Breaking down the playoff race for all nine teams

With eight weeks remaining in the CFL regular season and the playoff races now in full swing, it’s time to take a good, hard look at where things stand.

With that in mind, here’s a break down of all nine teams.

East Division

Ottawa (6-5)
Games remaining: 7
Schedule: at SSK, vs EDM, bye, vs WIN, at EDM, vs HAM, at HAM, vs TOR
Home games: 4
Opponent winning percentage: .512
Division series status: 2-0 vs MTL (win), 1-0 vs HAM (two games remaining) 0-1 vs TOR (-1 point.)
Key matchups: vs HAM on Oct. 19, at HAM on Oct. 27.
Sports Club Stats Playoff Chances: 97.4 per cent

Losers of two straight, Ottawa has the toughest schedule remaining in the East with a game in Saskatchewan, at home against the Bombers and two against Edmonton still on the docket – as well as crucial home-and-home against Hamilton in late October. A division title is within their grasp: they need to keep pace with Hamilton against those Western teams, then take one of the two against the Ticats but there’s no margin for error. Though it’s unlikely, Toronto can catch them and the season series is still in doubt.

Hamilton (6-5)
Games remaining: 7
Schedule: vs CAL, at BC, vs BC, bye, at TOR, at OTT, vs OTT, vs MTL
Home games: 4
Opponent winning percentage: .465
Division series status: 2-0 vs TOR (win), 1-0 vs MTL (+39 points, one game remaining), 0-1 vs OTT (two games remaining.)
Key matchups: at OTT on Oct. 19, vs OTT on Oct. 27.
Sports Club Stats Playoff Chances: 99.6 per cent

The Ticats have the easiest schedule of any team in the East, particularly after Saturday’s home game against the Stamps. The two games against Ottawa loom large in terms of deciding the division title, though the post-season – and a home playoff date – seem a virtual certainty at this point.

Toronto (3-8)
Games remaining: 7
Schedule: bye, vs SSK, at CAL, at BC, vs HAM, vs MTL, at MTL, vs OTT
Home games: 3
Opponent winning percentage: .499
Division series status: 1-0 vs OTT (+1 point, one game remaining), 0-2 vs HAM (loss), 0-1 vs MTL (two games remaining.)
Key matchups: vs MTL on Oct. 20, at MTL on Oct. 28, at OTT on Nov. 2.
Sports Club Stats Playoff Chances: 8.9 per cent

The Argos did major damage to their playoffs chances by losing the home-and-home against Hamilton and have a tough three-game stretch against West Division teams coming up. If they survive that – 2-1 at worst – they’ll need to make some noise against Montreal and Ottawa late in the season and hope to crawl past the Redblacks into second place in the East.

Montreal (3-8)
Games remaining: 7
Schedule: vs BC, at WIN, vs SSK, vs CAL, bye, at TOR, vs TOR, at HAM
Home games: 4
Opponent winning percentage: .480
Division series status: 1-0 vs TOR (two games remaining), 0-1 vs HAM (-39 points, one game remaining), 0-2 vs OTT (loss.)
Key matchups: Everything.
Sports Club Stats Playoff Chances: 4 per cent

In addition to having four straight games against West Division opponents coming up, the Alouettes have already lost the season series to Ottawa and would need a 40-point win over Hamilton – the two teams they likely need to catch in the East. Antonio Pipkin might be good, but he ain’t that good.

West Division

Calgary (9-2)
Games remaining: 7
Schedule: at HAM, bye, vs TOR, at MTL, vs B.C., vs SSK, at WIN, at B.C.
Home games: 3
Opponent winning percentage: .400
Division series status: 1-1 vs SSK (one game remaining), 1-1 vs EDM (lose series on point differential), 1-0 vs B.C. (two games remaining), 1-0 vs WIN (+13, one game remaining.)
Key matchups: vs SSK on Oct. 20.
Sports Club Stats Playoff Chances: 100 per cent

Despite the loss to Edmonton on Saturday (which also cost them the season series), the Stamps have a two-game lead in the West Division and the easiest schedule of any team in the CFL. If the Riders can close the gap to just one game by late November – the matchup at McMahon could be for the division title.

Saskatchewan (7-4)
Games remaining: 7
Schedule: vs OTT, at TOR, at MTL, vs EDM, at WIN, at CAL, vs B.C., bye
Home games: 3
Opponent winning percentage: .461
Division series status: 2-0 vs WIN (win), 1-1 vs CAL (one game remaining), 1-0 vs B.C. (+3, one game remaining), 0-1 vs EDM (-7, one game remaining.)
Key matchups: vs EDM on Oct. 8, at CAL on Oct. 20.
Sports Club Stats Playoff Chances: 97.9 per cent

The Banjo Bowl victory over Winnipeg and the Toronto loss virtually clinched a playoff spot for Saskatchewan – they have a four-game lead in the crossover if it comes to that – but the Riders likely have bigger plans. With the season series against Calgary and Edmonton still up for grabs, a home playoff date and even the division title still very much in play. The Riders also have the second-easiest remaining schedule in the West and a Week 21 bye.

Edmonton (7-5)
Games remaining: 6
Schedule: bye, at OTT, vs WIN, at SSK, vs OTT, at B.C., bye, vs WIN
Home games: 3
Opponent winning percentage: .521
Division series status: 1-1 vs CAL (win on point differential), 1-0 vs WIN (two games remaining), 1-0 vs SSK (+7, one game remaining), 1-1 vs B.C. (one game remaining.)
Key matchups: Sept. 29 vs WIN, Oct. 8 vs. SSK, Nov. 3 vs WIN.
Sports Club Stats Playoff Chances: 94.6 per cent

A mixed bag for Edmonton, who haven’t lost a season series to a West Division opponent yet this season but have just six games remaining while the teams they are chasing have seven: both winning the division and being the crossover team is still in play. Every game from here on in will be meaningful for the Esks, two against Winnipeg and a home date versus the Riders particularly so. Two byes down the stretch should have them relatively fresh come playoff time.

Winnipeg (5-7)
Games remaining: 6
Schedule: bye, MTL, at EDM, at OTT, vs SSK, bye, vs CAL, at EDM
Home games: 3
Opponent winning percentage: .573
Division series status: 1-1 vs B.C (win on point differential), 0-2 vs SSK (loss), 0-1 vs EDM (two games remaining), 0-1 vs CAL (-13, one game remaining.)
Key matchups: at EDM on Sept. 29, at EDM on Nov. 3
Sports Club Stats Playoff Chances: 68.3 per cent

Strange as it may seem, a 22-point win over the Lions way back on July 7 may be the key to the Bombers playoff fortunes. That victory was enough to overcome a three-point loss the following week on the back side of a home-and-home set and give Winnipeg the season series over B.C. That said, the Lions are just one game back in the standings have two games in hand over the Bombers. With a home playoff date a long shot at this point – the Banjo Bowl loss took care of that – Winnipeg may decide the crossover is their best hope of making the Grey Cup.

B.C. (4-6)
Games remaining: 8
Schedule: at MTL, vs HAM, at HAM, vs TOR, at CAL, vs EDM, at SSK, vs CAL
Home games: 4
Opponent winning percentage: .561
Division series status: 0-1 vs SSK (-3, one game remaining), 1-1 vs EDM (one game remaining), 0-1 vs CAL (two games remaining), 1-1 vs WIN (loss on point differential),
Key matchups: Every single one.
Sports Club Stats Playoff Chances: 29.5

The Lions best hope to make the playoffs is passing Winnipeg for fourth place in the West and securing a crossover berth. Unfortunately, they’ve already lost the season series to the Bombers and will finish the season with four tough games against West Division opponents.

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.
Drew Edwards
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Drew Edwards
About Drew Edwards (1494 Articles)
Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.