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Inside the CFL: Power rankings
By Ted Michaels, CFL Columnist
Hamilton, ON (Sports Network) - With just two weeks left to go in the regular season, a final look at who's hot, who's not ... and some playoff possibilities that have me reaching for the aspirin.
BC Lions (12-4)
No Travis Lulay? No problem.
With the Leos' starting quarterback, Lulay, dressed but staying on the sidelines with an injured shoulder, Central Washington product Mike Reilly started his first CFL game. All he did was complete 19-of-28 passes for 278 yards and two touchdowns, leading the Lions to a 39-19 home win over the Edmonton Eskimos.
The win clinched first place in the West for the Lions, which means they host the West final on Nov. 18. They're the best team in the league by far.
Montreal Alouettes (10-6)
Speaking of injuries, the Als went into their game at Mosaic Stadium without receivers S.J. Green, Brandon London and running back Brandon Whittaker. So what happened? The Als piled up 356 yards of net offence in a 34-28 win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Quarterback Anthony Calvillo, pulled off a rarity. He ran the ball and scored on touchdown runs of 14 and 22 yards.
Montreal will host the East final Nov. 18.
The game was marred by an ugly incident involving Montreal linebacker Shea Emry, who gets my vote as the dirtiest player in the CFL. Emry punched Saskatchewan offensive lineman Brendon Labatte south of the 49 parallel (or in the groin, if you will) resulting in his ejection. Emry apologized later via Twitter, but will no doubt have a hearing with the league.
Calgary Stampeders (10-6)
The Stampeders clinched second place in the CFL West after an exciting, 34-32 win over the visiting Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Saturday. In a game played in a steady snowfall, the Stampeders turned the ball over seven times, including four interceptions by quarterback Kevin Glenn.
Yet in a play reminiscent of Tony Romo and a Dallas Cowboys playoff game against Seattle, Hamilton's Andy Fantuz mishandled the snap on a 30-yard field goal attempt that would have given the Tiger-Cats the win with no time left.
The win meant the Stampeders clinched second in the CFL West. But, if they have any hopes of getting past the West semifinal on Nov. 11, they'll have to play a lot better.
Saskatchewan Roughriders (8-8)
In a rare case of a loss meaning a win, the Riders clinched a playoff berth because of the Hamilton loss to Calgary. This means the Riders will either play the West semifinal in Calgary or play the third-place team in the East, due to the crossover.
Edmonton Eskimos (7-9)
The nerves are getting a little more frayed in Edmonton after the Eskimos' 39-19 loss at BC.
Quarterback Kerry Joseph was good on 6-of-24 pass attempts for 146 yards a touchdown and an interception, and was sacked eight times.
The Eskimos can clinch a playoff berth with a win in either of their next two games; at Montreal and home to Calgary.
If they don't, Edmonton general manager Eric Tillman, who has been on the hot seat since trading quarterback Ricky Ray to Toronto, may be on the outside looking in.
Toronto Argonauts (7-9)
Since we're talking about Ray, his return to the Argos lineup was impressive but not good enough to win.
Ray completed 20-of-33 passes for 383 yards and four touchdowns, three to Jason Barnes. But the Argos defense was horrible in a 44-32 loss to Winnipeg.
Toronto has lost three home games in the last 11 days, and five of its last six games. A season that was filled with a lot of hope that the home team would be in the Grey Cup at Rogers Center on Nov. 25 is rapidly disintegrating.
In all probability, the Argos will finish second in the CFL East. But the trick is, you need to enter the payoffs playing your best football, not your worst.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers (5-11)
It may be a case of too little, too late, but the Blue Bombers had their most impressive offensive output of the year when they went into Toronto Friday night and beat the Argos, 44-32. They racked up 458 yards of net offense, including 260 rushing yards, thanks in no small part to Chad Simpson, who had 20 carries for 136 yards.
But it comes down to this: To make the playoffs, they have to win their last two games and have the Eskimos lose their last two.
Anything else and Bomber fans can say goodbye to the 2012 season, CanadInn Stadium, and probably GM Joe Mack.
To which they're probably saying ... good riddance to all three.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats (5-11)
Head coach George Cortez finally admitted it ... sort of. All season, he's been saying the only must-win games are the ones that will see the losing team eliminated from the postseason dance.
If that's the case, Tiger-Cats, meet Mr. Must-win.
The Tabbies head in the final regular-season game against Winnipeg at Ivor Wynne Stadium (still having a hard time wrapping my head around that one) needing a win and some help to make the playoffs.
Here are the scenarios:
No. 1: Hamilton will make the playoffs if it beats Winnipeg this week and Toronto on Nov. 1. At the same time, Edmonton will have to lose its last two games - at Montreal and home to Calgary. This means the Tiger-Cats would finish third in the East and visit Toronto in the East semifinal on Nov. 11.
Number 2: Hamilton will make the playoffs if it wins its last two games and Toronto loses its last two games - at Saskatchewan and home to Hamilton. And in the game between Hamilton and Toronto, the Tiger-Cats have to beat the Argos by at least nine points (the Argos hold the tiebreaker). This means Hamilton would host Toronto or Edmonton, if the Eskimos win at least one of their last two games in the East semifinal.
Ted Michaels is the host of the Fifth Quarter on AM900 CHML.
Comments? Criticism? Applause?
10/23 11:33:34 ET
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