A quick rundown of the six CFL teams left standing here’s a look at the six Grey Cup contenders and where they stand heading into next weekend’s semifinals:
The grey cup hosts came out of the gate with five straight losses that had Wally Buono wondering whether he had the horses to compete for a spot in the championship game the city of Vancouver would host, let alone get to the playoffs.
Things seemed to turn around when the lions acquired Arland Bruce from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Since Bruce’s arrival, the lions are a robust 10-2 and secured a bye to the final despite the fact that the top three teams in the West all finished with 11-6 records.
The Eskimos began the season with five consecutive wins and then seemed to hit a wall. They would lose three in a row before finding the win column again. if there is a concern, it is that they haven’t had a decisive win since week 16 and limp into the playoffs having just scraped by the woeful Roughies by a field goal.
The Stamps have had an up and down season but come in on a three-game winning streak which coincided with the switch in starting quarterbacks from Henry Burris to Drew Tate. Despite his 3-0 record, Tate has shown a penchant for interceptions, with five to his eight touchdown passes. But for now, it appears the team is rallying behind him.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Despite losing five of their final seven regular-season games, the Bombers will host the East final. The week off is key for the bombers who will have quarterback Buck Pierce back for the final. The Bombers have lived and died with their defence and even coming into the playoffs in a bit of a slide, that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Injuries have played a big role in the Als coming back to the pack in the East. The most recent could be costly.
Receiver Kerry Watkins and starting left offensive tackle Josh Bourke are both done for the season, hurting the Als receiver depth and leaving QB Anthony Calvillo’s protection compromised with veterans playing out of position.
They ended B.C’s eight game win streak, 42-10, then lost to Saskatchewan and Toronto. Unpredictable doesn’t begin to describe Hamilton’s season.