CFL: Week 15 Preview

READY TO POUNCE: BC Lions host Calgary on Saturday in a game that may crown the Western Division Champion with just 5 games remaining.

Four teams are set to do battle on a Thanksgiving Monday as clubs in both divisions jockey for position in the standings with only five games remaining on the regular season schedule.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Edmonton Eskimos (-1, 52.5)
Friday, 6PM, TSN
Quarterback Henry Burris guided the Tiger-Cats to a 41-28 home win versus division-leading Montreal last week. Burris was named the CFL Offensive Player of the Week for the third time this season on Tuesday after throwing for more than 300 yards and five touchdowns. Hamilton is 12-4 ATS (against the spread) in its last 16 meetings with Edmonton.

The Eskimos are in a free fall, dropping five straight outings, including a 39-15 decision at Calgary last week. Third-string QB Matt Nichols was forced into action because of injuries to Steven Jyles and Kerry Joseph in the loss. Nichols led the offense to just 242 yards on 66 plays, a unit that has failed to produce more than 18 points in each of its last four contests. Head coach Kavis Reed recently assumed control of the offense and is ready to reinstate Joseph (knee) as Friday’s starter, even if he’s not 100 percent healthy.

Calgary Stampeders at B.C. Lions (-4.5, 49)
Saturday, 7PM, TSN
The fight for first in the West heats up Saturday night at B.C. Place when the Calgary Stampeders visit the B.C. Lions. Calgary trails B.C. by two points for top spot in the division after its convincing win over the Eskimos last week. The victory was the fifth in the last six games for the Stampeders, who are 8-0 ATS in their last eight contests in B.C.

The Lions were held to a single point through the first 30 minutes of last week’s six-point loss at Saskatchewan. But to make matters worse, WRs Geroy Simon (hamstring) and Arland Bruce (concussion) fell to injuries in the defeat and are doubtful versus Calgary. The Lions have only covered once in their last six games overall.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Montreal Alouettes (-14, 53.5)
Monday, 10AM, TSN
The Blue Bombers dropped a 29-10 decision to the Argonauts last week and lost QB Buck Pierce (concussion) in the process after he took a hit under the chin from Toronto LB Brandon Isaac. Joey Elliott will assume the starting QB role Monday if Pierce isn’t cleared to play. Elliot was picked off three times in relief of Pierce last week, thwarting Winnipeg’s comeback attempt. The Blue Bombers have played under the total in four consecutive games.

Montreal sits alone in first place in the East and enjoys a two-point cushion over the Argonauts with five games to play. The Als fell 41-28 to the Tiger-Cats last Sunday, but have won two straight meetings and seven of the last nine clashes with the Bombers.

Saskatchewan Roughriders at Toronto Argonauts (-2, 47.5)
Monday, 130PM, TSN
The Roughriders have won back-to-back games thanks to another impressive outing from QB Darian Durant. The signal-caller threw for 371 yards and three touchdowns to help guide the Riders to a thrilling 6-point win over B.C. at Mosaic Stadium last week.

The good news for the Argos at this point in the season is that all but one of their final five games will be played at home. Jarious Jackson is likely to make his second consecutive start at QB for the injured Ricky Ray (knee). Jackson tossed for a modest 155 yards and a score in the club’s win over the lowly Bombers last week. The under is 4-0 in the last four meetings between the clubs and Saskatchewan has failed to cover in its last four road games.