A team-by-team break down of the CFL playoff race (and a nightmare scenario)

While the playoff picture in the East Division is gradually rounding into shape, things out West are still wide open after another unpredictable week. There’s even a wild, nightmare scenario that could see Calgary win the West Division but leave four teams tied with 10-8 records…

Here’s how things would need to play out:

• Saskatchewan (9-5) wins this week over Edmonton, then loses their last three.
• Winnipeg (7-7) wins three straight but loses to Edmonton on Nov. 3.
• Edmonton (7-7) loses this week to Saskatchewan but wins their last three (Ottawa, B.C., Winnipeg.)
• B.C. (6-7) wins four of their last five but loses to Edmonton on Oct. 19.
Now, everything has to fall just right for that to happen – including Calgary losing four straight – but given how crazy this season has been, it seems within the realm of possibility. At that point, everything would be decided by a byzantine set of rules involving points for and against, divisional records and the price of in-stadium hot dogs that only CFL stats master Steve Daniel knows.
Let’s take a look at what each team is facing.
East Division

Ottawa (8-5)
Games remaining: 5
Schedule: vs WIN, at EDM, vs HAM, at HAM, vs TOR
Home games: 3
Opponent winning percentage: .449 (31-38)
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: 99.9 per cent

What just happened: Bye week but with Hamilton’s win over B.C., the Redblacks are now just one game up in the race for the East Division with a game in hand. Their next two games are against West Division teams fighting for their playoff lives before the key home-and-home against Hamilton.

Playoff scenario: Clinches a playoff spot with a win over Winnipeg or a loss by Toronto.

What’s next: Home game vs Winnipeg where a win would restore their two-game lead and give them some renewed breathing room.

Who they should be cheering for in other games: if they lose Friday, B.C. to beat Toronto on Saturday.

Hamilton (7-7)
Games remaining: 4
Schedule: bye, at TOR, at OTT, vs OTT, vs MTL
Home games: 2
Opponent winning percentage: .415 (22-31)
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: 100 per cent

What just happened: The Ticats closed the gap on first place Ottawa with their win over B.C. on Saturday and now need the Bombers to do them a solid by beating the Redblacks this week. Regardless, the Ticats still control their own destiny when it comes to the division title: if they win out, they’ll finish first in the East.

Playoff scenario: clinch a playoff spot with a loss by Toronto AND a loss by Montreal. That said, in order for the Ticats to miss the playoffs, the Ticats would need to lose out and have the Argos win out… or lose out and see Montreal win out AND beat Hamilton by 40 on Nov. 3.

What’s next: A bye week.

Who they should be cheering for in other games: Winnipeg to beat Ottawa, B.C. to beat Toronto, Calgary to beat Montreal.

Toronto (3-10)
Games remaining: 5
Schedule: at B.C., vs HAM, vs MTL, at MTL, vs OTT
Home games: 3
Opponent winning percentage: .397 (27-41)
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: Everything
Sports Club Stats Playoff Chances: 0.8 per cent

What just happened: Got their asses kicked by Calgary to fall further into the abyss.

Playoff scenario: The Argos need to win out and see a collapse by Ottawa or Hamilton in the East or a perfect storm of losses in the West to avoid a crossover.

What’s next: A trip to B.C. and lots of prayer.

Who they should be cheering for in other games: Winnipeg to beat Ottawa.

Montreal (3-11)
Games remaining: 4
Schedule: vs CAL, bye, at TOR, vs TOR, at HAM
Home games: 2
Opponent winning percentage: .453 (24-29)
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: 0 per cent

What just happened: Lost a tough one to Saskatchewan to drive another nail into their post-season coffin.

Playoff scenario: The only way the Alouettes can make the playoffs is by winning all their remaining games while Hamilton loses all their remaining games AND beating the Ticats by 40 points on Nov. 3 to win the season series on point differential or a perfect storm of losses in the West to avoid a crossover.

What’s next: Hosting Calgary. Gulp.

Who they should be cheering for in other games: B.C. to beat Toronto.

West Division

Calgary (11-2)
Games remaining: 5
Schedule: at MTL, vs B.C., vs SSK, at WIN, at B.C.
Home games: 2
Opponent winning percentage: .456 (31-37)
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

What just happened: Crushed Toronto.

Playoff scenario: The Stamps locked up a playoff spot but still haven’t secured the West Division title and won’t be able to do so this week. They can, theoretically, still be caught by every other team in the West.

What’s next: A matchup against Montreal (with one hand tied behind their back to make it fair.)

Who they should be cheering for in other games: Edmonton to beat Saskatchewan (that would really help), Ottawa to beat Winnipeg, Toronto to beat B.C.

Saskatchewan (9-5)
Games remaining: 4
Schedule: vs EDM, at WIN, at CAL, vs B.C., bye
Home games: 2
Opponent winning percentage: .574 (31-23)
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: 98 per cent

What just happened: With the win over Montreal, the Riders are on track to host the first ever playoff game at Mosaic and still have a shot a the West Division title but they could also be the crossover team – particularly given that they have four tough West Division games left.

Playoff scenario: The Riders can’t lock anything up this week but a win over Edmonton – particularly if it’s by eight points or more which would give them the season series – would be a huge step forward in locking a home playoff date. If the Riders beat the Esks by exactly seven, then the season series is decided by record in the division: Edmonton is currently 4-3, Saskatchewan 3-2.

What’s next: See above.

Who they should be cheering for in other games: A Montreal win over Calgary would really help Saskatchewan’s push for the West title. Ottawa to beat Winnipeg, Toronto to beat B.C.

Edmonton (7-7)
Games remaining: 4
Schedule: at SSK, vs OTT, at B.C., bye, vs WIN
Home games: 2
Opponent winning percentage: .556 (30-24)
Division series status: 1-1 vs CAL (win on point differential), 1-1 vs WIN (one game remaining), 1-0 vs SSK (+7, one game remaining), 1-1 vs B.C. (one game remaining)
Key matchups: Oct. 8 vs. SSK, Oct. 19 vs. B.C., Nov. 3 vs WIN
Sports Club Stats Playoff Chances: 72.2 per cent

What just happened: Edmonton’s loss to Winnipeg at Commonwealth on Saturday means they are now fighting for their playoff lives instead of thinking about a West Division title. There’s nothing easy left on the schedule for them, either.

Playoff scenario: Could still win the division if they win out and Calgary loses out and everything else – including missing the playoffs – is on the table as well.

What’s next: A key matchup with Saskatchewan with the season series on the line. A loss by less than seven points gives them the season series over the Riders.

Who they should be cheering for in other games: Ottawa over Winnipeg, Toronto over B.C., Montreal over Calgary.

Winnipeg (7-7)
Games remaining: 4
Schedule: vs. at OTT, vs SSK, bye, vs CAL, at EDM
Home games: 2
Opponent winning percentage: .648 (35-19)
Division series status: 1-1 vs B.C. (win on point differential), 0-2 vs SSK (loss), 1-1 vs EDM (one game remaining), 0-1 vs CAL (-13, one game remaining)
Key matchups: at EDM on Nov. 3
Sports Club Stats Playoff Chances: 61.2 per cent

What just happened: Beating Edmonton at home gave the Bombers a much-needed boost, both in terms of the standings and their confidence.

Playoff scenario: Lots to determine for the Bombers, though third in the West, crossover team or out are the likely options.

What’s next: a trip to Ottawa, their last game against the East.

Who they should be cheering for in other games: Saskatchewan over Edmonton, Toronto over B.C.

B.C. (6-7)
Games remaining: 5
Schedule: vs TOR, at CAL, vs EDM, at SSK, vs CAL
Home games: 2
Opponent winning percentage: .612 (41-26)
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. One.
Sports Club Stats Playoff Chances: 41 per cent

What just happened: Getting walloped by the Ticats combined with Winnipeg’s win knocked the Lions out of playoff spot, at least for the moment.

Playoff scenario: Like most teams in the West, there are a number of different scenarios available to the Lions, from winning the division (very improbable) to missing the playoffs (a distinct possibility.)

What’s next: Beating Toronto at home would seem to be a must-win, especially considering their remaining four games are all against the West including two against Calgary.

Who they should be cheering for in other games: Ottawa over Winnipeg, Saskatchewan over Edmonton.

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