FIVE THINGS TO WATCH
1 PASS-CATCHER CRISIS
On Thursday, the Stampeders announced that Marken Michel was their latest receiver to get put on the six-game injured list. Four of their top five American receivers are out long-term, and there’s a possibility that Eric Rogers won’t be able to play Saturday because he’s in California for the birth of his second child. Chris Matthews should get his first start, but the Stamps need big performances from unheralded guys.
2 LULAY BACK STARTING
Reports out of Vancouver indicate Travis Lulay should be back as the Lions’ starting quarterback this weekend. Lulay’s numbers aren’t all that different from those put up by backup Jonathon Jennings this season, but he turns the ball over less and that’ll be big against a Stampeders defence that is going to put him under pressure.
3 IN THE LIONS’ HANDS
For the Lions, every game is a mustwin from here on out. Their 7-7 record has them narrowly ahead of the Eskimos for a playoff spot, but they don’t have much breathing room and have to face the Stamps twice in their final four games. They’re not making the post-season if they don’t win at least one of those.
4 ALL ABOUT WALLY
Unless the Lions make the West Division final – which is entirely possible – Saturday will mark Wally Buono’s final game in Calgary. Buono coached for the Stampeders from 1987 to 2002 and was one of the most important figures in the club’s history, guiding the team to three Grey Cups as head coach. He’s been gone a long time — he left in 2003 — but expect him to get a hero’s welcome on Saturday.
5 KEEP THE PRESSURE ON
The Stamps defensive line was ridiculous against the Alouettes on Monday, and only a game-in-hand has the Riders ahead of them in sacks. No defensive tackle in the league has more sacks than Micah Johnson, while Cordarro Law’s return to the lineup adds another terrifying element to the D-line. Whatever’s going on with the receivers, the d-line is going to give the Stamps a shot at winning.
Travis Lulay is expected to be back under centre for the Lions, replacing Jonathan Jennings. Doesn’t matter who B.C. sends out as QB, Stamps’ Micah Johnson (top left) will be looking to add to his sack total.