Calgary Stampeders Will Win the Labour Day Classic on Monday

Jim FlanneryAnalyst IAugust 31, 2013

MONTREAL, CANADA - JULY 12:  Jon Cornish #9 of the Calgary Stampeders sticks arm out to block Geoff Tisdale #12 of the Montreal Alouettes during the CFL game at Percival Molson Stadium on July 12, 2013 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Stampeders defeated the Alouettes 22-14. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

The Battle of Alberta begins anew on Monday when the Edmonton Eskimos make their annual trip to Calgary to face the Stampeders in the Labour Day Classic.

In most years, this is one of the most hotly contested games of the season for both teams. The Calgary-Edmonton rivalry seems to run deep and wide throughout all sports, be it football, hockey, lacrosse or baseball—when the cities have pro baseball teams, that is.

So watching the Stamps and Eskimos square off is usually a treat.

This year, however, it is liable to be a snoozer. The Stampeders are currently a solid 6-2 and in second place in the Western Division while the Eskies are a dismal 1-7, tied for the worst record in the CFL with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and languishing in a six-game losing streak.

The only thing that might make this game more interesting is the ongoing issues with injuries that Calgary continues to deal with.

Nik Lewis fractured his tibia during Calgary's Week 8 loss to the BC Lions, leaving the Stamps without their top receiver. Quarterback Kevin Glenn was forced out of last week's win against the Toronto Argonauts after taking a shot to the head and superstar running back Jon Cornish missed the entire game due to a leg injury.

However, both Glenn and Cornish are apparently good to go for Monday, which means Calgary's key weapons are in play.

Glenn has been solid all year long as Calgary's pivot. In six games he has thrown six touchdown passes against just two interceptions, producing a strong 99.4 passer's rating. And if he has to check out, backup Bo Levi Mitchell has done an outstanding job in relief, tossing five TDs in only 54 pass attempts with no interceptions.

Cornish, meanwhile, remains in second place in CFL rushing this year in spite of missing last week's game. He has racked up 916 all-purpose yards in seven games this year and is well on the way to a second-straight Outstanding Canadian award.

Even without Lewis, Calgary's receiving corps is deep and dangerous. Marquay McDaniel has 419 yards receiving so far, with his first 100-yard game coming last week in Lewis' absence. Maurice Price and Jabari Arthur are both over 200 yards in receiving and four more players are over 100 yards.

Defensively, Calgary has given up the second-fewest points so far this year (200). Charleston Hughes and Cordarro Law have five sacks each and are providing excellent pass pressure.

The Eskimos, on the other hand, have struggled mightily all year.

Quarterback Mike Reilly has shown steady progress and is currently third in the CFL in passing yards with 2,031. But there haven't been too many other standouts in the year; the Eskies have the second fewest points for (188) and are fifth in points against (235), which doesn't add up to a lot of good news.

On the bright side, Edmonton's last three losses have all been by a field goal or less, so they have shown signs of improvement, but unless several players on their roster can step up in a big way on Monday, the Eskimos will be dropping their eighth game of the year.

Follow me on Twitter @calgaryjimbo