We’ve made it 75% of the way through the 2017 CFL regular season! Just four weeks remain on the schedule, and while the West playoff picture is looking fairly clear so far, with Calgary extremely far out in front & with Winnipeg having a cushion over third- and fourth-place Saskatchewan and Edmonton, the East playoff picture is looking extremely murky once again. No East team is over .500 once again, which has to be disappointing overall to league officials, but at least things are close. It’ll be interesting to see if the Argos can hang on to their division lead, or if Ottawa can manage to come back and claim their third consecutive title. It’ll also be interesting to see if Hamilton can somehow leapfrog into second place and avoid getting replaced by the likely crossover playoff spot winner from the West… I have my doubts… But I’ve been wrong before.
Onto the games!
WEEK 16 RECAPS
Hamilton 30 vs. Winnipeg 13: I don’t think anybody saw this result coming. I know I didn’t. Hamilton shocked the Bombers as the visiting team, giving Winnipeg a rare home loss; the entire team played fantastically, and it was undoubtedly their best game of the season. Jeremiah Masoli led the way for the Ti-Cats, going 27-33 for 338 yards and 2 TDs, while new starting RB Alex Green, filling the void after the departure of CJ Gable to Edmonton, had 20 carries for 97 yards and a TD as well. Brandon Banks also had an awesome night, with 6 catches for 104 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown. Hamilton even successfully managed to pull off – get this – an onside punt, which was recovered and set up another touchdown drive. Yup, onside punts are a thing in the CFL. So long as you’re behind the punter, you’re eligible to touch the ball before the other team does. The defence took it to Bombers QB Matt Nichols, who was forced to the bench at the start of the second half with an injury to his throwing hand, sustained after fumbling twice in the pocket due to sustained pressure from the Tabbies. Ultimately, the whole Winnipeg offence couldn’t get much of anything going – an unusual night to be sure, but with the league’s top-ranked offence this season, this is likely just an anomaly this year.
Saskatchewan 27 vs. Toronto 24: With Kevin Glenn struggling to get completions early on in this one, head coach Chris Jones yanked his starting QB and replaced him with backup Brandon Bridge – and the bold move sparked Saskatchewan to a victory. Bridge went 20-28 for 292 yards and 2 touchdowns after coming in halfway through the second quarter, and his steady presence was key in having the Riders dig themselves out of a first-half deficit – he connected with both Naaman Roosevelt and Caleb Holley, the latter of which had an excellent 75-yard catch-and-run touchdown. This was also the first CFL game for former Alabama star Trent Richardson – he had a quiet night, with just 20 yards on 5 carries total. While Ricky Ray did his best to chuck balls constantly, going 29-39 for 341 yards, 2 TDs and a pick, he fortunately had some support – James Wilder, Jr. had yet another strong night, with 161 total yards on 20 touches, and Martese Jackson made the most of his 3 touches with 44 total yards and a TD. In the end, Tyler Crapigna’s field goal with 29 seconds left on the clock sealed the deal for Saskatchewan, who improved to two games above .500 with the win.
Ottawa 30 vs. BC 25: Ottawa was down 25-6 late in the third quarter, and things were not looking great for the REDBLACKS… and then, all of a sudden, the Lions fumbled when DB Jerrell Gavins tackled WR Bryan Burnham, and knocked the ball loose. With possession deep in Lions’ territory, Trevor Harris, in his first game back after missing the previous three weeks with a separated throwing shoulder, managed to connect with Greg Ellingson for the touchdown, and the comeback was on. Diontae Spencer added another TD grab for Ottawa soon afterwards. A recovered onside kick gave the ball right back to Ottawa, once again, Harris found Ellingson, who scored his second TD of the game on a 45-yard catch and run, giving the REDBLACKS the lead. A final Brett Maher field goal and strong defensive stand seal the deal for the REDBLACKS, who remain in the hunt for their third straight East Division title. Trevor Harris played fantastic, going 28-38 for 380 yards and 3 touchdowns, while BC counterpart Jonathon Jennings had a pretty good night as well, with 375 yards on 26-40 attempts, 3 TDs, and a pick… unfortunately for the Lions, it was a tale of two halves, and Jennings just couldn’t replicate the chemistry he had going with WR Manny Arcenaux in the first three quarters for the final 15 minutes of this one.
Edmonton 42 vs. Montreal 24: The Eskimos finally snapped a six-game losing streak with this win over the Alouettes, and they stay in the hunt for third place in the West; while their playoff hopes are still looking good due to the crossover rule, despite the mid-season swoon, this remains a good team overall. RB CJ Gable made his debut for Edmonton, and looked pretty good in his new colours, helping to officially eliminate Montreal from the playoff race with 22 carries for 111 yards and a touchdown… though he did have a first-quarter fumble returned for a touchdown by the Alouettes. Mike Reilly had 2 TD passes on 286 yards passing (on 13-29 attempts), while backup James Franklin had another. For Montreal… the QB situation was even worse than usual. Backup Drew Willy, starting his second straight game due to Darian Durant being banged up, went 19-29 for just 193 yards and two interceptions. The few bright spots for Montreal were Boris Bede’s four field goals and Tyrell Sutton’s 139 rush yards and a TD on just 14 carries; also, there’s probably some relief at being able to just play out the string for the rest of the season.
BYE: Calgary (12-1-1)
WEEK 17 PREVIEWS
Calgary (12-1-1) vs. Hamilton (4-10), Friday, October 13th, 7:00 PM EST: So Calgary smoked the Als in their last game, and they’re coming off a bye week… while Hamilton absolutely impressed last week against the Bombers, I still can’t see this one going well. The last time these two teams met (which was when Kent Austin was still running the sidelines and Zach Collaros was still the starting QB, to be fair), Hamilton lost 60-1. I think this game is going to be a lot closer than that – but remember, a lot closer is still a relative term. This is the best team in the CFL coming into Hamilton’s home stadium, rested and ready to do some damage. Maybe the Ti-Cats won’t lose by 59… but despite a closer score, the reality is that it still may not be all that close in the end.
Ottawa (6-9-1) vs. Saskatchewan (8-6), Friday, October 13th, 10:00 PM EST: A couple weeks ago, Ottawa coughed up a 17-point lead to the Roughriders to lose on a punt single – arguably one of the absolute worst ways to lose a game. While last week’s tilt against the Lions was a gutsy comeback win, to be fair, the REDBLACKS need to put some completions together much earlier on – and they need to figure out how to keep their game consistent over a full 60 minutes and not lose focus. That was the Roughriders’ key to victories in back to back weeks – they stayed steady and just kept playing their game. With Ottawa coming into the new Mosaic Stadium for the first time ever, I can only hope, as a REDBLACKS fan, that they can start to develop some more consistency before playoffs begin. However, I’m still not holding my breath.
BC (6-8) vs. Winnipeg (10-4), Saturday, October 14th, 4:00 PM EST: Both these teams lost last week, and while it’s curious and perplexing that Winnipeg looked so human just a few days ago, I’d be surprised to see them looking like this in back to back weeks. The Bombers say Matt Nichols is good to go after injuring his throwing hand against Hamilton, while RB Andrew Harris is currently chasing the possibility of a very original CFL milestone – if he continues his current place, he could very well become the first running back in CFL history to record both 1000 yards rushing and 1000 yards receiving in the same season. There’s no doubt that he’s one of the most valuable weapons Winnipeg has, but expect BC’s defence to be keying in on him for this matchup, as they always tend to do. These games tend to be very close, so hopefully this one ends up being an offensive showcase. That would be fun!
Toronto (7-8) vs. Edmonton (8-6), Saturday, October 14th, 7:00 PM EST: The Eskimos need to win this one if they hope to keep pace with Saskatchewan for that third spot in the West; finishing fourth means dealing with the crossover playoff spot; i.e. the fourth-place team in the West, due to having a better record than the third-place team in the East, leapfrogs them for the final playoff spot. While they’re still in the thick of things either way, it’s undoubtedly a more tiring ordeal to have to follow this format, and with the Eskimos petering out in last year’s East Division final to the REDBLACKS, they’d probably prefer avoiding this route again this year, even with the West looking so strong with Calgary and Winnipeg as the division’s front-runners. Toronto, meanwhile, needs to win this, and also will be hoping desperately for an Ottawa loss so that they won’t get leapfrogged in the standings. Even with a game in hand on the REDBLACKS, time is running out, and that first-round playoff bye is going to be absolutely essential this year to whichever team is hoping to go all the way to the Grey Cup.
BYE: Montreal (3-12)
STANDINGS AND STATS
East Division Standings
|Team||Games||Wins||Losses||Ties||Points For||Points Against|
West Division Standings
|Team||Games||Wins||Losses||Ties||Points For||Points Against|
- Ray, TOR – 4420
- Reilly, EDM – 4260
- Harris, OTT – 4104
- Nichols, WPG – 27
- Harris, OTT – 26
- Ray, TOR – 23
- Messam, CGY – 897
- Powell, OTT – 835
- Harris, WPG – 819
- Ellingson, OTT – 1381
- Green, TOR – 1178
- Zylstra, EDM – 1134
- Butler, TOR – 9
- Hughes, CGY – 8
- Willis, EDM – 8
- Gainey, SSK – 8
- Randle, WPG – 5
- Heath, WPG – 4
- Paredes, CGY – 44
- Hajrullahu, TOR – 41
- Medlock, WPG – 41
Remember to submit your picks here! http://www.pooltracker.com/join.asp?poolid=138425
|Rank||Total Points||Weekly Score||Win Percentage|
|Game Time Decision||43||2-2||66.15%|
|Joliet Jake Delhomme||28||0-4||43.08%|