10/09/2013 02:46 EDT | Updated 12/09/2013 05:12 EST

CFL Picks: Stamps RB Cornish poised to break own rushing record against Lions

Coming off a season-high rushing performance and two weekly awards, Calgary Stampeders running back Jon Cornish will be looking for more on Friday night.

That could spell big trouble for the B.C. Lions.

The Stampeders (11-3) host the Lions (9-5) a week after Cornish rushed for 208 yards and two touchdowns in a 38-11 blowout victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

The New Westminster, B.C., native was named the CFL's offensive player of the week and top Canadian after a performance that left him with 1,415 rushing yards and 10 TDs on the season.

A year after setting the league's single-season rushing record, Cornish is poised to accomplish the feat again. The 28-year-old set a new mark of 1,457 yards in the final regular-season game of 2012, bettering Norm Kwong's record of 1,437 that had stood for 56 years.

With four games left in the regular season, a Calgary victory at McMahon Stadium would move the Stampeders a step closer to clinching first place in the CFL's West Division.

Calgary defeated the Lions 44-32 at home in Week 1, with Cornish slicing B.C. on the ground for 172 yards and two touchdowns. Cornish is averaging an astounding 7.1 yards per carry, but he isn't the only threat the Lions will have to worry about.

Stampeders quarterback Kevin Glenn was also impressive in the victory over Winnipeg, completing 21 of 29 passes for 320 yards and two touchdowns.

Meanwhile, the Lions come in off a disappointing 31-17 loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The defeat was their first at B.C. Place Stadium in 2013 and snapped a three-game winning streak.

The Lions will have backup quarterback Thomas DeMarco under centre for the fourth straight game as regular starter Travis Lulay continues to recover from a shoulder injury.

DeMarco won his first two starts by not turning the ball over, but was picked off three times against the Roughriders. B.C. got the better of the Stampeders 26-22 by holding Cornish to 73 yards rushing.

A victory for the Lions in Calgary on Friday (9 p.m. ET) would tighten the standings atop the division, especially with Saskatchewan hosting the lowly Edmonton Eskimos this week.

The Stampeders, who visit B.C. on the final weekend of the regular season, are 6-1 at home, while the Lions enter with a 3-4 record on the road.

Pick: Calgary.


Edmonton Eskimos (3-11) at Saskatchewan Roughriders (9-5), Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET.

The value of running back Kory Sheets to the Saskatchewan attack can't be underestimated.

With his team on a four-game losing streak, Sheets returned to the lineup last week after missing two games with a knee injury, rushing for 80 yards and two touchdowns in Saskatchewan's 31-17 victory in B.C.

The shifty back's presence on the field takes pressure off Roughriders quarterback Darian Durant.

The Saskatchewan pivot was 21 of 31 passing for 234 yards and one touchdown against the Lions. With Sheets sidelined, Durant put the ball up 46 times and was picked off on three occasions in the previous week's 17-12 loss to the Montreal Alouettes.

On the other side of the ball, Saskatchewan is expected to have Alex Hall in the lineup after the defensive lineman was acquired from the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Sunday. The six-foot-six, 256-pound Hall leads the league with 15 sacks to go along with 31 defensive tackles in 13 games.

The Eskimos, who also play at Saskatchewan in Week 19, have the second-worst record in the league and come in having lost two straight, including an embarrassing 47-24 home loss last time out against Montreal.

Edmonton quarterback Mike Reilly, who was 13 for 21 passing for 180 yards to go along with two interceptions before getting pulled at halftime against Montreal, is again expected to get the start.

Saturday is a must-win for the Eskimos, who need victories in their last four games and hope that the Alouettes lose their last four to win a cross-over playoff spot.

It's unlikely to happen.

Pick: Saskatchewan.


Winnipeg Blue Bombers (2-12) at Montreal Alouettes (6-8), Monday, 1 p.m. ET.

The Alouettes can clinch a playoff spot with a home victory in the first of two games on Thanksgiving Day.

Montreal has won two straight and enters the day two points back of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the East Division standings.

Josh Neiswander has been effective in place of injured starting quarterback Anthony Calvillo (concussion) for the Alouettes. The third-year man out of Angelo State University is 89 for 153 passing for 1,112 yards and nine touchdowns against six interceptions.

Meanwhile, Alouettes slotback S.J. Green is on pace for his third straight 1,000-yard season. The seven-year veteran has 64 catches for 930 yards and nine TDs.

Montreal's defence is led by linebacker Chip Cox, who tops the CFL with 95 tackles to go along with six sacks and four interceptions.

Alouettes defensive backs Jerald Brown and Geoff Tisdale top a group of three players tied for the league lead with five interceptions on the season.

Although still mathematically in the playoff picture, a miserable season for the Blue Bombers can't end soon enough.

Winnipeg dealt its best player, defensive end Alex Hall, to Saskatchewan on Sunday with an eye to the future. Hall is expected to weigh his NFL options in the off-season.

The Blue Bombers have lost four straight, including the last two outings by a combined 63 points, but one of their two victories on the year came in Week 2 at Montreal.

It's hard to envision a scenario where history repeats itself.

Pick: Montreal.


Toronto Argonauts (9-5) at Hamilton Tiger-Cats (7-7), Monday, 4:30 p.m. ET.

Both clubs have already locked up playoff positions in the East Division, but first place is still up for grabs.

Hamilton scored a 33-19 victory at Rogers Centre last week, with Tiger-Cats quarterback Henry Burris finishing the night 19 of 31 passing for 274 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

Toronto, which was coming off the first perfect 4-0 road trip in CFL history, had injured starting quarterback Ricky Ray back in uniform as the No. 3 pivot against Hamilton.

It's unclear at this point when Ray, who has missed the last six weeks with a shoulder injury, will be back under centre.

Second-year backup Zach Collaros has done a great job in Ray's absence, leading Toronto to a 4-2 record and earning CFL offensive player of the month honours for September.

Hamilton will be looking to get closer to the Argonauts in the standings, but the Tiger-Cats also have the Alouettes in their rear-view mirror, with Montreal just two points back.

Hamilton — which is playing its home games in Guelph, Ont., this season while a new facility is being built —is 4-3 so far in 2013 at Alumni Stadium.

The teams have split their first two games, but the Argonauts are a CFL-best 6-1 on the road this season.

Pick: Toronto