Almost do-or-die time

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 12:23 PM ET

To paraphrase Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 'Theirs is but to do or die' tonight.

Their entire CFL season may rest on the 'Charge of the Blue Bombers Brigade.'

Winnipeg, 1-6, plays host to the 2-5 Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Canad Inns Stadium (7 p.m.) and any hopes of a playoff appearance rides on the result.

"It's not like we're completely out of it, but it's getting to where it's almost do-or-die time," Bomber linebacker Cam Hall said on the eve of battle "We've got to come up with a performance that we can send the fans home happy with.

"We know what we have to do. We have to win. We just have to win."

A victory would pull Winnipeg even with Hamilton at 2-6 in the CFL East and just two points behind Toronto, which hosts the 4-3 Montreal Alouettes tomorrow night. But a loss would drop the Bombers to 1-7, four points behind Hamilton and six behind in the crossover-playoff race. And their next two games are against the reigning Grey Cup champion Saskatchewan Roughriders -- after a week off.

"We're definitely desperate for a W," said Bomber linebacker Ike Charlton. "We need to go into the bye week on a high note and ... it's important that we get a win because of the nature of where we are in the standings. Hamilton's a game up on us right now so, we need to win this game.

"You know, I'm sure it's important for them to win this game, too. So, we're definitely desperate for a win."

The Ticats are coming off a confidence-boosting victory over the Argos last week.

"We expect a playoff-type game (tonight), like a one-game season," said Hamilton head coach Charlie Taaffe. "That's the approach we're taking. We've got one game, then we've got a long break so, put everything you've got out there and get your break after that. We're just fighting to keep pace and I know Winnipeg's doing the same thing.

"I expect it to be a war out here because Winnipeg's fighting and we're fighting for wins right now. Every win is huge in the East Division right now."

However, Bomber offensive tackle Dan Goodspeed objected to the desperation suggestion.

"I know that we want to get back on the winning side of things," said the ex-NFLer. "I don't like that word, desperate. It makes it sound like we've never been there before, that we've never, ever won a game before. So, I don't want to say desperate but yeah, what we want to do is win.

"Obviously, 1-6 is very frustrating because I know we should be better."

Some Bombers are pinning hopes on the fact that the Argos started last season at 2-7 and finished first in the East.

"Did they find a magic ingredient all of a sudden?" asked Goodspeed. "They just went out and worked hard every day ... You just go out and work even harder. You do everything you possibly to get it right and to get going. That would be a good thing and we'd be happier around here -- and we'd get you guys (media) off our back a little bit, too."

It is not often that Taaffe has actually led his 'Cats into battle against a squad with a worse record since he returned to the CFL last season.

"We don't want to get carried away with winning one game," he said. "Our goals are much higher than that. It feels good when you win and get that positive reinforcement.

"I know they're (Bombers) a much better football team than their record. Essentially, it's the same team that was in the Grey Cup (last year). I'm sure it's going to come together, I just hope it's delayed another week."

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CFL PICKS WEEK 8

Tonight

Hamilton at Winnipeg, 7 p.m., TSN

Bender: It's do-or-die time for the Big Blue Berry and his boys. Bombers.

Penton: Kevin Glenn guides the Blue and Gold out of the abyss -- at least until Labour Day. Bombers.

Friesen: Bombers hit rock bottom. Tiger-Cats.

Wyman: Bombers.

Tomorrow

Montreal at Toronto, 6:30 p.m., TSN

Bender: The Birds are chirpin' while Ragin' Rich keeps on ragin'. Als.

Penton: The Argos are just as bad as the Ticats and Bombers. Alouettes.

Friesen: Argos make their move. Argos.

Wyman: Argos.

Reporters' records:

Jim Bender

12-16 overall

3-1 last week

Paul Friesen

15-13 overall

4-0 last week

Kirk Penton

14-14 overall

2-2 last week

Ted Wyman

17-11 overall

2-2 last week


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