With just two weeks remaining on the CFL schedule, it’s time to take a look at the races to monitor as the regular season comes to a close. With the exception of the 15-1-1 Calgary Stampeders, every team has something to compete for before the playoffs get underway on November 13th.
Second place in the West
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers (10-6) and B.C. Lions (10-6) are the only two teams that can finish second in the West Division. Winnipeg won the season series over the Lions, so finishing with a record that is equal to or better than B.C.’s would earn the Bombers their first home playoff game since 2011. Both clubs finish the season with double-headers — Winnipeg with Ottawa and B.C. with Saskatchewan.
Third place in the West
The Edmonton Eskimos (8-8) cannot overtake the Lions down the stretch (see above), but could catch the Bombers due to a 2-1 season series advantage. If Winnipeg drops its two remaining contests with Ottawa and Edmonton wins out (at Hamilton, vs. Toronto), the Esks would finish third in the West and travel to B.C. for the West Semi-Final. The Bombers, meanwhile, would finish fourth and travel to Ottawa or Hamilton for the East Semi-Final (more on that below).
First place in the East
The Ottawa Redblacks (7-8-1) and Hamilton Tiger-Cats (7-9) will be the only two teams to earn playoff berths from the CFL’s East Division this season. Ottawa is currently in first place by the single point they earned in their week three tie versus Calgary, but Hamilton can overtake the Redblacks by posting a better record in the final two weeks of the season. The Redblacks finish the season with a home-and-home with Winnipeg, while the Ticats will host Edmonton and Montreal. Game on.
First overall pick in the 2017 draft
The Toronto Argonauts (5-12), Montreal Alouettes (5-11), and Saskatchewan Roughriders (5-11) will finish in the bottom-third of the CFL standings this season. Even if Hamilton lost both of its remaining games this season (vs. Edmonton, vs. Montreal), Montreal and Saskatchewan would be unable to catch the Ticats having already lost the season series with the Tabbies.
Toronto would earn the first overall pick in the 2017 CFL draft with a week twenty loss in Edmonton following this week’s bye. The Argos split the season series with Montreal and Saskatchewan, but lose the tiebreaker with both due to negative point differentials of 41-55 and 41-46, respectively.
Saskatchewan is currently slated to select second overall in the draft as they lost both of their meetings with Montreal this season. This could change if Saskatchewan posts a better record than the Alouettes (vs. Calgary, at Hamilton) in its final two games (vs. B.C., at B.C.).
Readers are reminded that neither Toronto nor Montreal is in possession of their first round selections in the 2017 draft. The Argos sent their 2017 first round pick to Winnipeg as part of the Drew Willy trade, while the Als traded their 2017 first round pick to B.C. for the rights to rookie quarterback Vernon Adams.