Here at Ninety-Nine Yards Towers we’ve been keeping a close eye on the run into the CFL playoffs. We already knew who was in. We just needed to know who the West Division champs would be. Once we knew that we would know who was playing who and where.
Well now we know. The Calgary Stampeders have done it again. Perhaps we should not be surprised. A 13-5 record rounded off with a win under pressure in BC has seen them take their third straight West Division title.
With that last piece of the jigsaw in place the road to the 106th Grey Cup is set and will begin on Sunday, November 11th with the Eastern and Western Semi-Finals.
The champions of the East & West, Ottawa & Calgary respectively, now have a bye week. They await the winners of the semi-final match-ups. You could think of this like a wild-card weekend coming up & two potentially thrilling games are in prospect.
BC Lions (9-9) at the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (8-10)
Some would argue that Edmonton should be in this match-up. That is because they went 9-9 and arguably outperformed Hamilton. However the CFL playoffs are currently set up for at least 2 teams from each division to go though so it’s the Ti-Cats who take the spot.
The two teams met twice over the season. BC won at home 35-32, whilst Hamilton convincingly put the Lions to the sword 40-10 in the rematch.
Since beating Edmonton to make the playoffs the Lions have lost 2 straight. At the same time the Ti-cats are going into the playoffs on the back of a 3 game losing streak. Not the perfect preparation for either team, but something has to give!
Whoever wins this will play in the Eastern final against the REDBLACKS (11-7) on November the 18th.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers (10-8) at the Saskatchewan Roughriders (12-6)
This will be the first time Saskatchewan have hosted a playoff game in the new Mosaic Stadium. For many this will be the marquee match-up of the weekend.
The two teams met three times during the regular season. In an initial home and home series, the Roughriders won both games. They came away with 31-23 and 37-21 wins. However in the third contest, Winnipeg prevailed 31-0 in a dominant performance.
Winnipeg were on a five game winning streak before resting players and losing to Edmonton in the season finale. The Riders meanwhile won five of their last six regular season games. The 31-0 loss to the Blue Bombers being the aberration.
Whoever wins this will play in the Western final against the Stampeders (13-5) on November the 18th.
No truly dominant team
The 2018 CFL playoffs promise to be fascinating. Whatever the team records say, this year there is no clear-cut favourite. Even Calgary had a 3 game losing slump and just took the West. They had a decimated receiving corps and look nowhere near as dominant as usual.
We won’t know for certain after this weekend who is playing for the Grey Cup. We will know for certain who isn’t going to be as two more teams are eliminated. As ever the best place to get the answers to our CFL questions will be on the field of play. Let’s see what the teams deliver!
Banner image and in-text image both from cfl.ca