Winnipeg Blue Bombers running back Andrew Harris is tackled by Montreal Alouettes defensive back Jonathon Mincy during second quarter CFL football action in Montreal. Harris, quarterback Matt Nichols and defensive back Maurice Leggett of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers were named the CFL’s top performers for August on Wednesday. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Edmonton Eskimos face very tough challenge facing Calgary Stampeders

Mike Reilly and the Edmonton Eskimos face a very stiff challenge getting back into the win column.

After reeling off seven straight wins, Edmonton (7-2) has dropped two straight. That includes a 54-31 home decision to the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Friday night.

On Monday, the Eskimos visit the West Division-leading Calgary Stampeders (7-1-1) who’re not only 3-0 within the conference but boast the league’s lone unblemished home record (4-0).

Reilly was just 15-of-26 passing for 160 yards and two interceptions against Saskatchewan, which not only earned its first road win of the year but handed the Eskimos their first home loss in five games.

The Eskimos are an impressive 3-1 on the road but have dropped two straight overall to West Division rivals.

Calgary’s Bo Levi Mitchell was an efficient 31-of-42 passing for a season-high 384 yards and two TDs in last weekend’s 23-7 home win over Toronto. The only blemish on his day was Vaughn Cassius returning a Mitchell interception for a touchdown and the Argos’ only points.

Calgary’s offence leads the CFL in total yards (399 per game), fewest sacks (12) and turnovers (eight) while standing second in offensive points (28.9). Running back Jerome Messam tops the league in rushing with 621 yards (4.9-yard average).

The Stampeders’ league-best defence (16.8 offensive points per game) kept Toronto’s pass-happy offence out of the end zone and forced the Argos to punt 11 times.

This is the first game of a home-and-home Labour Day showdown between the longstanding rivals, with the Stampeders visiting Commonwealth Stadium on Sept. 9. Edmonton has done a great job this season of winning games despite mounting injuries but now faces the CFL’s top and most consistent team.

Prediction: Calgary.

Ottawa Redblacks versus Montreal Alouettes (Thursday night)

Ottawa (3-6-1) has won two straight and can clinch the season series with a victory. CFL passing leader Trevor Harris threw for 326 yards and a TD but also had two picks as the defending Grey Cup champions stormed out to a 31-3 lead last weekend against B.C., then held on for the 31-24 victory. Montreal (3-6) has lost its last two contests, including a hard-luck 34-31 overtime decision to Winnipeg last week. Starter Darian Durant threw for 316 yards and three TDs while slotback Nik Lewis had 10 catches to boost his career total to 1,031, passing Geroy Simon (1,029) for the most in league history.

Prediction: Ottawa.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers versus Saskatchewan Roughriders (Sunday afternoon)

Winnipeg (7-2) has reeled off five straight wins to move into a tie for second in the West with Edmonton. The Bombers are also the CFL’s top road team with a 4-1 record away from Investors Group Field. They also boast the league’s top-scoring offence (32 points per game) and a bona fide two-way threat in running back Andrew Harris. Saskatchewan (4-4) has won two straight, having outscored its opponents 95-39. The Riders’ offence scored four TDs against Edmonton while Willie Jefferson blocked a punt, then returned it for a score. Veteran quarterback Kevin Glenn sports a solid 70.2 completion percentage and has twice as many TDs (16) as interceptions (eight).

Prediction: Saskatchewan.

Toronto Argonauts versus Hamilton Tiger-Cats (Monday night)

Backup Jeremiah Masoli gets the start for Hamilton (0-8) in June Jones’ head-coaching debut. The Ticats haven’t played since a 37-18 loss to Ottawa on Aug. 18 but have been in the news with Kent Austin stepping down as coach, Jones’s promotion and, of course, the club backtracking on the controversial addition of Art Briles to the coaching staff. Toronto (4-6) managed just 238 net yards last week against Calgary and failed to reach the end zone. The Argos’ defence, ranked second in fewest offensive points allowed (22.6 per game), faces a Ticats’ offence that’s last in offensive points scored (15.8).

Prediction: Toronto.

Last week: 2-2.

Overall: 29-11-1.

Just Posted

Lacombe ready to light the night

The Christmas spirit comes to Lacombe Thursday night with the start of… Continue reading

Opioid prescriptions up across country, but daily doses dispensed down: report

TORONTO — The overall number of prescriptions for opioids has increased over… Continue reading

Notley pleads with political foes, allies to support Alberta pipeline projects

OTTAWA — Alberta Premier Rachel Notley issued warnings to all political parties… Continue reading

Uber isn’t saying how many Canadians were affected by year-old hack

TORONTO — Uber is owning up to a year-old security breach that… Continue reading

N. Korea criticizes US over designation as terror sponsor

SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — North Korea on Wednesday called U.S. President… Continue reading

VIDEO: Replay Red Deer: Nov. 19

Watch news highlights from the week of Nov. 13

Creationist will speak at home-schooling convention in Red Deer

Ken Ham has debated Bill Nye on the Earth’s origins

Update: Innisfail girl found

A 15-year-old missing Innisfail girl has been located safe and sound. Police… Continue reading

Cost to fix Phoenix pay system to surpass $540 million, auditor general says

The federal government’s chronic salary struggles will take more time and more… Continue reading

Red Deer Christmas Bureau to help 1,300 children this year

Demand is high, but Red Deer always provides

CP Holiday train makes stops in Central Alberta

The popular train will feature entertainment from Colin James and Emma-Lee

Kittens rescued after allegedly being tossed from vehicle

Couple finds abandoned kittens new home through Facebook

VIDEO: ‘Party bus’ goes up in flames in Vancouver

Fire crews responded to the late night blaze

Chicken crosses B.C. road, stops traffic

Rooster makes early morning commuters wait in Maple Ridge

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month