Loser gets the cellar

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:59 AM ET

WINNIPEG -- Doug Brown has a plan for a critical home-and-home set with the Argonauts.

"Tell them we'll take it here (tonight) and we'll worry about next week (in Toronto) when we get there," the Blue Bombers tackle said, partly joking. "When you have back-to-back divisional contests like this, you really have a chance to get up on somebody and also launch yourself in the standings."

The Argos and Bombers carry 1-2 records into tonight at Canad Inns Stadium, and the loser will fall into the East Division basement. The teams, referred to by Bombers coach Mike Kelly as "wounded animals," hook up next Saturday afternoon at the Rogers Centre.

Anyone looking for a pair of explosive games on offence might have to get their fix elsewhere. The Argos and Bombers usually treat each other to defensive battles and neither side has been lighting up the scoreboard in 2009.

With quarterback Stefan LeFors getting his feet wet as a starter in Winnipeg, the Bombers have scored 72 points, better only than the Edmonton Eskimos' 57. The Argos, despite some fairly good numbers from veteran quarterback Kerry Joseph, have 75 points.

And Joseph will have his challenges. The Argos will use Hank Edwards, who was scratched for the first three games, in place of the suspended Arland Bruce and won't have injured receivers Andre Talbot, Tyler Scott and Matt Lambros.

Edwards' pro experience was in the Arena Football League but Argos head coach Bart Andrus isn't worried.

"I have no problem with Hank," Andrus said. "Early on (in practice) he had to adjust from the years he spent in the Arena league, and now he is on this massive field, but we feel good about him."

The Argos' situation with Bruce has drawn parallels to the spot the Bombers found themselves in when head coach Mike Kelly cut high-end receiver Derick Armstrong earlier this month. The Bombers put the potential distraction aside and beat Calgary for their lone victory.

"It can work either way," Brown said. "Sometimes when the deck is stacked against you, that's when a team responds. It's hard to gauge how a team will respond to adverse elements."

For Argos tackle Adriano Belli, his team has no choice.

"It certainly sucks not having (Bruce) out there," Belli said. "We have to pick up the slack and go on a winning streak, that's for damn sure."


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