This weekend of CFL football is already off to a great start before the first kickoff because Winnipeg doesn’t play Toronto. The league should break out the champagne with that news.
Winnipeg does play in Calgary this weekend and they face an uphill battle against the Stampeders, who actually have an offence and relatively minimalist approach to penalties and turnovers.
The Blue Bombers have a killer defence this year, which will have to win games for them.
The reincarnation of Michael Bishop will be a very short term fix for the Bombers at quarterback. This guy has about three plays in his arsenal: Take snap from centre, roll right and cut field options in half, then drill football into receiver or defender’s hands after panic attack.
The Bombers can win if the defence can score a few touchdowns and Bishop’s random selection of receiver targets are lucky enough to wear Bomber and not Stamp colours. The Stamps can win if they can dismantle the boxing ring and channel their aggression to the other team instead of their own team.
Montreal hosts Toronto this weekend and the natural assumption is annihilation by Montreal in this one. An Alouette victory would fall well short of vindication for that little loss at the Plains of Abraham for Quebecers, but yet another Montreal win over Toronto wouldn’t hurt francophone feelings.
The Toronto Argonauts find themselves in very rough seas this season as an overworked defence compensates for a rudderless offence led by an overwhelmed Kerry Joseph. Joseph is a self-confessed follower who works well within a tight system controlled by a savvy head coach.
He won a Grey Cup and MVP award in Saskatchewan with an experienced offensive genius named Kent Austin. Austin no longer holds Joseph’s hand in football and the result has been an unmitigated disaster for Kerry Joseph.
His experience in Toronto has been a nightmare because he has no guidance in the game.
He needs a guy like Dave Dickenson on the sidelines to give him a workable game plan, or maybe it’s time to consider Plan B in Toronto. Plan B may or may not be Cody Pickett.
Edmonton goes to Steeltown for a game against the Ticats. Edmonton has played very well lately because Ricky Ray is once again vintage Ricky Ray. The O-line has given him time to work his magic and the defence has given him field position.
Hamilton has a big bite this year on defence and it has been fun to watch a new legitimate young quarterback emerge in Ti-town. Look for a Hamilton victory as Edmonton revisits Planet Earth in this one, despite the return of Ray’s game.
The B.C. Lions are the other cats in this league and they have coughed up a few too many fur-balls on the field this year. There is little reason to believe things will change for the Leos this weekend against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Local note: Red Deer Buccaneers play a critical home game against the national champion Calgary Wolfpack at 6 p.m. on Saturday at Great Chief Park. This one means the playoffs for the Bucs, so come out and help make it happen for the boys.
Jim Sutherland is a local writer whose column on the CFL appears Tuesdays and Fridays. He can be reached at mystarcollectorcar.com