Esks-Stamps tilt looks like a real Labour Day clas­sic

Winnipeg Free Press - - SPORTS - DAN RALPH

IKE Reilly and the Ed­mon­ton Eski­mos face a stiff chal­lenge Mon­day as they try to get back into the win col­umn.

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

On Labour Day, the Eski­mos visit the West Divi­sion-lead­ing Calgary Stam­ped­ers (7-1-1) who are 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 sea­son­high

M384 yards and two touch­downs in last week­end’s 23-7 home win over the Toronto Arg­onauts. The only blem­ish on his day came when Vaughn Cas­sius in­ter­cep­tied one of his passes and re­turned it for a touch­down — the Ar­gos’ only points.

Ed­mon­ton Eski­mos ver­sus Calgary Stam­ped­ers (Mon­day af­ter­noon)

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 (4.9yard 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-and­home 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 the B.C. Lions, 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 the Win­nipeg Blue Bombers 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 dual 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 QB Jeremiah Ma­soli gets the start for Hamil­ton (0-8) in June Jones’ head-coach­ing de­but. The Ti­cats haven’t played since Aug. 18 but have been in the news with Kent Austin step­ping down as coach, Jones’s pro­mo­tion and the club’s back­track­ing on the con­tro­ver­sial ad­di­tion of coach Art Briles. Toronto (4-6) man­aged just 238 net yards last week against Calgary and failed to reach the end zone. The Ar­gos’ defence, 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.

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