Blue can look West

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:35 AM ET

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are going to make the playoffs.

There is a better chance of Troy Westwood eating Thanksgiving dinner at Doug Berry's house than the Blue and Gold missing out on the CFL post-season.

Just don't tell that to Mr. Berry himself, who craned his neck and raised one of his eyebrows about a foot yesterday when asked if he has to guard against his team from taking the foot off the gas down the stretch.

"Does my look tell you anything?" Berry said. "You don't have anything until you have it. Period. We're going to play the next game.

"We haven't clinched anything. We're still working to dig out of the hole."

SITTING PRETTY

At 6-9, the Bombers are sitting pretty after a not-so-pretty 25-16 win over the Toronto Argonauts on Friday.

Their magic number is one, which means they just have to win once or hope that Toronto (4-11) and Hamilton (3-11) both lose one game to clinch second in the East Division.

The Bombers visit the Calgary Stampeders on Saturday. After that it's a trip to Montreal before hosting Hamilton to finish off the campaign.

Winnipeg should have its post-season berth wrapped up by the time they meet the Tiger-Cats on Nov. 1. Heck, even a respected Argo leader essentially admitted it's all over but the crying after his team's sixth straight setback on Friday night.

"You get paid for 18 games, that's what it says on your contract," defensive end Jonathan Brown told Sun Media. "So if I see anybody loafing (in the final three games), I will take their ass outside and fight them."

All four West Division teams have clinched a playoff spot, which means one of them will cross over and (likely) meet the Bombers in the East semifinal at Canad Inns Stadium on Nov. 8.

And it could still be any one of them.

Either Calgary or Saskatchewan, who meet tomorrow in Cowtown, will take the division lead at 10-5. The remaining three squads will be 9-6 with three weeks to go.

Calgary appears to have the best shot at first, thanks to a light schedule. The favourite to finish fourth might actually be Saskatchewan, which has been the coolest of the West quartet as of late.

Regardless of which team (likely) comes to town, expect the Bombers to give them a good fight. Berry sure is liking what he's seeing from his team lately.

"We're better. We're certainly better," he said. "We're playing a lot more now like we were a year ago. We were winning the closer games last year, and that's what we're doing now.

"You think back at the beginning (of the season). If it was a close game we weren't winning them."

WARTS

More than one Bomber mentioned the word "momentum" after Friday night's game, even though it had its warts.

The running game was spectacular, with Fred Reid and Joe Smith both hitting the century mark, and the defence was dominant.

The special teams performance was nothing to write home about until the fourth quarter, and quarterback Kevin Glenn wasn't at his best.

Regardless, the Bombers have won four of their last five after a 2-8 start and will look to keep it going at McMahon Stadium in six days.

"We'd like (to clinch) as soon as possible," defensive tackle Doug Brown said. "But, at the same time, we have to treat these next three games not only as a goal to get into the playoffs but as a tune-up to get into the post-season.

"We need to get some momentum here, and we have a stretch against some quality opponents. It will be a tough test for us, and if we want to get in the playoffs on the right foot this is the way to get it done."


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