Friday Night Football has a rare doubleheader. The first game features the first of 2 straight with the top teams in the East with Ottawa as the initial host. Edmonton travels to Vancouver in the nightcap in the ongoing battle for playoff positioning.
A rare Montréal-Toronto matchup with absolutely no playoff implications starts off the Saturday doubleheader. The Roughriders go to Calgary for an early evening start in southern Alberta.
Winnipeg gets a refresher in the bye week.
Hamilton @ Ottawa, 7p
Edmonton @ BC, 10p
Montréal @ Toronto, 4p
Saskatchewan @ Calgary, 7p
Bye week: Winnipeg
The Hamilton-Toronto and Saskatchewan-Winnipeg rivalries got an extra game this season. The Tiger-Cats stepped up to sweep their rivals. The Roughriders never could get going suffering a rare CFL shutout.
Saskatchewan will have to wait to clinch that home playoff game. The Roughriders watched as each of the West bubble teams were victorious last week.
The BC Lions were hungry enough for that playoff spot, handing Calgary its first home loss of the season. The Stampeders will help decide the West playoff spots with a home date with Saskatchewan and road trips to Winnipeg and Vancouver.
Luke Tasker's first 3 catches went for touchdowns for Hamilton in Toronto. Tasker ended up with 4 catches on the night and those 3 TDs.
James Franklin had a decent game as the starter for Toronto. The Argonauts are the first Grey Cup champs to miss the playoffs the next season since Edmonton in 2005 and 10th champion to miss the playoffs in the following season since 1958.
Tyrell Sutton showed why the games late in the season belong to the running backs. The BC Lions benefited from Sutton's first game in orange and black after being acquired from Montréal. The Alouettes traded a few players to contenders in the last few weeks, including fullback extraordinaire Patrick Lavoie to Saskatchewan.
Premium receivers have been dropping off healthy status on CFL rosters. I had mentioned Bakari Grant, a 1000-yard receiver from last season released by Saskatchewan, for weeks. Calgary signed Grant this week to the practice roster. Grant played for the Stampeders in 2016 and 2011-2015 with Hamilton, another team in desperate need for big-time receivers. If the Tiger-Cats had Duron Carter and Bakari Grant, Hamilton might have been able to book that trip to the Grey Cup.
Saskatchewan, Winnipeg, and Edmonton have 2 games left while Calgary and BC have 3 games remaining. Winnipeg draws the first of these byes followed by Edmonton and finally Saskatchewan. Despite the Roughriders huge loss, Saskatchewan holds the tiebreaker with Winnipeg. The Blue Bombers have the tiebreaker with the BC Lions. The Edmonton and BC winner will get that tiebreaker.
Ottawa and Hamilton are focused on each other for the next 2 games while Toronto and Montréal battle for the #1 draft pick. If the top teams split in the next 2 weeks, Ottawa has 2 advantages. The RedBlacks would own the tiebreaker with Hamilton and Ottawa hosts Toronto, the only CFL team still winless on the road.
Those hoping for Gord Miller to work with Matt Dunigan were disappointed Saturday. Once again, Miller was matched with Glen Suitor while Chris Cuthbert and Matt Dunigan were reunited in Edmonton. Rod Black and Duane Forde rarely get to call BC or Calgary and had a long flight from Toronto-Calgary for back-to-back nights.