REGINA — As important as the playoffs are, they’re not quite here yet.
That’s why neither the Edmonton Eskimos or the Saskatchewan Roughriders are willing to look beyond their regular-season finale Saturday.
A loss by the B.C. Lions to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the early game would send the Eskimos back to Mosaic Stadium for the West Division semifinal next week.
But those results aren’t nearly as important as their own game on Saturday.
“It’s our intent to play well in this football game,” said Roughriders head coach Ken Miller. “That other game really doesn’t have any bearing on that.
“It really has kind of a playoff feel for us. It doesn’t have the sudden-death aspect to it, but from an intensity point of view and from a coaching approach, we’re looking at this game as serious business.”
Especially considering the Roughriders have lost their last four.
“We’ve got to stop the bleeding and get a win heading into the playoffs,” said middle linebacker Barrin Simpson. “You approach it the same way, you want to go in and do what you scheme to do all week long and get a win.
“That’s the biggest thing, we’re at home, it’s our house and we’ve got two games in a row at our house so we want to set the tone with this game and get ready to play for next week as well.”
The Eskimos have gone the opposite way, winning their last three straight and five out of the last six.
“Our focus is coming here and keeping our ball rolling, and that’s coming away with a victory, playing well,” said Eskimos head coach Richie Hall. “Our goal is to return her next week so our focus is no different regardless.
“It’s an unconditional situation.”
However, if the Lions lose, Hall said he will employ an alternate game plan than if they are in a must-win situation.
“We have different things that we want to look at if things have already been decided,” he said. “It’s something we haven’t addressed as a team because as a team I want them to be prepared to come in because the reality is we want to win the football team.”