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Howdy, folks. Three weeks to go in the CFL regular season. The playoff spots are all locked up, but the question of the West Division champion still hangs in the balance. We’ve got a big game this week in Calgary between the Stamps and Bombers that will affect things for all three teams still in the mix to claim the crown – and the invaluable first-round playoff bye.
A fairly quiet this week in the CFL for news; as the season winds down, and with the trade deadline having passed, there probably won’t be a huge number of transactions left over the final three weeks of the season.
- BC Lions QB Mike Reilly broke his wrist in last week’s game against the Eskimos, and had surgery this week for injury, meaning he’ll miss the rest of the season as he recovers. In the meantime, BC has signed Canadian QB Brandon Bridge to help weather the storm over the last few games of the season. Bridge has served as a starter previously in the league, most notably in Saskatchewan; he spent time on Toronto and Montreal earlier this year.
- The Argos signed DB Shaquille Richardson to the practise squad this week; a 2014 NFL Draft pick (5th round), Richardson played 27 games over two seasons in Calgary in 2016 and 2017.
Onto the games!
WEEK 18 RECAPS
Ottawa 21 vs. Toronto 28: With a whimper, Ottawa’s playoff hopes officially came to an end, capping off a disappointing 2019 season. There’s nothing left for them now, just like the Argonauts, but to just ride out the last few weeks of the season. Will Arndt, in his first CFL start, threw the first two touchdown passes of his CFL career, but also had three interceptions on the night. The REDBLACKS did little to establish a run game, either, and yet were it not for DB Tobi Antigha’s second interception of the game, Ottawa still came close to beating Toronto on the road. McLeod Bethel-Thompson, having once again regained the starting job in Toronto, threw two touchdowns, giving him sole possession of the league lead with 22 majors this year. Backup James Franklin ran for another score, while K Tyler Crapigna had two field goals on the night. Receiver SJ Green also had two career milestones on this night, recording both 10,000 career receiving yards as well as 700 CFL catches. While both teams have identical 3-12 records, the REDBLACKS are now technically the last-place team in the CFL due to having lost to the Argonauts twice now.
Saskatchewan 28 vs. Calgary 30: It’s always difficult to win on the road in McMahon Stadium, and the Roughriders were reminded of this on Friday night. A strong defensive effort in the first quarter saw Calgary score a TD on a mishandled Saskatchewan kick return, but the Riders kept pace throughout, including with a pick-six off Bo Levi Mitchell shortly after their own miscues on special teams. A fourth-quarter TD and another late field goal put Saskatchewan down by two points, but unfortunately for the Riders, the Stamps managed to extend their final possession and kill the clock outright, keeping Saskatchewan from a comeback victory. Bo Levi Mitchell finished the night 23-29 for 298 yards, two TDs, and a pick, while his Saskatchewan counterpart Cody Fajardo saw his streak of games without throwing an interception snapped at three; he finished the night 20-32 for 209 yards, a TD, a pick, as well as leading the way for the Riders on the ground with 10 carries for 67 yards.
Montreal 24 vs. Winnipeg 35: With the top of the West Division still very much up for grabs, the Bombers needed a win to keep pace with the Roughriders and Stampeders, and the team responded in kind with another solid performance at home. Andrew Harris led the way with a career-high 166 rushing yards and a TD on 24 carries, while Winnipeg did enough as a team to overcome QB Chris Streveler’s two interceptions on the night. The Bombers were also able to take advantage of an extremely uncharacteristic four interceptions from Als QB Vernon Adams, Jr., who had a very up-and-down game. The Bombers had a fourth-quarter pick-six courtesy of DB Nick Taylor, but also scored field goals off of two other Montreal turnovers, making this home win a full-team effort – and a very valuable victory as the 2019 season winds down.
BC 6 vs. Edmonton 19: LioUns’ star QB Mike Reilly broke his wrist midway through the first quarter, and just like that, the last hopes of a playoff run evaporated for BC fans. Despite a strong run of games down the stretch that kept their faint hopes alive after a dismal first half of the season, the loss of Reilly was too much for the team to handle, as the offence ran cold in his absence. The Eskimos, meanwhile, clinch the final playoff spot left in the CFL; with a strong West Division, it’s most likely that they’ll be the crossover team and play the Montreal Alouettes in the East semifinal, but that still isn’t completely decided yet. With Trevor Harris still on the shelf, as well as star RB CJ Gable, the Eskimos needed a big game from RB Shaq Cooper, with 94 yards and a TD on 18 carries, to help seal the deal in this one. Four field goals from Sean Whyte were also the difference-maker, as the LioUns failed to score any touchdowns on the evening. It’s a disappointing end to the season for BC, who looked like they were finally turning the corner late in the year; time for the team to look ahead to 2020.
BYE: Hamilton (12-3)
WEEK 19 PREVIEWS
Toronto (3-12) vs. Montreal (8-7), Friday, October 18th, 7:00 PM EST (TSN, ESPNEWS): Vernon Adams, Jr. didn’t play fantastic last week, but a Swiss-cheese Argos’ D will be an ideal way to regain his form. With Toronto no longer (technically) the last-place team in the CFL, is the third Pinball Clemons era already a success? MAYBE, folks. But maybe a NEUTRAL FIELD, perhaps in WICHITA, might be a better gauge of what lies ahead for the Argos. McLeod Bethel-Thompson leads the league in touchdown passes this year, but there’s a ton of work left to be done in rebuilding this roster. Montreal, meanwhile, just needs to stay healthy into the playoffs.
Saskatchewan (10-5) vs. BC (5-11), Friday, October 18th, 10:00 PM EST (TSN, ESPN+): With the LioUns officially out of the playoff hunt, and minus their star QB, the Riders will have a slightly easier path to victory in this one. Even on the road, Saskatchewan is gunning hard for the win in order to stay ahead of Western rivals Calgary and Winnipeg. If the Riders can get the pass rush going – watch out.
Ottawa (3-12) vs. Hamilton (12-3), Saturday, October 19th, 4:00 PM EST (TSN, ESPN+): The first-place team against the last-place team. The Tiger-Cats have historically had trouble against the REDBLACKS, but considering the sorry state of their team this year, Hamilton should hopefully have little trouble against Ottawa. With the division title already locked up and a first-round bye clinched, the priority remains for the team to stay healthy. Expect to see a lot of second-stringers out there the next little while. Ottawa will start Will Arndt for the second consecutive game, in order to continue evaluating their future at quarterback.
Winnipeg (10-6) vs. Calgary (10-5), Saturday, October 19th, 7:00 PM EST (TSN, ESPN+): This game has big playoff repercussions, with these two rivals sitting neck-and-neck in the standings. The Bombers, as the road team, will have a lot of work to do, considering the difficulties the entire CFL has when coming into McMahon Stadium to play the Stampeders. As always, the difficulty lies in consistency – when QB Chris Streveler is good, the whole team plays well. When he’s not, the team implodes in spectacular fashion. Calgary will hopefully be able to get to Streveler and keep the pressure ratcheted up on him for this one; on D, they need to hone in on RB Andrew Harris. This one should be a pretty tight matchup all the same – I’m looking forward to watching.
BYE: Edmonton (8-8)
STANDINGS AND STATS
East Division Standings
|Team||Games||Wins||Losses||Points For||Points Against|
West Division Standings
|Team||Games||Wins||Losses||Points For||Points Against|
y – clinched division title
x – clinched playoff berth
c – clinched crossover spot
e – eliminated from playoff contention
- Reilly, BC – 3897
- Harris, EDM – 3706
- Fajardo, SSK – 3649
- Bethel-Thompson, TOR – 22
- Reilly, BC – 20
- Adams Jr., MTL – 17
- Harris, WPG – 1261
- Gable, EDM – 997
- Stanback, MTL – 954
- Burnham, BC – 1329
- Banks, HAM – 1233
- Begelton, CGY – 1224
- Hughes, SSK – 15
- Davis, HAM – 12
- Jefferson, WPG – 12
- Rose, WPG – 8
- Roberson, CGY – 7
- Rolle, HAM – 5
- Whyte, EDM – 46
- Hajrullahu, HAM – 40
- Paredes, CGY – 37
Remember to submit your picks here! https://www.pooltracker.com/join.asp?poolid=168258
|Rank||Total Points||Weekly Score||Win Percentage|
|Game Time Decision||46||3-1||66.67%|
Enjoy the games, everyone.