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It’s the final week of the regular season! While the playoff teams have been set for a while, the seeding is still not yet finalized, with the East Division still up for grabs while the lower seeds in the West could potentially feature three teams with an 11-7 record this time next week. All in all, I’m looking forward to seeing how this year concludes – I’ve been surprised a lot this season, most of the time pleasantly, though a few things (Art Briles, Johnny Manziel, a putrid Alouettes team, the REDBLACKS losing so many games by such a close margin, etc.) I think I’d definitely like to forget moving forward. All the same, enjoy the games this week – except Hamilton/Montreal. Don’t watch the Alouettes. They make the Cleveland Browns look like ballet on turf, and that’s saying something.
WEEK 19 RECAPS
Hamilton 36 vs. Ottawa 41: This was an absolutely bananas game in every way. Ottawa was down early with a 16-0 deficit before they slowly started to claw their way back into the game. Jeremiah Masoli and Brandon Banks were torching Ottawa’s defence, but the REDBLACKS responded with multi-TD games from both RB William Powell, who topped 1,000 yards rushing for the first time in his career, and WR Juron Criner. It was Diontae Spencer, however, that blew everyone else away; he set a new CFL all-time record with 496 all-purpose yards in the game, finishing with 133 receiving yards, 165 kick return yards, and 169 punt return yards. Thanks to the come-from-behind victory, which was clinched thanks to Powell’s second TD of the game, a 43-yard run with 30 seconds left, Ottawa wraps up their season with an 8-9-1 record; they’ll be awaiting the results of Toronto’s Week 20 game against the Lions to see whether they’ll be finishing first or second in the East and secure a first-round playoff bye.
Montreal 12 vs. Saskatchewan 37: It was a homecoming for Darian Durant, who spent 10 seasons with the Roughriders before taking over at quarterback for the Alouettes; and, unfortunately for him, while he received a warm welcome from the Regina crowd, the on-field action was once again not in his favour. With receiver Chad Owens playing just his second game of the season for the Riders due to a long recovery from multiple injuries, the Roughriders lived up their namesake and gave the Alouettes a tough time; Owens led the way with 114 receiving yards and a TD, while RB Trent Richardson had an excellent game, with 127 rush yards and two TDs of his own as well. Montreal, with yet another loss, once again had few bright spots in this game; when Durant was forced to leave the game shortly before the end of the first half due to injury, rookie Matt Shiltz stepped in, and later tossed his first career CFL touchdown pass to Sam Giguere. With Saskatchewan’s 10th victory of the season, they are now in spitting distance of both the Bombers and the Eskimos, but they’ll need some help if they want to get a home playoff game out of this possibility.
BC 36 vs. Winnipeg 27: The Lions are looking to end this year strong, and with Jonathon Jennings stepping up with his best game of the year, they’ll hopefully do just that. For Winnipeg, things are not looking rosy as the playoffs draw near; both Matt Nichols and Andrew Harris, the two most important offensive weapons Winnipeg has on the roster, had to leave this game due to injury. While Harris is supposed to be back for Week 20, things aren’t looking as good for Nichols right now. Thanks to the absence of Harris and Nichols, the Lions offence was lucky to not have to go punch-for-punch with the Bombers; while Winnipeg kicker Justin Medlock had seven field goals in this contest, it wasn’t enough to counter Jennings’ 408 yards on 30-40 pass attempts, to go along with four touchdowns, including two to RB Chris Rainey. BC will look to continue in the spoiler role this week when they face off against the Argonauts.
Calgary 20 vs. Edmonton 29: Thanks to a two-TD performance from receiver Adarius Bowman, who was one of Mike Reilly’s favourite targets last season, the Eskimos topped the Stampeders 29-20 at home, and not only pushed themselves into a tie for second place with Winnipeg, but also snapped an impressive Calgary record – it’s been 103 games since the Stampeders last suffered back-to-back losses. Both team’s offences took a while to get going, but it was Edmonton that managed to get the big plays going – and that was the real difference-maker in this one. The longest offensive play of the night for the Eskimos was Reilly’s 77-yard TD bomb to Brandon Zylstra, which gave the home side a 16-6 lead at the beginning of the third quarter. In the end, Reilly outduelled Calgary counterpart Bo Levi Mitchell; the Eskimos’ QB ended this game with 18-27 completions, 284 yards and 3 TDs, while Calgary’s Mitchell racked up 24-35 completions for 307 yards and 2 touchdowns.
BYE: Toronto (8-9)
WEEK 20 PREVIEWS
Montreal (3-14) vs. Hamilton (5-12), Friday, November 3rd, 7:00 PM EST: Despite the bad start to the year, things are looking better for the Ti-Cats for 2018… Jeremiah Masoli has emerged as a legitimate starting quarterback for Hamilton, while the return of Andy Fantuz to the lineup after missing most of this season is a definite boost moving forward; the rejuvenation of Brandon Banks, who has recorded five consecutive 100+-yard receiving games, has been a big plus for the Tabbies as well. For Montreal? Yeesh. Just burn everything down. Make me the starting quarterback. I dunno. Shit, I’d play for league minimum (around $50K CAD)… it probably wouldn’t be much worse than how they’ve currently been playing out there, plus the team would get to save a whole bunch of money. It’ll be interesting to see what changes come to both the roster and the coaching staff/front office once the regular season finally draws to a close.
Winnipeg (11-6) vs. Calgary (13-3-1), Friday, November 3rd, 9:30 PM EST: Calgary is backing into the playoffs, having lost two in a row after already securing a first-round bye, but at least this week they’ll be facing a Blue Bombers team that won’t have Matt Nichols available to play. As a result, this is a chance to get things back on track, with this finale being the last game action the Stampeders will see for two weeks after this one. The good news for Calgary is that the offence appears to be working somewhat better than in weeks previous; a rejuvenated ground game is mostly what’s missing right now from the team. For Winnipeg, locking up second place and a home playoff game would be a huge bonus, but it seems like everyone’s just holding their breath and hoping that Matt Nichols will be available for the first round of the playoffs, no matter where the game is played.
Edmonton (11-6) vs. Saskatchewan (10-7), Saturday, November 4th, 7:00 PM EST: The Eskimos looked good last week, finally defeating the Stampeders for the first time this season, and they’re hoping they can keep this momentum rolling; a win and a Blue Bombers loss would mean clinching second place in the West and a home playoff date. The Roughriders are also still eligible to clinch a home playoff game as well, though that’s also banking on a Winnipeg loss; due to some tiebreaker scenarios that unfortunately I can’t mathematically work out due to it being A) extremely late as I write these previews and B) my being tired as shit, there’s still a possibility out there. Even playing a road game in the West is still preferable than having to cross over to the East and playing a road game there due to the added travel. At any rate, it’ll be fun to see how the lower seeds shake out in the West once all is said and done!
Toronto (8-9) vs. BC (7-10), Friday, November 4th, 10:00 PM EST: As a fan of the REDBLACKS, I’m crossing my fingers for a Lions win this week; an Argos loss would give Ottawa its third straight division title, plus a first-round playoff bye; a Toronto victory seals the deal for the Argos. With BC playing spoiler to the Blue Bombers last week, they still have it in them to surprise out there; with Jonathon Jennings looking more like his old self against Winnipeg, it’s still likely a fair thing to say that he remains the plan at quarterback moving forward for Wally Buono and his coaching staff. For the Argos, a division title would be the cherry on top of what has been a very surprising season, in a good way; nobody expected them to be contenders at the beginning of 2017, but Marc Trestman has done some excellent work to rejuvenate Ricky Ray, who’s had his best year statistically since 2008. With strong QB play, not to mention the comeback of SJ Green as a top receiver and the emergence of both James Wilder Jr. and DeVier Posey, the Argos could absolutely surprise a lot of people in the playoffs. A first-round bye would absolutely help a ton with that.
BYE: Ottawa (8-9-1)
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|
x- clinched playoff berth
y- clinched division
c- clinched crossover playoff berth
e- eliminated from playoff contention
- Reilly, EDM – 5536
- Ray, TOR – 5205
- Mitchell, CGY – 4700
- Reilly, EDM – 30
- Harris, OTT – 30
- Nichols, WPG – 28
- Powell, OTT – 1026
- Messam, CGY – 986
- Harris, WPG – 967
- Zylstra, EDM – 1615
- Ellingson, OTT – 1459
- Green, TOR – 1379
- Hughes, CGY – 11
- Butler, TOR – 9
- Johnson, CGY – 9
- Gainey, SSK – 10
- Randle, WPG – 5
- Heath, WPG – 5
- Medlock, WPG – 53
- Paredes, CGY – 52
- Hajrullahu, TOR – 43
Remember to submit your picks here! http://www.pooltracker.com/join.asp?poolid=138425
|Rank||Total Points||Weekly Score||Win Percentage|
|Game Time Decision||50||2-2||64.94%|
|Joliet Jake Delhomme||28||0-4||36.36%|