West still up for grabs

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:50 AM ET

Five weeks remain in the CFL's regular season and one playoff position has already been decided.

No matter what happens in a league where almost anything does, the Montreal Alouettes will host the East final with one win to get them into their own Grey Cup.

The Als clinched a playoff spot this weekend and only need a win this week over the lowly Tiger-Cats and a Blue Bombers loss in the final five weeks.

On the other side of the coin, the West Division is completely up in the air, with everyone chasing the Calgary Stampeders (9-4) at this point.

A crossover is a certainty with the Argonauts (4-9) three games back of Edmonton. Knowing anything can happen, here are some fearless predictions for the remaining five playoff spots:

- Eskimos (7-6): Vs. Win, at B.C., vs. B.C., at Ssk, vs. Mtl. Predicted finish: 2-3 for crossover berth. Offence is struggling with AJ Harris out. Back-to-back with Lions is crucial.

- Blue Bombers (5-8): At Edm, vs. Tor, at Cal, at Mtl, vs. Ham. Predicted finish: 3-2, hosting East semifinal. They get three divisional games at good times, especially because Alouettes will be resting down stretch.

- Roughriders (8-5): Vs Cal, at Cal, vs. Ham, vs. Edm, at Tor. Predicted finish: 2-3, third in West. If they lose next two against the Stamps, the pressure will be on for the final stretch to stave off the Esks.

- Lions (8-5): At Tor, vs. Edm, at Edm, vs. Tor, at Cal. Predicted finish 3-2. Second in West. They have won the season series with Roughriders and that will give them a home date.

- Stampeders (9-4): At Ssk, vs. Ssk, vs. Win, at Ham, vs. B.C. Predicted finish 3-2. First in West. Can get into Grey Cup with one playoff win for first time since 2000. Their last Cup appearance was 2001, which was hosted by Montreal.

OPENING DRIVE

With all the publicity their offence has received, it's easy to overlook the Alouettes defence. But Tim Burke's crew has not allowed a TD in the past two games. The biggest blow they took was linebackers coach Casey Creehan getting run over by DB Chip Cox Sunday. This season is sweet redemption for Burke and Creehan, who were part of the CFL's second-worst defence last year in Calgary ... There wasn't much to cheer about at Rogers Centre, but the fans stood up for a quick ceremony for Michael (Pinball) Clemons for his recent Hall-of-Fame induction. It was a nice moment in what is an otherwise dismal Argos season ... As awful as losing three games by a tally of 117-29 is, head coach Don Matthews is still looking on the bright side. "I don't see the doom and gloom you all see," Matthews said after Saturday's 44-16 loss to the Stamps. "I see what's happening and it's going to be good."

ENDZONE TOSS

The CFL handed out several fines for the melee in Winnipeg, but there will be no suspension for Eskimos LB Agustin Barrenechea for his hit on Bomber QB Kevin Glenn ... In the same game, Bombers SB Milt Stegall scored his 147th TD, while teammate Arjei Franklin hit on his first. At the rate Franklin gets majors, he would need to play 5,733 games to catch Stegall ... Because Argos RB Dominique Dorsey is out up to four weeks with a knee injury, the team signed Keith Stokes to help out on special teams.

EXTRA POINTS

Bombers K Alexis Serna is an abysmal 6-for-13 from between 30 and 39 yards, which is supposed to be the 80% range for good kickers. Despite his 61.1% season average, the Bombers aren't likely to sit him this week ... Stamps S Wes Lysack and DE Mike Labinjo are such good friends, they always do the same things. When Labinjo scored a TD against the Argos a week ago, Lysack followed suit later in the game. Labinjo sprained his ankle Thursday in practice and Lysack did the same Saturday against Toronto. "Maybe we're too attached at the hip." Lysack said.


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