CFL Beat: Week 20

The Maestro
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The Maestro

The Maestro is a mystical Canadian internet user and New England Patriots fan; when the weather is cooperative and the TV signal at his igloo is strong enough, he enjoys watching the NFL, the Ottawa Senators & REDBLACKS, and yelling into the abyss on Twitter. He is somehow allowed to teach music to high school students when he isn’t in a blind rage about sports, and is also a known connoisseur of cheap beers across the Great White North.
The Maestro
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With two weeks left in the season, the playoff pictures are almost set! There’s only one final slot available, and it’s coming down to Winnipeg and Edmonton to duke it out. As it currently stands, this is how the math plays out for everyone right now:

  • If Ottawa wins: Ottawa clinches first in the East
  • If Hamilton wins and Ottawa loses: Hamilton needs to win in Week 21 and for Ottawa to lose as well in order to clinch first in the East
  • If Calgary wins or ties, OR Saskatchewan loses or ties: Calgary clinches first in the West
  • If Saskatchewan wins or ties: Saskatchewan secures a home playoff game (at minimum, 2nd in the West)
  • If Winnipeg wins or ties: Winnipeg clinches the final playoff spot
  • If Winnipeg wins AND BC loses: Winnipeg clinches third in the West, and BC becomes the crossover team

Things are tight right now for the Eskimos; after a promising start to the season, they’ve really taken a nosedive over the back half of their schedule, and they’ll need a lot of help in order to secure that final playoff spot. Edmonton can only make the playoffs if Winnipeg loses to Calgary this week, and the Eskimos also need the Bombers to lose in Week 21, plus win their own matchup, if they hope to clinch the crossover spot with a 9-9 record. No doubt they’ll be watching TSN closely over the bye week to see how things shake out.

Onto the games!


Hamilton 31 vs. Ottawa 35: A thriller in the nation’s capital saw the REDBLACKS erase a 16-point deficit and storm back to claim their season series against the Tiger-Cats. Down 22-6 in the second quarter, Ottawa began the comeback courtesy of backup QB Dominique Davis, who thrived in short-yardage situations all game long, and scored three touchdowns on QB sneaks, including the game-winner midway through the third quarter. REDBLACKS kicker Lewis Ward continues to shine this season, further padding to his CFL record of consecutive field goals made; he also set the new record for consecutive makes, passing Adam Vinatieri’s record of 44 straight; Ward hit his 45th from 52 yards out, a new career long, and his 46th a short time after that. This was a costly loss for the Ti-Cats, not only in terms of division standings, but also due to injuries; top receiver Brandon Banks broke his collarbone and is now done for the season, and Delvin Breaux also left the game to a leg injury, and his status is unclear currently.

PICK: Ottawa

RESULT: Ottawa

Edmonton 32 vs. BC 42: The Lions are in! With a ton of back-and-forth action in the first half, BC took over in the final thirty minutes; receiver DeVier Posey scored three touchdowns in the third quarter that put the game away for good. BC has racked up four straight wins to climb back into the post-season for the first time since 2016, and look poised to challenge the current league leaders in Calgary after a gutsy road win there last week. Edmonton is now on the ropes for making the playoffs; despite a decent outing from Mike Reilly, who threw for 268 yards and a TD and rushed for another, BC just had too much going on offence for the Eskimos to keep pace. Edmonton DB Aaron Grymes scored a 57-yard pick-six off of Travis Lulay in the fourth, showing some pluck, but the Green and Gold could only add a field goal afterwards – that was as close as things would get.



Montreal 22 vs. Toronto 26: Toronto snapped a seven-game losing streak with this home victory, with QB James Franklin leading the way. In his first game since winning back his starting job, the Argos QB threw for 277 yards on 26-37 attempts, and added two TDs on the ground as well. A lot of turnovers in this game – the Alouettes had two fumbles and an interception, while Toronto had two INTs of their own as well. Despite a quiet showing from Johnny Manziel, Montreal did show some fight in this game – the visitors had a 14-10 lead at the half, and DB Tevaughn Campbell scored a pick-six in the third to give the Als a 21-13 lead. However, thanks to some fight in the Argos’ offence, not to mention a few missed field goals from Montreal kicker Boris Bede, Toronto clawed their way back into the game; down 22-19 with two minutes to play, the Argos ran a two-minute drill and got down to the Montreal goal line, with James Franklin punching in the winning score to hand Toronto their fourth victory of the season, and tying the CFL record for most rushing TDs in a season, co-held by CFL legend Doug Flutie. The rematch in Montreal awaits!

PICK: Montreal


Saskatchewan 29 vs. Calgary 24: Just like that, the Stamps are looking somewhat vulnerable – they’ve now lost two straight at home, a rare anomaly for what has been the league’s most dominant home team over the last decade or so. With the Riders’ offence looking in disarray over the last few weeks, it was the perfect time for QB Zach Collaros to find his mojo again; he put together a fantastic performance against the league’s best defence, going 24-35 for 352 yards and putting together some lengthy offensive drives. The Riders’ D also stepped up in a big way in this game, even without lead pass rusher Charleston Hughes, who was suspended by the team after being arrested with a DUI earlier last week. With just 48 pass yards in the first half, Stamps pivot had his work cut out for him in the second; while he did end up going 18-25 for 221 yards and 2 TDs, an end-zone interception ended up proving costly, and Saskatchewan came away with the win in the end. Despite the loss, Calgary still has a shot to clinch the West this week against Winnipeg – and they won’t want to blow yet another opportunity to do so after two straight losses.

PICK: Calgary


BYE: Winnipeg (9-7)


Calgary (12-4) vs. Winnipeg (9-7), Friday, October 26th, 8:30 PM EST: A game with major implications across the league here; a Stamps win, and Calgary locks up the West – and keeps Edmonton’s playoff hopes alive. A Bombers win, and Edmonton is done. Despite the league’s top record, the Stampeders haven’t looked like themselves over the last two weeks, and they’ll want to correct this skid they’ve had as of recent if they want to carry some positive momentum into the post-season with them. Not only that, but they’d prefer to not have to count on a Saskatchewan loss as the means of clinching the division this season. Winnipeg comes off their bye week feeling rested, and hopefully will be just as sharp as they were two weeks ago in their 31-0 dismantling of Saskatchewan. This will hopefully prove to be an awesome game!

PICK: Winnipeg

Ottawa (9-7) vs. Hamilton (8-8), Saturday, October 27th, 4:00 PM EST: Hamilton is now without Brandon Banks, their top playmaker, for the rest of the season, and while it might be a bit premature to say that they’re screwed now, you still can’t but help in feeling like that a little bit. Before breaking his collarbone last week, he was making big play after big play, absolutely shredding the REDBLACKS’ secondary, looking pretty much uncoverable. With Banks now gone, it also means that Ottawa can put Hamilton’s other elite receiver, Luke Tasker, into double-coverage more – not an ideal situation for the Tiger-Cats. Thanks to both A) Ottawa’s win last week putting them a game up on Hamilton and B) the victory having clinched their season-series and thus giving them the tie-breaker, Hamilton is going to need a lot of help in order to keep the REDBLACKS from winning the East for the third time in four years.

PICK: Ottawa

BC (9-7) vs. Saskatchewan (11-6), Saturday, October 27th, 7:00 PM EST: BC wants to keep their momentum rolling, while Saskatchewan wants very much to clinch a home playoff game for the first time since 2013 – the last time they also won the Grey Cup. The other important question still looming is whether BC will be the crossover team or not – having lost their season series with Winnipeg, if the two teams finish with identical records, they’ll be forced to head East, but otherwise this game could be a preview of the West Semifinal. With Saskatchewan’s offence looking much more poised than they have in weeks – the contrast between their 31-0 drubbing at the hands of the Blue Bombers and their poise and patience over the favoured Stampeders is really a tale of two completely different teams. For the Lions, so long as Travis Lulay can continue to get some protection, then they’ll absolutely have a chance of moving up further in the standings – but if Charleston Hughes does end up being back this week, which is entirely uncertain giving the circumstances around his DUI arrest, the Riders’ pass rush could prove ferocious as it usually is.


Toronto (4-12) vs. Montreal (3-13), Sunday, October 28th, 1:00 PM EST: This is really the Toilet Bowl finale here. Thanks to a two-minute drill, Toronto came back to win, but this is kind of sad, because the Alouettes still look as incomplete as ever; Johnny Manziel isn’t tossing interceptions like crazy anymore, but there’s still not nearly enough cohesion to the offence, and he hasn’t shown the vision needed to succeed in a pass-heavy league like the CFL. Once again, the Als finish outside the playoff picture, and while Manziel has the starter’s job next season due to the hefty price paid by GM Kavis Reed to acquire him, if the Alouettes keep looking like this in 2019, expect wholesale changes coming to all levels. Yet again. Toronto has some good pieces on their roster, but also needs to work on retooling both their O-line and their secondary if they hope to return the playoffs for next season.

PICK: Montreal

BYE: Edmonton (8-9)


East Division Standings

Team Games Wins Losses Ties Points For Points Against
x-Ottawa 16 9 7 0 410 398
x-Hamilton 16 8 8 0 472 396
e-Toronto 16 4 12 0 350 496
e-Montreal 16 3 13 0 275 474

West Division Standings

Team Games Wins Losses Ties Points For Points Against
x-Calgary 16 12 4 0 475 325
x-Saskatchewan 17 11 6 0 415 428
Winnipeg 16 9 7 0 497 365
x-BC 16 9 7 0 398 412
Edmonton 17 8 9 0 449 447

x – Clinched Playoff Berth
y – Clinched Division
c – Clinched Crossover Playoff Berth
e – Eliminated from playoff contention

Passing Yards

  1. Reilly, EDM – 5242
  2. Masoli, HAM – 4966
  3. Harris, OTT – 4849

Passing TDs

  1. Mitchell, CGY – 33
  2. Reilly, EDM – 29
  3. Masoli, HAM – 28

Rushing Yards

  1. Powell, OTT – 1362
  2. Harris, WPG – 1269
  3. Gable, EDM – 951

Receiving Yards

  1. Williams, EDM – 1534
  2. Banks, HAM – 1423
  3. Sinopoli, OTT – 1320


  1. Hughes, SSK – 15
  2. Johnson, CGY – 12
  3. Lemon, BC – 11


  1. Orange, BC – 5
  2. Rose, OTT – 5
  3. Rose, BC – 5

Field Goals

  1. Lauther, SSK – 50
  2. Ward, OTT – 48
  3. Long, BC – 43


Remember to submit your picks here!

Rank Total Points Weekly Score Win Percentage
Beerguyrob 52 1-3 71.23%
SonOfSpam 50 3-1 68.49%
Litre_cola 50 2-2 68.49%
Ballsofsteelandfury 49 2-2 67.12%
Game Time Decision 49 2-2 67.12%
Spanky Datass 46 1-3 63.01%
The Maestro 46 2-2 63.01%
Wakezilla 45 2-2 61.64%
Dolph Ucker 4 0-4 5.48%
BC Dick 2 2-2 50.00%
blaxabbath 2 0-4 2.90%
nomonkeyfun 0 0-4 0.00%

Enjoy the games, everyone.

The Maestro
The Maestro
The Maestro is a mystical Canadian internet user and New England Patriots fan; when the weather is cooperative and the TV signal at his igloo is strong enough, he enjoys watching the NFL, the Ottawa Senators & REDBLACKS, and yelling into the abyss on Twitter. He is somehow allowed to teach music to high school students when he isn't in a blind rage about sports, and is also a known connoisseur of cheap beers across the Great White North.
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I regret nothing for picking Montreal. They have played decent football and seem due for a win.

I think BC is going to get beat by double digits this week

BC Dick

For shame. Posey is clicking, 911 is sacking, Sutton is breaking, the DBs are picking, and if Lulay is playing the Lions are too much for any team in the league. Davon Coleman is playing great on the d line too but I couldn’t fit that in. And yet, It’s not 2011 when they were boat racing teams in the second half of the season so I wouldn’t be surprised by a letdown this week.

Game Time Decision

I cannot believe that Ottawa won. I watched most of the first half of the game and closed my notebook. Then when looking at the picks I was confused as to why it showed Ottawa winning.


I’m confused as to how BC has clinched a playoff spot and Winnipeg hasn’t even though Winnipeg is ahead in the standings.


Because we are Winnipeg. That is all you need to know.

BC Dick

Tiebreakers suck, I would rather just drink and watch the games and let the sun-bleached marmot sitting on Glen Suitor’s head tell me who gets in. This is what the marmot said: I think it is because BC won their season series with Edmonton. BC has clinched a playoff spot because even if they lose both remaining to end up 9-9 they would still be better than any East team and Edmonton. If Winnipeg loses both they are also 9-9 but one of those losses would be to Edmonton and then Edmonton would be at least 9-9 and have won the series against Winnipeg. BC would get in over Winnipeg because for some reason the next tiebreaker after head-to-head is who has the higher winning percentage in all games played against all of the teams who are tied. BC – 3-2, EDM – 3-3, WIN – 2-3.


QB Dominique Davis, who thrived in short-yardage situations all game long…

“Wait, thriving in short-yardage situations is a THING?!”

-Mike McCoy


“Damn straight, wanna see?” -B Favre