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October is upon us, and the playoff picture becomes more and more clear by the hour. As it currently stands, a number of teams are poised to clinch a playoff spot this week, while the Alouettes run the risk of being eliminated with a loss and a few other teams winning. Based on a bit of math, this is what we currently see for the playoff picture in each division:
- Ottawa win or tie or Toronto loss: REDBLACKS secure home playoff game (either 1st or 2nd in division)
- Toronto loss: Hamilton secures a home playoff game (at least 2nd in the division)
- Toronto loss plus Winnipeg and Edmonton win: Toronto is eliminated from the playoffs
- Calgary win or tie: Stampeders secure home playoff game (either 1st or 2nd in division)
- Winnipeg, Edmonton and BC all lose: Stampeders secure home playoff game (either 1st or 2nd in division)
At any rate, the Stamps and REDBLACKS are once again the favourites to face each other in the Grey Cup, for the second time in three seasons. But let’s not close the book just yet – a lot can happen in five weeks of football!
In league news this week:
- With more injuries to the Calgary receiving corps (Reggie Begelton went down last week against the Argos, joining Kamar Jorden, DaVaris Daniels, and Eric Rogers on the shelf), the Stamps signed former CFL Most Outstanding Rookie Chris Matthews, who was most recently with the Baltimore Ravens. Matthews won the award in 2012 with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, where he caught 81 catches for 1192 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. Assuming he can be a quick study on the playbook, this is a very quality signing for the league leaders, who have been quick to react to their injury situation this season.
- Looking to shake things up after some poor special teams play, the Edmonton Eskimos relieved Cory McDiarmid of his duties, replacing him with Dave Jackson. How much of an impact this will have is yet to be determined, really.
Onto the games!
WEEK 16 RECAPS
Toronto 16 vs. Calgary 38: In a game where the final result surprised exactly nobody, the Stampeders became the first team in the CFL to clinch a playoff spot, setting a club record of fourteen straight years moving on to the post-season. This had been a close game – Toronto was down 14-10 at halftime – but Calgary rattled off 24 unanswered points in the final two frames to put this one well out of reach for the Argos. Bo Levi Mitchell connected with nine different receivers on passes, and threw for 307 yards and two touchdowns on 20-34 attempts. Receiver Marken Michel was also a difference-maker with some key offensive weapons sidelined; Michel had a 36-yard rush TD on a jet sweep, and a 21-yard catch for a receiving TD that helped the Stamps pull away for good.
BC 10 vs. Hamilton 40: The Ti-Cats got revenge on their OT loss last week to this same BC team, who lacked the fight to make things close this week. Hamilton went up 20-0 quickly in this one, and had a 30-3 lead at the half; Jonathon Jennings turned back into a pumpkin and became his regular interception-prone self, throwing three picks in this contest, including two pick-sixes by Don Unamba and Mike Daly. Along with a dominant defence, which had three interceptions and six sacks, the Ti-Cats had a very efficient and effective offence, with Jeremiah Masoli throwing three touchdowns and backup RB John White, in his first start since 2016 with the Edmonton Eskimos, cracked 100 yards rushing as well. The win pulls Hamilton back to the .500 mark as they sit a game and a half behind the REDBLACKS for the division lead.
Winnipeg 30 vs. Edmonton 3: The Eskimos had absolutely nothing going on against the Blue Bombers in this one. They turned the ball over seven times, and Winnipeg scored 20 points off of those turnovers. Don’t look now, but these teams now sport identical 7-7 records – a remarkable reversal of fortunes from even just three weeks ago, when the Eskimos were sitting fairly comfortably in second place in the West and Winnipeg was on the outside looking in on the playoff picture. Mike Reilly had his worst game in quite a while, mustering just 164 yards passing and throwing two interceptions, including a pick-six to DB Kevin Fogg, who had a very solid game with his catch-and-score, as well as forcing a fumble and recovering another.
Saskatchewan 34 vs. Montreal 29: Roll on, Riders. Saskatchewan took their sixth win in seven games thanks to another complete team effort over the Alouettes; while they weren’t perfect, they did manage to lean on each other in order to keep the Alouettes at bay. Montreal struck first, with Antonio Pipkin pulling a QB keep at the goal line to punch in the Als’ first TD of the day, but Saskatchewan came back to regain the lead with scores from RB Tre Mason and WR Kyran Moore. Montreal did push hard to come back, and made it close in the end; Johnny Manziel threw the first two touchdowns of his CFL career in the second half, connecting with Adarius Bowman and Ernest Jackson, the second of which made the score 31-29 with just over nine and a half minutes remaining. Thanks to a field goal from Brett Lauther with four minutes left, that was as close as the Alouettes would get, and Saskatchewan held on for the victory.
BYE: Ottawa (8-5)
WEEK 17 PREVIEWS
Winnipeg (7-7) vs. Ottawa (8-5). Friday, October 5th, 7:30 PM EST: Yes, the Bombers played some strong defence against Edmonton, but Ottawa dismantled Winnipeg back in Week 10… and on the road, no less. Not only that, but the REDBLACKS’ defence definitely trumps the Eskimos’. It was good to see Andrew Harris re-engaged in the offence after a previous injury had his status in question for last week, and in order to try and go punch for punch with the more balanced attack of the REDBLACKS, Winnipeg will need him at his best. Ottawa could really use another win here in order to keep the Ti-Cats at bay, particularly with that home-and-home series coming up on the calendar…
Toronto (3-10) vs. BC (6-7), Saturday, October 6th, 7:00 PM EST: The Lions have looked like world-beaters at some points this season and doormats at others. The good news for BC is that their defence remains strong. Jonathon Jennings remains as suspect as ever, and with news that Travis Lulay’s injury from the Montreal game a couple weeks ago is a separated shoulder, albeit to his non-throwing one, Lions fans will likely be holding their breath, hoping their team can hold on and sneak into a crossover playoff spot. Meanwhile, the Argos will have to deal with the loss of James Wilder, Jr. to a leg injury; he’s listed as week-to-week on the injury report as of right now. With Wilder out, former NFLer Dexter McCluster is likely to get the majority of the rushing duties this week.
Calgary (11-2) vs. Montreal (3-11), Monday, October 8th, 1:00 PM EST: The Stamps have their playoff berth locked up this week, while Montreal’s is all but gone; with four games left on their schedule, they sit four games behind the second-place Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Edmonton Eskimos, who have the last two East playoff spots due to the crossover rule. One more win from the Ti-Cats, and one more loss from the Als, and it’s all over. While Johnny Manziel continues to improve each week, it’s still not nearly enough right now – the team is nowhere close to compete with the likes of the Stamps on a regular basis. For Calgary, the name of the game is to stay healthy and keep the Roughriders from closing any more of the gap on the division lead; they remain 2.5 games up, but would like to expand upon that for sure.
Edmonton (7-7) vs. Saskatchewan (9-5), Monday, October 8th, 4:00 PM EST: All of a sudden, the Eskimos are falling fast. They need to right the ship in order to try and solidify a more solid playoff berth; as it stands right now, they’re tied with Winnipeg on record, but would receive the crossover playoff berth due to their head-to-head record against the Bombers. The good news is that Edmonton seems to have lucked out with receiver Duke Williams; after he left early in last week’s game against Winnipeg with a shoulder injury, there were some fears amongst the team that he’d be done for the season. However, he is expected back in the lineup this week – a lucky break for this year’s league-leading receiver. For the Roughriders, the keys to victory remain, as always, to get pressure on Mike Reilly, and to engage the run game well against a beleaguered Edmonton front seven.
BYE: Hamilton (7-7)
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 – 4383
- Masoli, HAM – 4286
- Mitchell, CGY – 3937
- Mitchell, CGY – 29
- Reilly, EDM – 27
- Masoli, HAM – 21
- Powell, OTT – 1141
- Harris, WPG – 1101
- Gable, EDM – 797
- Williams, EDM – 1337
- Banks, HAM – 1112
- Sinopoli, OTT – 1069
- Hughes, SSK – 14
- Willis, BC – 9
- Boateng, EDM – 9
- Rose, OTT – 5
- Orange, BC – 4
- Murray, OTT – 4
- Lauther, SSK – 41
- Ward, OTT – 40
- Hajrullahu, HAM – 35
Remember to submit your picks here! http://www.pooltracker.com/join.asp?poolid=148402
|Rank||Total Points||Weekly Score||Win Percentage|
|Game Time Decision||41||3-1||67.21%|
Enjoy the games, everyone.