I will resist the urge to insert any turkey references into this Thanksgiving weekend football column. That’s a pretty uninspired basis for any Thanksgiving sports column and it is a little like the endless circuit of cyber-jokes that have been beaten to death in e-mail world. Neither concept shows much creative fire so let’s talk large barnyard poultry about football.
The first game of the weekend is tonight’s game with Edmonton at home to the B.C. Lions. It will not be the warm and friendly confines of B.C. Place for the Leos, but that will not matter for B.C. The Lions win this one even though Edmonton has a distinct advantage on that brutal Commonwealth turf because the Eskimos understand the field conditions.
But Edmonton does not have enough talent to win. The Eskies are simply not a good enough team this year.
The problems on offence include a poor corps of receivers that have blown some very easy receptions during this season. The injury to Calvin McCarty has taken away a big dimension from the backfield mainly because McCarty was very effective as a release receiver for quarterback Ricky Ray.
Ray is a great quarterback but he has always had a great “go to” guy like Jason Tucker and last year’s Kelly Campbell to make that big and timely reception. This year, his receivers have dropped some very easy balls and nobody has made Ray forget Tucker and Campbell.
The Eskimos also have problems on defence because of injuries and it will take a while for the new guys to play as a unit. Edmonton loses at home.
Saskatchewan hosts Toronto on Saturday night in Regina and should blow the Argos right out of the park — in theory. The variable is the tough Toronto defence in a battle with an inconsistent Saskatchewan offence led by an inconsistent quarterback.
’Rider quarterback Darian Durant has a thick layer of bubble wrap around him to protect him from closer scrutiny as a legitimate CFL pivot. Personally I have doubts about his arm strength, accuracy and touch on a football. He also has problems with quick reads and how he plants himself to throw on the run.
The Argos will give Durant plenty of pressure but Toronto has huge issues on offence with the horrific play of quarterbacks Kerry Joseph and Cody Pickett. These two guys will give a big edge to Saskatchewan because they are that bad — bad traffic accident bad. Bet on the ’Riders in this one.
Calgary faces the uphill task of an early morning game in Montreal on Monday. The Stampeders have been able to win games without an A game from Henry Burris over the past few games. Hank has been terrible over this period but the solid play of tailback Joffrey Reynolds and the Stampeder defence has pulled Burris out of the fire.
The honeymoon will be over for Calgary on Monday.
The Alouettes are very tough at home in early games and Henry will face the best defence in the CFL. The Stamps get annihilated in this one.
Hamilton faces Winnipeg in the final game of the weekend. Look for a Ticat victory in this one as Michael Bishop and his Bombers crash back to earth.
Local freelance writer Jim Sutherland’s CFL column appears on Fridays and Tuesdays in the Advocate. He can be reached at mystarcollectorcar.com