The West division still reigns in the CFL, and the favorites are really starting to exert their dominance over the league. There isn’t a single team in the East Division that has a record above .500. What is more embarrassing is that the Hamilton Tiger-Cats – a team that has lost eight of its first 10 games – is actually within striking distance of first place.
In the West, the Calgary Stampeders continue to roll after their second straight win over the Edmonton Eskimos. It will take something very drastic to knock them out of the top spot; they can even afford to drop a couple games and still be the clear-cut favorites in the CFL. Meanwhile, the Eskimos are still clinging on to second place for dear life but another loss will likely push them out of it.
1. Calgary Stampeders
Last Week: 1
Grey Cup Championship Odds: +200
The West-leading Stampeders (9-1-1) scored a late touchdown to beat Edmonton 25-22 on the road as Bo Levi Mitchell was 21-of-36 for 272 yards and a score, along with two picks. It wasn’t the best game for the Stampeders, but they did enough to pull out the win and they have to be the first choice for the Grey Cup champions this season. They’ll try to keep it rolling on Saturday when the Stampeders host British Columbia.
2. Edmonton Eskimos
Last Week: 2
Grey Cup Championship Odds: +450
The Eskimos (7-4-0) are officially in trouble after their loss to the Stampeders as Mike Reilly was 37-of-47 for 461 yards, a touchdown and a pick. Brandon Zylstra caught 10 passes for 187 yards for the Eskimos, who couldn’t get out of their own with with a pair of turnovers and they also took 10 penalties. Edmonton is third in the West now, but they’re in danger of falling further if they lose in Toronto on Saturday.
3. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Last Week: 3
Grey Cup Championship Odds: +500
The Blue Bombers (8-3-0) avenged their Labor Day loss to Saskatchewan by defeating the Roughriders 48-28 at home, with Matt Nichols leading the way by going 24-of-37 for 282 yards and three touchdowns. Clarence Denmark had five catches for 65 yards and two scores for the Blue Bombers, who also got punt-return and interception scores from Maurice Leggett. Winnipeg is second in the West, three points behind Calgary and two points ahead of Edmonton, and now the Blue Bombers get a week off as a bye to rest up for the stretch run.
4. British Columbia Lions
Last Week: 4
Grey Cup Championship Odds: +650
The Lions (6-5-0) are fourth in the West after a 41-18 win at home over Montreal, and they were up 26-3 by halftime. Jonathon Jennings was 22-of-29 for 295 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Jeremiah Johnson also had two scores as he ran 19 times for 91 yards. The Lions also forced a pair of turnovers as they dominated this game from start to finish, and they’re still within shouting distance in the West as they’re just four points behind second-place Winnipeg. They’ll head to Calgary on Saturday for a huge game.
5. Saskatchewan Roughriders
Last Week: 5
Grey Cup Championship Odds: +900
The Roughriders (5-5-0) couldn’t stop the Blue Bombers in their loss in Winnipeg, and they also lost Kevin Glenn to a hand injury, which isn’t good news. Glenn was 15-of-22 for 327 yards, two touchdowns and a pair of picks before leaving the game, but the Roughriders had three turnovers in total and seemed to keep making mistakes at the wrong time. Eight penalties didn’t help their cause as well, and the Roughriders will have to fix that before Friday, when they head to Hamilton.
6. Ottawa RedBlacks
Last Week: 8
Grey Cup Championship Odds: +1000
The RedBlacks (4-7-1) are still on top of the East after a 26-22 loss at home to Hamilton, and it could be even worse as Trevor Harris went 18-of-28 for 193 yards and a touchdown, then left due to a shoulder injury. Drew Tate came on to go 8-of-13 for 114 yards and a score for the RedBlacks, and Tate will probably start for the next two games at the very least. But they’re still a point ahead of Toronto as they travel to Montreal on Sunday.
7. Toronto Argonauts
Last Week: 6
Grey Cup Championship Odds: +1000
The Argonauts (4-7-0) had a week off after their loss to Hamilton, and now they have a game in hand as they’re just a point behind Ottawa. It is a good thing that they’re in the East (although you could say that for the entire East division), and the Argonauts don’t have an easy return to action this week as they host a struggling Eskimos team with their backs against the wall. If there is a good sign for the Argonauts, it is that this game is at home where they are 3-2-0. The Argonauts are a poor 1-5-0 on the road, where their chances drop significantly.
8. Montreal Alouettes
Last Week: 7
Grey Cup Championship Odds: +1100
The Alouettes (3-8-0) are third in the East after their big loss in British Columbia in which Montreal simply couldn’t get going early and it cost them dearly. Darian Durant was 20-of-28 for 258 yards and a touchdown, and then he ran five times for 36 yards and a score as well. B.J. Cunningham had four catches for 105 yards for the Alouettes, who committed 11 penalties and had a pair of turnovers on the game. That led to a massive hole and it was always going to be tough for them to get back into the game. That being said, they’re in the East and they’re only three points behind the leaders from Ottawa, who will visit Montreal on Sunday.
9. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Last Week: 9
Grey Cup Championship Odds: +3300
The Tiger-Cats (2-8-0) are last in the East, but just five points out first with two games in hand after their win in Ottawa. Jeremiah Masoli was 17-of-31 for 231 yards, and then he ran seven times for 73 yards. C.J. Gable had 11 carries for 74 yards and two scores for the Tiger-Cats, who ran for 147 yards on the day and don’t look now, the Tiger-Cats are right there in the East after everything that has happened to them this season. The switch to Masoli has really helped the Tiger-Cats, who will welcome Saskatchewan to town on Friday.
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