It was a good news, bad news Saturday for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats but the bad, given how it happened and the implications, is much worse.
A day after beating the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to give their post-season chances a much-needed boost, the Ticats watched as one division rival coughed up a lead while another overcame a 19-point deficit to win. Toronto’s 27-24 loss to Saskatchewan means the Ticats are now six points behind the division-leading Argonauts but the Double Blue have the tie-breaker after winning in double overtime two weeks (in a game where Hamilton blew a 14-point fourth quarter advantage.) Hamilton would have to win out and the Argos lose out for the Ticats to catch them.
But it was the Redblacks improbable 30-25 win over B.C. that was a real killer for Hamilton. The victory preserves Ottawa’s five-point advantage for what is likely the East Division’s second and final playoff spot.
The Ticats still control their own destiny, however. If they were to win their remaining four games – including next Friday’s home date against the league-leading Calgary Stampeders – Hamilton will make the post-season.
But things are increasingly precarious for the Ticats. A loss to Calgary followed by an Ottawa win in Saskatchewan later Friday night would eliminate the Ticats from playoff contention. A loss by both teams would force Hamilton to win their remaining three games – at Montreal, at Ottawa, home vs Montreal – to make the post-season. Given the Alouettes are a dumpster fire at the moment, that’s not inconceivable.
Still, had B.C. just taken care business against Ottawa, things would be looking far better for the Ticats. On the site SportsClubStats.com, which tracks the playoff odds for each team, Ottawa’s playoff chances jumped 12.5 per cent with the win while Hamilton’s dropped 10.8 per cent. Needless to say, that’s a massive swing. The Ticats’ odds are currently 9.4 per cent.
Of course, not starting 0-8 would have helped as well…