Welcome to Canadian Thanksgiving weekend.
The action starts Friday with the Blue Bombers in the nation's capital in what may be a playoff matchup. The Argos travel all the way to Vancouver in the late afternoon local start on a Saturday. Vancouver Canucks fans are used to this ritual when a Toronto team comes to town.
The Canadian Thanksgiving games feature the worst CFL team (Montréal) hosting the best team in the CFL in Calgary. The late battle turns green as Edmonton goes to Regina.
Hamilton gets to enjoy a little more turkey with the holiday weekend off.
Winnipeg @ Ottawa, 7:30p
Toronto @ BC, 7p
Calgary @ Montréal, 1p
Edmonton @ Saskatchewan, 4p
Bye week: Hamilton
38-16; 40-10; 30-3; 34-29
The CFL has had a lot of close games, actual nail-biters this season. Last week, only the Sunday game was close. Calgary may have let Toronto stay around longer on Friday night but the uncertainty wasn't there this weekend. 2 of the home teams were blown out at home, so there were no favourites.
Winnipeg has had a up and down season; unfortunately for the Esks, the Blue Bombers are on the up part.
Turns out the Montréal game was the closest game of the week. Johnny Manziel threw 2 TD passes; he hadn't thrown one in 1015 days. Manziel showed great improvement. Saskatchewan had stellar ball control at the end of the game, not even giving the Alouettes a chance for a comeback.
Sunday's game aired on ESPN2, the first game since August 17 on U.S. television.
The BC Lions pulled off an amazing comeback at home against Hamilton. So you knew the Tiger-Cats would be up to play them in Hamilton. The Lions gave Hamilton even more incentive by dancing on the Ticats logo during a Friday walk-through at Tim Hortons Field. The Tiger-Cats were plenty upset and used that anger to their advantage.
Hamilton is 1½ games behind Ottawa. The Tiger-Cats only have 4 games remaining but 2 of them against Ottawa. All of Hamilton's games are against Eastern opponents. The Tiger-Cats control their own fate for winning the East. Then again, Ottawa also controls its fate for the division title and holds a 6-point advantage in the point differential for the tiebreaker.
Edmonton beat Winnipeg by 3 points earlier this season but lost by 27 points to the Blue Bombers last week. That makes for a +24 point differential for Winnipeg with a game still to play between the clubs. The point differential only matters if the teams tie on November 3.
Time is running out on Toronto and Montréal. Winnipeg and Edmonton are tied with 14 points. The Argos can get as many as 16 points; the Alouettes are limited to 14 points. Toronto and Montréal have 2 games against each other so a split hurts both squads. The 4th place West team needs to have more points than the 3rd place East team.
Saskatchewan is 2 games up on Winnipeg and Edmonton with 4 games to play. The Roughriders have the tiebreaker with Winnipeg. If Saskatchewan beats Edmonton by 8 or more points on Thanksgiving Monday, that tiebreaker rests with the Roughriders.
Calgary clinched a playoff spot with the decisive home win over Toronto. The Stampeders haven't missed the postseason since 2004. One more Calgary win means the Stampeders will do no worse than 2nd place in the West.
Not surprisingly, I am not that up on the pop music of the day. But even I know the CFL did well to get Alessia Cara as the halftime entertainment for the 2018 Grey Cup in Edmonton on November 25. Cara became the the first Canadian artist to win the Best New Artist award at the 2018 Grammy Awards.
Our CFL previews move back to Thursdays with the arrival of the NHL season.
The classic broadcaster lineups were on display. We don't expect to change over the holiday weekend.
photo credit: CFL.ca