Playoff paranoia starting to set in

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:20 AM ET

The playoffs start in 11 days.

Several teams are obviously aware of this fact, because they are starting to get antsy.

Post-season participants want to be perfect going into November, but they always seem to find something wrong.

Perhaps it's just paranoia, like getting a little pimple the night before the big dance.

Nonetheless, here's a look at a few of those concerns:

- The Calgary Stampeders are concerned about their road record.

They will host the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the West semifinal on Nov. 5, but they will have to go to Vancouver to take on the Lions if they win.

The Stamps were 2-7 away from McMahon Stadium during the regular season.

Following their 28-13 loss to the host Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Saturday night, Stamps defensive end Rahim Abdullah sounds a little uneasy.

"It's like we have two different teams," Abdullah told the Calgary Sun. "One team that plays at home, that is the prideful Calgary Stampeders, and one team that goes on the road with some guys who don't show up."

- The Toronto Argonauts are worried about how they practise.

The Argos feel they didn't prepare as well as they should have leading up to their 13-9 loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Friday night.

"We had a (crap) week in practice, and this is what happens when you don't prepare," receiver Andre Talbot told the Toronto Sun.

Talbot is also rattled about the Double Blue's underachieving offence.

"I think maybe guys were looking beyond this game and getting overconfident," he said. "Sometimes we tend to think we are better than we are, but offensively we're not that good."

- The B.C. Lions are jittery after a pair of uninspired outings -- both of which were meaningless.

This Saturday they have a third straight game, against the Bombers, that won't change the fact that they will finish first in the West. Head coach Wally Buono, who has the second most wins of any CFL coach, still has trouble trying to figure out what to do with a first-round playoff bye.

"I could write a manual on clinching early, but I can't write a manual on the rest," he told the Vancouver Province.

The Lions also finished first last year but bowed out at home to the Edmonton Eskimos in the West final.

- The Montreal Alouettes are distressed about their run-stopping abilities.

They allowed Eskimos backup tailback Ron McClendon to gallop for 198 yards (the most in the CFL this season) on Saturday, and Edmonton totalled 224 yards along the ground.

"We're certainly not going to win a championship playing like that. We've got to make plays and stuff the damned run," defensive tackle Adriano Belli told the Montreal Gazette.

The Als better figure it out, because they will meet either Winnipeg's Charles Roberts or Toronto's Ricky Williams and John Avery in the playoffs.


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