This weekend we will receive an answer to a question that we have been waiting anxiously for all fall– who will travel to Regina for the Western Division semi-final?
Currently the Eskimos have the upper hand. They control their own destiny. It’s simple. Win and they’re in. However, a loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders tomorrow night at Mosaic Stadium in Regina (5pm, TSN) coupled with a B.C. Lion win tomorrow in Hamilton (12pm, TSN), means the Lions are going to the playoffs.
My gut feeling is that both teams will win. But my gut hasn’t been very accurate lately. I was wrong with the World Series and am only 14-13 over the last two weeks in picking NFL games, and I’m not even going against the spread.
For Edmonton to get by Saskatchewan, they will need continued success from their defense in hostile territory. Linebackers Rod Davis and Maurice Lloyd, defensive end Greg Peach, cornerback Jason Goss and non-import safety Elliott Richardson will have to continue to come up big.
I’m also interested to hear who will start for the Eskimos at quarterback. I think Ricky Ray will start if B.C. beats Hamilton. If they don’t, the game is meaningless, Jared Zabransky starts, and I’m watching the Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs on Hockey Night in Canada.
Here are the other events I’ll be keeping an eye on this weekend.
Friday–5pm–Women’s World Cup Soccer Qualifier–Canada vs. Costa Rica–www.cbcsports.ca– In a one-game showdown, Canada takes on Costa Rica in women’s soccer from Cancun, Mexico. The winner books a ticket to the 2011 Women’s World Cup of Soccer in Germany in June. Canada outscored its opponents 12-0 in the round robin. Burnaby’s Christine Sinclair scored four times in Canada’s 8-0 victory over Guyana last Sunday. Other Canadians to watch include Jonelle Filigno of Mississauga who has three tournament goals and goaltender Karina LeBlanc of Maple Ridge, British Columbia, who has posted shutouts against host Mexico and Trinidad and Tobago.
Friday–7pm–NHL–Detroit Red Wings @ Edmonton Oilers–Sportsnet One– The Red Wings (7-2-1) meet the Oilers (3-5-2) in their first meeting of the season against each other. Detroit is currently in third place in the Central Division, one point back of St. Louis and a much-improved Columbus Blue Jackets’ team. On Wednesday night, the Calgary Flames were able to shut down Detroit’s top two lines, but couldn’t find an answer for Detroit’s third line, as the Abdelkader-Cleary-Modano line scored Detroit’s two goals. Edmonton has shown their youth during the season so far and will need to play a complete sixty minutes to beat Detroit.
World Golf Championship–Friday from 10pm to 2am and Saturday from 9pm to 1am–The Golf Channel– After two rounds at the HSBC World Golf Championship from Shanghai, China, Francesco Molinari of Italy leads World No.1 Lee Westwood of England by one stroke at -9. Personally, I disagree with Westwood’s world number one status because I believe a major should be a prerequisite on any world no.1′s resume. Westwood has zero career majors to his credit.
Saturday–1pm–CIS–Regina Rams @ Calgary Dinos–Shaw Channel 10–The Canada West Semi-Final takes place Saturday afternoon from McMahon Stadium with Regina playing Calgary in one matchup and Saskatchewan hosting Alberta in the other. The Dinos have been led by running back Matt Walter, who has rushed for 763 yards and five touchdowns. Calgary had a record of 6-2 and Regina finished at 5-3. Despite Calgary’s better record, Regina scored 73 more points than Calgary this season.
Saturday–1:30pm–NCAA–Washington @ (1) Oregon–ABC–November is when I first start watching College football in the United States. The best team right now are the Oregon Ducks. Their running back LaMichael James is the player we’ll all have to keep an eye on. James is averaging 172.9 yards per game for a Duck team that is 8-0. Washington is 3-5, but have beaten nationally ranked teams such as Oregon State and USC to date.
Sunday–11am–NFL– Chicago Bears @ Buffalo Bills–FOX–In the annual NFL game from Toronto, the Bills might be 0-7, but aren’t playing like it. They have scored 25 or more points in three of their seven games, and have only been blown out by Green Bay and the NY Jets. Bills’ wide receiver Steve Johnson has caught a touchdown in a franchise high five consecutive games. The Bears are 4-3, but haven’t seem to be completely in sync this season. Perhaps a game against the lowly Bills is what they need.
Sunday–2pm–NFL–New York Giants @ Seattle Seahawks–FOX–In a battle of two first place teams, the 5-2 Giants travel to Seattle to take on the 4-3 Seahawks. Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck is out this week with a concussion, meaning that Charlie Whitehurst will get the start. Despite playing in three NFL games over the last four years, Whitehurst has never thrown a pass. The Giants have had a great season from Ahmad Bradshaw who is averaging 101.1 rushing yards per game.
Sunday–2pm–NFL–Indianapolis Colts @ Philadelphia Eagles–CBS–The Eagles (4-3) will be facing an AFC South opponent for the second consecutive game. Two weeks ago in Tennessee, Philadelphia had a commanding 19-10 lead in the fourth quarter, when they forgot to cover Titans’ wide receiver Kenny Britt who scored two touchdowns in a 37-19 win. Indianapolis looked very sharp Monday night against Houston. Peyton Manning controlled the offense with ease and put the Colts in first place in the AFC South at 5-2.
Sunday–5pm–NHL–Edmonton Oilers @ Chicago Blackhawks–Sportsnet One–The Oilers start a tough five game round trip in Chicago. This will be the second Oiler game in Chicago over the last nine days. On October 29, the Oilers defeated the Blackhawks 7-4 thanks to a pair of goals by Sam Gagner. When analyzing Chicago’s stats, Patrick Sharp jumps out at me big time. He has 10 goals and 6 assists so far, but is a -10! Go figure?
Sunday–6pm–NFL–Dallas Cowboys @ Green Bay Packers–NBC–The Cowboys are 1-6, and travel to Lambeau to take on the NFC North leading Packers (5-3). Green Bay could be considered the Edmonton Eskimos of the NFL for more than their similarity in colours. Ever since the injury to Ryan Grant to start the year, they have had a passing mentality on almost every down. Expect the Cowboy secondary to be tested throughout the evening.
Tags: ahmad bradshaw, b.c. lions, buffalo bills, Calgary Dinos, charlie whitehurst, christine sinclair, dan cleary, Edmonton Eskimos, Edmonton Oilers, elliott richardson, francesco molinari, greg peach, jared zabransky, jason goss, jonelle filigno, justin abdelkader, karina leblanc, kenny britt, lamichael james, lee westwood, matt hasselbeck, matt walter, maurice lloyd, mike modano, oregon ducks, patrick sharp, peyton manning, Ricky Ray, rod davis, sam gagner, steve johnson, women's soccer