On defence, Alex Bazzie, signed just this week after failed NFL tryouts, starts at his old rush end position ahead of Ken Boatright, who showed flashes of potential last week in Calgary. It will be interesting to see if Bazzie can generate more pressure than Boatright or Josh Shirley have delivered from that position since DeQuin Evans was injured after a strong start to the season.
On offence, Kelvin Palmer returns at right tackle. David Foucault, who started at that position for the first time last week, is listed as a backup O-lineman. That gives the Lions three national starters on the O-line instead of four and it likely means that Nick Moore, the fourth international receiver, will be scratched.
Keynan Parker is also added to the roster from the 6-game injured list and will back up Anthony Gaitor at field corner. Many of us had hoped to see Parker as the starter at that position, which has been the Lions' biggest defensive weakness this year.
It's hard to know what to expect from either team. Jonathon Jennings looked great in relief of Travis Lulay in the Lions' last home game against Montreal but was terrible last week in Calgary. Travis Lulay threw for a record 436 yards in the Lions' victory in Hamilton in July. The Ticats have given up a league-worst average of 34.6 points and 414 yards of net offence this year but they are 2-1 since June Jones replaced Kent Austin as head coach. Jonathon Jennings is 3-0 against Hamilton in his career but the Lions generated just 207 net yards on offence last week, their lowest total in two years, as Jennings continually tried to throw into coverage to Bryan Burnham and Manny Arceneaux while ignoring his outside receivers.
The B.C. defence is strong enough to keep them in any game as long as they defend against the deep pass. The Lions rank last in the league in that stat, thanks largely to blown coverages on the wide side of the field.
The key to the game for Jennings will be to cut down on turnovers and distribute the ball to all his receivers. The Lions are last in the league with a minus-9 turnover ratio and Jennings is the eighth-ranked starting quarterback, once again leading the league in interceptions despite missing nearly half of the Lions 12 games, and has only been accurate this year on passes of less than 9 yards. The Lions will go only as far as Jennings will take them and they won't go anywhere if he doesn't regain the confidence and arm strength he showed last year.
Here's a link to the Lions' depth chart and roster for this game.
There are also a lot of interesting stats in this week's Game Notes at bclions.com. This one is particularly important:
Good starts vital: This season it has been critical for BC to get off to a good start. In the 3 games when they have led after the 1st
Quarter they are 3-0 (and 11-3 over the last two years), but they are 1-6 when trailing after one quarter. Similarly, the Lions are 6-0
when ahead or tied after the 1st half, and 0-6 when trailing after 30:00.