Canadian Football League
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PLAYOFFS
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        === Winnipeg and Hamilton fight to keep playoff hopes alive ===
 
 Hamilton, ON (Sports Network) - With the hopes of making the playoffs becoming
 more and more dire, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats try
 desperately to stay alive as they collide this weekend in the final regular-
 season game ever at Ivor Wynne Stadium.
 
 Scheduled to be demolished in December to make room for the new Hamilton Pan
 Am Soccer Stadium, Ivor Wynne will see one of the combatants on Saturday
 afternoon leave the building knowing that their postseason aspirations have
 been dashed. Should Hamilton come out on top and also defeat Toronto in the
 regular-season finale on Nov. 1, there's still no guarantee that the Tiger-
 Cats will make the cut because there are a host of variables that need to fall
 in their favor to ensure life after Week 19 action.
 
 Winnipeg still has an opportunity to take third place in the standings but
 must win the final two games of the regular season and have Edmonton bow in
 both of its outings to close things out. Even though both of these teams are
 sporting 5-11 records and are tied for third in the Eastern Division, there
 are several different scenarios that are possible that will dictate who will
 move on and who will start prepping early for the 2013 campaign.
 
 The Bombers, who will try again this week to win back-to-back games for the
 first time this season, scored a season-high 44 points in a 12-point win
 against Toronto on the road last week. In that meeting, Buck Pierce returned
 to the huddle and converted 13-of-22 passes for 200 yards, but it was backup
 signal-caller Alex Brink who made more of an impact with his 31 yards and two
 touchdowns on 10 rushing attempts.
 
 In fact, the passing attack for Winnipeg took a back seat to what the team was
 able to accomplish on the ground as it ran the ball 43 times for 260 yards and
 four majors. The 43 rushing attempts marked the most in the league since
 Saskatchewan had the same number, leading to 290 yards at Edmonton some 11
 years ago.
 
 Chad Simpson recorded a game-high 136 yards on 20 carries and landed in the
 end zone on a 14-yard effort late in the second quarter. Will Ford contributed
 another 85 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries as well.
 
 While Winnipeg was having its way on the road, the Tiger-Cats were being
 frustrated by host Calgary last Saturday night as Hamilton came up short in a
 34-32 final. The loss for the 'Cats was their third in a row and the fourth in
 the last five outings. In fact, since winning three straight back in July the
 team has posted a record of only 2-9.
 
 Hamilton rolled up an impressive 489 yards of total offense against the
 Stamps on the road, but the team certainly didn't help itself by committing 14
 penalties for a total of 98 yards. The squad also turned the ball over three
 times, twice by quarterback Henry Burris who tossed a couple of interceptions
 while completing 24-of-33 passes for 354 yards and two touchdowns. The other
 knock on Burris, even though he piled up the yards, was that he allowed
 himself to be sacked six times.
 
 Receiver Chris Williams made a significant impact for the visitors as he
 caught seven balls for 122 yards and a score, adding another 30 yards in punt
 returns which means he now has 2,399 combined yards on the season, good enough
 for second place in the league. With the touchdown he is also all alone in
 first place when it comes to total majors in the league with 14, registering
 eight on receptions and a staggering six on returns, the latter making
 Hamilton one of the most accomplished clubs in that department in the last
 several years.
 
 Along with Williams, Burris creates one of the more exciting duos in the
 league, but there are times when the Tiger-Cats simply can't get out of their
 own way. True, Burris is second in the CFL in passing with 4,699 yards and
 thanks to a league-best 37 TDs he also has the top efficiency rating (104.6),
 but those numbers also go along with 16 interceptions, which means Hamilton is
 last in the CFL in turnover margin at minus-12 overall.
 
 Not that much better in the turnover department, Winnipeg is seventh in the
 league at minus-10.
 
 Dating back to 1950 and taking into account only regular-season matchups,
 Winnipeg holds a 59-45 edge in the all-time series thanks in part to a current
 run of five straight victories over the Ticats. The Bombers, winners of six of
 the last nine encounters overall, delivered a 34-12 decision at home in the
 most recent meeting back in September, a victory that served to snap the
 team's four-game slide but was still the only triumph during a six-game
 stretch for the club.
 
 
 
 10/24 11:36:05 ET

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