Mike Reilly and the Edmonton Eskimos can do something Friday night they haven't done all season: win two straight games.
The Eskimos (2-9) visit the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (2-9) with a chance to sweep the home-and-home series. Reilly threw for 196 yards and three TDs and ran for 113 yards in leading Edmonton to a fairly convincing 25-7 home win Saturday.
The victory was Edmonton's first at Commonwealth Stadium this season and ended an ugly eight-game losing streak. For his efforts, Reilly was named the CFL's offensive player of the week.
Edmonton receiver Fred Stamps had four catches for 56 yards, including two TDs to give him a league-high nine receiving touchdowns. The Eskimos' defence did its part with four sacks, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries while holding Winnipeg to 282 total offensive yards and out of the end zone.
Max Hall makes his third CFL start as Winnipeg continues its quarterback carousel with the departed Buck Pierce and Justin Goltz having also started this season. Not that it has mattered as the Bombers are ranked last in scoring, passing and net offensive yards.
Two weeks ago, Winnipeg beat the Saskatchewan Roughriders 25-13 for its first-ever win at Investors Group Field. But the Bombers had no first downs in the opening half and Goltz threw for just 129 total yards with an interception and no touchdowns.
Pick — Edmonton.
Montreal Alouettes versus Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Moncton, N.B.
An important game for both as Hamilton (5-6) and Montreal (4-7) are fighting for second place in the East Division and to stay within striking distance of front-running Toronto (7-4). It's the first of three head-to-head games with the winner earning the tiebreaker should both end the season tied in the standings.
Both teams are coming off losses, but Hamilton looked better in a 26-22 defeat to Calgary than Montreal did in its 36-14 setback to B.C. Ticats quarterback Henry Burris threw for 408 yards and two touchdowns — but also had two interceptions — in becoming just the fifth player in CFL history to surpass the 50,000-yard plateau.
Rookie Brett Lauther handles kicking duties as veteran Luca Congi sits this one out after missing two field goals against Calgary.
It's unclear who'll start at quarterback for Montreal with rookie Tanner Marsh nursing a sprained thumb. If he can't play, Josh Neiswander will take the snaps with former Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith also available.
All three saw action against B.C. But in the five games since veteran Anthony Calvillo suffered a concussion, Montreal quarterbacks have throw just five TD passes with 13 interceptions.
Pick — Hamilton.
Toronto Argonauts at Calgary Stampeders on Saturday night
Calgary (9-2) not only boasts the CFL's best record but has won four straight and is an impressive 5-0 at home. Veteran Kevin Glenn is expected to return as the starter despite solid play once again from youngster Bo Levi Mitchell, who went 2-0 after Glenn was injured.
Mitchell was 20 of 30 passing for 257 yards and two touchdowns against Hamilton. He also had 22 yards rushing and two interceptions. Maurice Price was his favourite target with five catches for 108 yards and a TD.
But the man who makes Calgary's offence go is running back Jon Cornish, who has surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing plateau for the second straight season. The native of New Westminster, B.C., is the CFL's No. 2 rusher with 1,012 yards and is averaging an impressive 6.7 yards per carry.
Cornish didn't play in Calgary's 35-14 road win over Toronto on Aug. 23 due to a thigh contusion. But the Stampeders still ran for 177 yards against the Argos.
East Division-leading Toronto lost starter Ricky Ray (shoulder) in that game, resulting in sophomore Zach Collaros inheriting the No. 1 job. Collaros has thrown for 561 yards and three TDs in leading the Argos to consecutive road wins to boost their record away from Rogers Centre to a league-best 4-1.
But there's a big difference between the two defensive units. Calgary's is tied for the league lead in sacks and ranked second in fewest points allowed while Toronto is tied for second-last in sacks and fourth in points surrendered.
Calgary's unit is also giving up an average of 65 less yards per game and did a solid job against Collaros in August as he finished 16 of 26 passing for 221 yards and an interception.
Pick — Calgary.
B.C. Lions at Saskatchewan Roughriders on Sunday
An interesting game involving two teams battling for second place in the West Division with each club missing significant offensive performers.
B.C. (7-4) will be without starter Travis Lulay for the next two games due to a shoulder injury sustained last week against Montreal. That means either backup Thomas DeMarco or the recently re-acquired Pierce will face a Saskatchewan defence allowing a league-low 23.5 points per game.
DeMarco replaced Lulay against Montreal and completed four of six passes for 47 yards and his first CFL touchdown strike.
The Riders (8-3) won't have running back Kory Sheets as the CFL's rushing leader (1,222 yards) is out with a sprained knee. That's a significant absence for a Saskatchewan squad that's dropped two straight and leading the league in rushing, averaging 141 yards per game.
It's the first of three head-to-head meetings between now and Oct. 19. B.C. is 6-0 at home but 1-4 on the road.
By comparison, the Riders are 4-1 at Mosaic Stadium and 4-2 on the road. Saskatchewan also has the more experienced quarterback in starter Darian Durant, although he's 39 of 82 passing (47.6 per cent) for 498 yards in his last two starts with more interceptions (four) than TDs (three).
But the Riders will clinch a playoff spot if they beat B.C. and Winnipeg defeats Edmonton.
Pick — Saskatchewan.