WINNIPEG -- It's going to be hard, but veteran receiver Terrence Edwards insists he and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers haven't given up hope of getting into the playoffs.
"That's CFL football, you're not out of it until you're out of it,'' he said Thursday, as the Bombers prepared to host the BC Lions.
The Lions can lock up a playoff spot in the West with a win over Winnipeg. But they can also do it if Edmonton loses at home to Toronto.
With Montreal at just two games ahead of them, and having lost a game to Winnipeg, the Bombers playoff hopes in the East may be slim but they're still mathematically alive.
"We've still got the chance to get into the playoffs, we've just got to play like did in the first half of last weekend and I think the wins will take care of themselves,'' said Edwards.
With Max Hall at quarterback, the Bombers dominated over three quarters against Edmonton last week, but they gace up a 27-14 lead in the fourth, where Hall was hurt, to let the Eskimos score 13 unanswered points. Edmonton walked out with a 35-27 win.
The Bombers are starting Hall again and, after Justin Goltz wasn't able to step in as Hall's replacement last week, Jason Boltus sits in the No. 2 spot on this week's depth chart.
"I feel great, I feel real confident,'' said Hall. "I did some good things in that game and I made two or three pretty big mistakes in that game that hurt us.''
He said his weren't the only mistakes that cost the team the win but eliminating the errors is key if the Bombers want to turn things around this week.
"If we can eliminate the big mistakes and play four quarters of football, I mean we can play with anybody in the league.''
The Lions, meanwhile, will give Thomas DeMarco his second start in place of an injured Travis Lulay (shoulder). A pair of former Bomber quarterbacks will back him up: Buck Pierce is No. 2 on the Lions' depth chart and Joey Elliott is No. 3.
"I'm a veteran now,'' DeMarco said with a grin after his last-minute 24-22 win in Regina against the Saskatchewan Roughriders last week.
"It's a learning experience as you go on and it's going to be an exciting venue to play in tomorrow.''
He says it doesn't hurt that defences in the CFL don't know a lot about him as a quarterback, but suggested it wasn't that big an advantage.
"They're going to prepare for us, just like we're going to prepare for them''
Pierce said he gets to sleep in his own bed at least. He is maintaining his permanent residence in Winnipeg.
And he was treating his new team to a dinner at the restaurant he co-owns in the city.
"It's a good way to bond with my guys,'' he said.
Winnipeg coach Tim Burke agrees it feels a little odd to see two players who he coached so recently on the other side of the field.
"That just shows you how few quarterbacks can play at this level,'' he said.
"The teams that are doing really well have really good quarterbacks and the teams that are struggling are teams that haven't got established quarterbacks.
"Not only is it hard to have a No. 1 who's really good, now it's hard to find a backup who can get you out of a game with a win as well.''
Edwards says they wish Pierce well before and after the game, but not during.
"Before and after the game I consider Buck a friend, but during the game I hope he gets some treatment,'' said one of Pierce's favourite targets when he was throwing passes for the Bombers.