Montreal Alouettes at Edmonton Eskimos (-3, 50.5)
The Montreal Alouettes may be struggling to replace key injuries on offense, but their defense is keeping them competitive. Montreal will hope for another strong defensive showing when it visits the struggling Edmonton Eskimos on Saturday. Alouettes linebacker Chip Cox ended last week’s 17-12 road victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders with an interception - one of three by Montreal, which looks fearsome at the linebacker position after welcoming Kyries “Angry Bird” Hebert back from injury.
Edmonton experienced the highs and lows of a big comeback after being on both sides of one over the past two weeks. The Eskimos stormed back from a 20-point deficit on the road against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, only to squander their own 21-point lead at home against the Toronto Argonauts last week. The biggest concern in Edmonton’s loss to the Argonauts was the health of starting quarterback Mike Reilly, who left in the first quarter with what was deemed a concussion and is uncertain to start going forward.
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, TSN
ABOUT THE ALOUETTES (5-8): Quarterback Josh Neiswander appears to be the de facto starter for Montreal with Anthony Calvillo and Tanner Marsh sidelined. However, Neiswander’s mediocre play (74-for-128 passing with five touchdowns and five interceptions) has left the door open for former Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith, who completed his first pass with the Alouettes for 54 yards last week. Defensive end John Bowman leads the team with eight sacks, and the return of Hebert - who has seven sacks - could create some healthy competition for Montreal’s pass rush.
ABOUT THE ESKIMOS (3-10): Veteran pivot Kerry Joseph replaced Reilly last week and completed 13-of-26 passes with one touchdown and two interceptions. Losing Reilly could neutralize Edmonton’s best offensive weapon in slotback Fred Stamps, who leads the league with 1,038 receiving yards. Reilly also leads the team in rushing with 539 yards. On defense, nine sacks by defensive end Marcus Howard lead the team, while defensive back Chris Thompson has caught a team-leading three interceptions and recovered one fumble for 63 yards.
* Alouettes are 6-1 ATS in their last seven meetings.
* Over is 8-3 in the last 11 meetings in Edmonton.
* Alouettes are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games overall.
* Over is 19-7-2 in Eskimos last 28 games overall.
1. Cox leads the league with 91 tackles and has six sacks and three interceptions.
2. The CFL fined Toronto DL Cleyon Laing an undisclosed amount for the hit that knocked Reilly out of last week’s contest.
3. Edmonton trails Montreal by four points for the final playoff spot.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Calgary Stampeders (-16, 54)
The Calgary Stampeders have the best record in the CFL after battling through injuries to go 4-1 in September. Calgary will try to keep its momentum going when it hosts the struggling Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Saturday. Veteran quarterback Kevin Glenn started the last game for the Stampeders and threw three touchdowns in a dominating 35-11 victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, while quarterback Drew Tate recorded a rushing touchdown as he continues to rehabilitate from an elbow injury.
A deflated Winnipeg team was manhandled 53-17 at home by the BC Lions last week after the Blue Bombers blew a 20-point lead at home against the Edmonton Eskimos a week prior. A road trip might seem like just the right thing for Winnipeg, but its road record is 1-5 - almost as bad as its 1-6 showing at home. Quarterback Max Hall started the last game for the Blue Bombers, who have alternated between Hall and Justin Goltz as they search for a solution to their league-worst offense, which has produced 268 points.
TV: 6:30 p.m. ET, TSN
ABOUT THE BLUE BOMBERS (2-11): Hall will start Saturday, but will need a strong performance to avoid being replaced by Goltz. Defensive end Alex Hall leads the league with 15 sacks after posting nine in his first CFL season. The league record for sacks in a season is 26.5, meaning Hall will need another 12 in his final five games to break it. Linebacker Henoc Muamba leads the team with 76 tackles.
ABOUT THE STAMPEDERS (10-3): Kicker Rene Paredes and running back Jon Cornish were named players of the month for September. Paredes earned special teams honours after making 12-of-13 field goals from Weeks 11-14, while Cornish was named top Canadian player after rushing for 398 yards in that span. Slotback Jabari Arthur has filled in admirably for the injured Nik Lewis, with four catches for 103 yards and two touchdowns last week against Hamilton.
* Blue Bombers are 2-7-1 ATS in their last 10 meetings in Calgary.
* Over is 9-1 in Stampeders last 10 home games.
* Blue Bombers are 1-6 ATS in their last seven games overall.
* Stampeders are 5-12-2 ATS in their last 19 games following a ATS win.
1. Calgary is 5-1 at home while Winnipeg is 1-6 against West Division opponents.
2. Winnipeg worst recent seasons were a 4-14 campaign in 2010 and a 3-15 mark in 1998.
3. The Stampeders defeated the Blue Bombers 37-24 in Winnipeg in Week 5.