Thursday 28 October 2010

Smitty's Selections: Week 18

Five of the six playoff spots are all sewn up. The only things left to decide are:
  • Who gets third in the West: BC or Edmonton?
  • Where will the East Division Semi-Final be played: Hamilton or Toronto?
Both of those questions can be answered in this, the penultimate week of the 2010 CFL season. Part of me hopes that everything isn't decided after this week's games. If everything is known before the last weekend of games, the excitement factor will be gone. But from the looks of this week's slate of games, I think everything will be decided by late Sunday.

Montreal (11-5) at Toronto (8-8)

Montreal come into this game with Toronto licking their wounds. That was as thorough a beating as I have seen the Als take in quite some time. They were completely outplayed in every facet of the game. Toronto enter this contest riding the high of clinching the team's first playoff spot since 2007. The Argos have also exceeded their win total from the past two seasons combined, and Jim Barker has won more games as Argonaut Head Coach this season than the last three head coaches (Rich Stubler, Don Matthews, Count Chocula Bart Andrus) combined. The Als will be hopping mad and won't want to see another potential playoff opponent beat them. The Als will go out and put the boots to the Argos.

Winner: Montreal, 44-21

Hamilton (9-7) at Calgary (11-5)

The Cats come into this matchup playing better football than any other team. These stats have been repeated time and time again over the past week, but they bear repeating once more: Hamilton have outscored their opponents 106-17 in their last three games. They have also put up 30+ points in each of their last four contests, and the Defense has not allowed a touchdown in 10 quarters. The Cats, right now, are dominating. The Stamps have nothing to play for in this game, having already secured their berth in the West Division Final. I do not know what the Stamps have planned as far as resting players is concerned, but I don't think it matters. Winning on the road is tough, but Hamilton have shown that they can play with anyone.

Winner: Hamilton, 35-20

Winnipeg (4-12) at Edmonton (6-10)

The Blue Bombers might be the team with the worst luck of any in the CFL in 2010. They have lost seven games by four points or less this season. If they win just half of those, they are still in the thick of the playoff race. Edmonton have turned a terrible season into a dog fight. Thought to be out of it by many, the Eskies have turned it on and sit poised to make the playoffs despite what many thought was a lost season. Both teams will play this one without their starting QBs. Ricky Ray is out for Edmonton, so Jared Zabransky will start. The Blue Bombers will be without Steven Jyles AND Alex Brink, which means Joey Elliott will start for the Bombers. Winnipeg can still play spoiler, but that doesn't seem likely when starting a third-string QB.

Winner: Edmonton, 25-10

Saskatchewan (9-7) at British Columbia (6-10)

I don't think there is any bigger mess right now than the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Losers of three straight (two of which came at home), the Riders are swooning at exactly the wrong time. The Lions still hold playoff aspirations. The Leos have never missed the post-season with Wally Buono as the head man, and they don't want this to be the year. While a win means nothing to the Riders standings-wise, and everything to the Lions, the Riders need a win badly to keep the doubt from creeping in.

Winner: Saskatchewan, 28-24

Montreal, Hamilton, Edmonton, Saskatchewan

Season Record: 34-30

So, if my predictions are correct (and this year that is about a 50-50 chance) then the playoff matchups will be set, and it will be the Eskimos visiting the Roughriders and the Argonauts visiting the Tiger-Cats on November 14th. But since I've yet to go perfect in a week with four games to predict, that means one of these teams will falter and there will be something to play for in the final week. (I just hope it isn't Hamilton.)

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