in last year's West Division playoffs. Last Sunday, it was Mike Bishop's turn. Just as Maas charged off the bench and sparked the Eskimos to back-to-back playoff victories before Ricky Ray found his form in the Grey Cup, Bishop rescued the Argos' season in relief of Damon Allen by throwing two TD passes in the final seven minutes to ground the high-flying Winnipeg Blue Bombers 31-27. To put it mildly, Bishop was the spark the Argos needed in their darkest hour. Allen wasn't getting the job done. So is there a quarterback controversy in Toronto? No, Allen is the man this year and next (when the final comes to T.O.). But it has to feel good for the Argos, knowing Bishop can step in and do the job. They haven't had that luxury a lot lately, even earlier this season when the Argos started 2-5 after Allen broke a finger on his passing hand on opening day. Sunday's matchup marks the fifth straight year the Alouettes and Argos have met in the East final. The Als had last weekend off to watch the Argos and Bombers beat each others' brains in. Perhaps they were able to use the time to sort out their biggest failure this season: inconsistency. After winning their first seven (although there were early signs of problems), the Als struggled to a 3-8 record the rest of the way. Still, that was good enough to finish first. The Als' best chance Sunday is to stick to basics. Run Robert Edwards ragged -- he likes it -- just as they did when the teams met with first place on the line on the last day of the regular season. The Als won 24-20, largely on Edwards' punishing runs. Nothing fancy, just effective. Truth is, the Argos can't stop the run (Winnipeg's Charles Roberts had 179 yards on Sunday) and they're almost impossible to pass against. Expect the Als to run -- a lot.

Cody's call: Argos 24-21

Saskatchewan (10-9) at B.C. (13-5)

The skinny: Sunday, 4 p.m. (CBC). West Division final. You can almost hear the B.C. Lions saying "yikes" at the thought of lining up against the Roughriders this week. Saskatchewan rebounded from a 21-5 deficit Sunday to trim the favoured Calgary Stampeders 30-21 in the semifinal. It was speculated widely the Roughies were playing to save head coach Danny Barrett's job. In any case, they played like a team possessed, especially on defence. Whatever drove them, the Roughriders forced the Stampeders into seven turnovers and held Stamps star running back Joffrey Reynolds to just 55 yards on 15 carries. The Lions, arguably the league's best team, will have their hands full. The Roughriders tamed the Lions during the regular season, winning their last three meetings. B.C. has plenty to recommend it, starting with home-field advantage, and a whole lot of skill beginning with top guns Dave Dickenson, Joe Smith and Geroy Simon. The team also features London's Ryan Thelwell. The Roughriders have MO on their side, courtesy of sinking the favoured Stamps. A 'Rider the Lions will need to rope is running back Kenton Keith, at times the forgotten man in a conference that has the likes of Smith, Roberts and Reynolds. Keith ran for 141 yards and two TDs against the Stamps. The Lions will also need to corral Roughriders QB Kerry Joseph, who can do the job by lugging it himself or finding one of a batch of receivers. Saskatchewan's receivers may not have the high profile of a Simon (although, we around here think ex-Mustang Andy Fantuz is pretty special), but chaps such as Matt Dominguez, Jason Armstead, former Laurier Golden Hawk Corey Grant, Yo Murphy and Fantuz give Joseph a lot of targets.

Cody's call: Lions 38-36

Playoff record

Last week: 1-1; overall: 1-1


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