Hope everyone had a wonderful Canadian Thanksgiving! Everyone except people who make pumpkin mac and cheese: you deserve to go to prison.
There was excitement in every match last week, as the West’s playoff drama continues going into the final stage of the CFL regular season. The East has all of their teams locked up, so all eyes are now on the West as their teams vary in placement every week. It looks to be another fun weekend ahead, with a Saturday triple-header to go along with your NCAA and U-Sports football.
And as always all games will be on ESPN+.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats vs. Toronto Argonauts, Friday (9/12), 7:30 PM ET
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. The defending Grey Cup champs didn’t come close to sniffing the playoffs this year. The Argos’s weapons could not overcome the loss of Ricky Ray, and the defense isn’t good enough to carry the team. They will definitely regret giving away Shawn Lemon for virtually nothing when he has more sacks than their whole team.
After MBT’s abysmal, 4-INT performance last week vs. BC, James Franklin will start once again for the Double Blue Boys. Franklin came in late last week and nearly led a comeback, so Toronto will definitely be competitive at home.
Hamilton is coming off of a bye week after their rowdy shellacking of BC at home. Hamilton will most likely be looking to get their team healthy and hot going into the playoffs. Wth Speedy B coming back and contributing, the Ti-Cats look to be moving in the right direction.
Saskatchewan Roughriders vs. Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Saturday (9/13), 2 PM ET
Willie. Jefferson. Jefferson was the savior for the Riders, as his late pick-6 helped put the Eskimos out of the playoffs for the time being. And Chris Jones bringing the heat was a big part of the Riders’ W on Monday. The Riders sent at least one extra rusher 71.4% of the game vs. Edmonton. That’s 7 out of every 10 plays. You best believe they’re going to bring it against the Bombers as well.
Winnipeg lost their 15 point lead vs. Ottawa, but their savior Adam Bighill forced a fumble in OT to win the game and help propel them into 3rd place in the West. Winnipeg’s offense came alive this game. They had very creative play calling in the ground game, and the air attack was lethal as Matt Nichols threw for 265 yards and 3 TDs.
But this Saskatchewan team is hot and ready for the playoffs coming into Winnipeg. We’ll see which Winnipeg team shows up: the one from last week, or the one that likes to cry when the fans boo.
Ottawa Redblacks vs. Edmonton Eskimos, Saturday, 5 PM ET
What a heart-breaker by the Redblacks last week. They fought so hard to go to OT with Winnipeg, then Brad Sinopoli, Mr. Reliable #2 for them, fumbles the game away in OT.
The Eskimos also suffered from heartbreak as they lost their lead to a pick-6 by a DL. Yea it’s Willie Jefferson III, but a DL scored a pick-6 for a team and it cost Edmonton the game.
At least the Redblacks had positive performances on offense to smile at; Edmonton’s defense performed well, but their offense lacked the fireworks that we’re accustomed to seeing from the Mike Reilly-led offense. The Riders brought the heat to Edmonton and it was very effective; if Ottawa was smart they would do the same.
This is make-or-break time for Edmonton; their best chance of making the playoffs is to win all 3 of their remaining games. But who knows if Edmonton can get back to their early season form.
British Columbia Lions vs. Calgary Stampeders, Saturday, 8 PM ET
Speaking of DL with interceptions, BC’s DT Davon Coleman had two INTs on MBT last week. A DT with two INTs in one game; I have never seen such a sight. BC is going to have to repeat their performance from last week as they go into Calgary, who is looking to clinch the entire Western Division.
Despite beating Toronto handily, BC still is not generating much offense when Jonathon Jennings is at QB. Jennings had 199 passing yards, 1 passing TD and 118 rushing yards on 19 carries but that won’t be nearly enough offense to beat Calgary, unless BC’s defense plays lights out. And we know that ain’t happening. But ya never know.
Calgary also struggled to take down The Fighting Manziels, as Bo Levi threw three INTs. Three turnovers will keep anybody in the game. But the key to great teams is how they respond to adversity. The Stamps always find a way to pull a W out.
Enjoy the games folks! Playoffs will be here soon!