These four CFL teams have clinched playoff spots (and how five others can do the same)

Photo: Larry MacDougal/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

There are still five weeks remaining in the CFL’s regular season but four teams have already punched their ticket to the playoffs. Below we’ve listed these clubs along with some analysis as to how high or low they could fall within the league’s postseason structure.

We’ve also listed the league’s other five teams and illustrated how they can still find a path to the playoffs. While some are more likely than others to get there, no teams have officially been eliminated from playoff contention — yet.

Photo: Bob Butrym/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Blue Bombers clinched their postseason berth several weeks ago and are now looking to wrap up the top spot in the West Division for the second consecutive year. The B.C. Lions are currently six points back with a game in hand and, with the teams scheduled to meet twice at the end of the regular season, it’ll take at least two weeks for Winnipeg to punch their ticket to the West Final.

As it currently stands, Winnipeg can only be surpassed by Calgary if they lose their four remaining games and the Stampeders win their four remaining games. This means they will clinch a home playoff game with any combination of a Winnipeg win or a Calgary loss, which could come as early as Friday when the Blue Bombers host the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Photo courtesy: Paul Yates/B.C. Lions

B.C. Lions

The Lions may have lost to Calgary this past weekend but that didn’t stop them from clinching a postseason berth for the first time since 2018. The club can also still finish as high as first place in the West Division, remaining fully in control of their destiny with five regular season games still on the schedule.

B.C. has back-to-back meetings with Winnipeg to close out the regular season and would host the West Final provided they win all of their remaining games. That’s easier said than done, but it’s worth noting that the Lions can finish in first place regardless of what Winnipeg does ahead of their two season-ending games.

Photo: Larry MacDougal/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

Calgary Stampeders

The Stampeders got a big win this past weekend and still have a solid shot at second place in the West Division despite having previously lost the season series to B.C. The team will host Toronto this week before finishing the season against three opponents with losing records. The Lions have a game in hand, but Calgary only needs one more win than their west coast counterparts to host a playoff game in November.

Though it’s tough to envision this scenario playing out, the Stampeders can still technically finish first in the West Division if they win all four of their remaining games and the Blue Bombers lose all four of their remaining games. This scenario would also require B.C. to lose at least one of their upcoming games against Ottawa, Toronto, and Edmonton, but it remains mathematically possible.

Photo: Bob Butrym/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

Toronto Argonauts

The Boatmen have quietly won four straight games, building a four-point lead over the Montreal Alouettes for first place in the East Division. They also won the only meeting between the two teams so far this year, though the season series won’t be decided until they meet again over the final two weeks of the regular season.

Toronto’s path to finishing atop the East Division for a second consecutive year is pretty simple: stay ahead of Montreal. That could be easier said than done over the next two weeks as the Argonauts face a pair of playoff-bound opponents in Calgary and B.C. The Argos can finish no lower than second in the East Division by virtue of their 3-1 record against Hamilton this season.

Photo: David Mahussier/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders and Montreal Alouettes are currently on pace to make the playoffs, though they have yet to officially clinch postseason berths.

The Riders are four points ahead of the Edmonton Elks for fourth place in the West Division and have the added benefit of owning the season series between the two teams. They can still technically finish as high as second place in the West Division, though this would require monumental collapses by Calgary and B.C.

Saskatchewan is four points ahead of Hamilton for the crossover spot, though they will need to finish at least one point ahead of the Ticats in order to maintain that position. It’s rare that interdivisional games have major playoff implications, but there will be plenty at stake when the Riders and Ticats play at Tim Hortons Field in Week 18.

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

The Alouettes got a massive win over the Ticats this past week as the victory not only moved them four points ahead of Hamilton but also captured the season series between the two teams. Montreal also has a game in hand on the Ticats, giving them a chance to put even more room between them and the team that eliminated them in last year’s postseason.

As outlined above, Montreal can still finish first in the East Division with two season-ending games against Toronto looming large. They will need to sweep those two contests if they hope to win the season series as the Argos won the first meeting between the two teams this season way back in Week 1.

Photo: Larry MacDougal/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

No team has yet to be eliminated from postseason contention, which means there is still hope for fans of the Edmonton Elks, Hamilton Tiger-Cats, and Ottawa Redblacks. With that said, it’ll take something close to a miracle for any of these teams to make the playoffs.

Edmonton needs to win their remaining four games and hope that Saskatchewan wins no more than one of their four remaining contests. They also need Ottawa and Hamilton to continue to struggle, as the Elks would need to finish at least one point ahead of both teams in order to secure the crossover spot.

Hamilton’s playoff hopes took a huge blow with their loss to Montreal this past weekend. They now have to win at least two of their remaining four games to make the playoffs, though this would require Saskatchewan to lose all of their remaining games. Hamilton’s only realistic path to the postseason is to go 4-0 down the stretch and hope that the Riders or Als stumble along the way.

Ottawa has won a league-worst three games this year and their playoff hopes are bleak at best. The club is 1-1 against Montreal this season with two meetings remaining, so they could still capture the season series. Given the lead they’ve afforded Montreal and Saskatchewan, the Redblacks will have to go 5-0 down the stretch in order to have a serious shot at the playoffs.

John Hodge is a CFL insider and draft analyst who has been covering the league since 2014.