With just one week left in the Canadian Football League 2021 regular season, the Toronto Argonauts have locked up first place in the East Division, while the Calgary Stampeders have clinched their place in the West Division playoffs.
Week 15 started with a bang both on and off BMO Field in Toronto on Friday night with the Argos (9-4) blitzing their rivals from Hamilton (7-6) by the tune of 31-12. There was no scoring by either team in the first quarter, but Toronto put two touchdowns on the board in the second and had the Tiger-Cats in their rear vision mirror for the rest of the game.
The Argos also attracted their biggest home crowd in some time with more than 10,800 fans turning up to watch them play. The win means the Argonauts have locked up first place in the East Division and will host the Eastern final on December 5th.
The Ticats are tied with the Alouettes for second in the division after Montreal (7-6) doubled up Winnipeg (11-2) in their 28-14 victory at Percival Molson Stadium on Saturday.
The Blue Bombers didn’t have nine of their regular starters, including quarterback Zach Collaros and running back Andrew Harris, so perhaps the final score was not entirely unexpected. Winnipeg had five turnovers in the game, something that obviously didn’t escape the attention of head coach Mike O’Shea.
“You win or lose for very specific reasons and this one was probably the turnover ratio,” he told bluebombers.com.
Calgary (7-6) cemented a berth in the postseason with a not unexpected 33-23 win against B.C. (4-9) in Vancouver. The very faint hopes that the Lions had of keeping their playoff hopes alive, mathematically at least, were finally put to bed with the loss.
The Stampeders led by just 3 points at halftime, but it was pretty much all one-way traffic in the second half. The Stamps feel confident that they can keep that winning form going.
“I’m proud of our guys, I’m proud of the performance, we came in and beat a team that was very desperate, played a good football game,” said Calgary head coach Dave Dickenson. “I thought we played fairly well as well.”
In the final game of the week, Saskatchewan (9-4) hosted Edmonton (2-10) at Mosaic Stadium in what turned out to be a much more competitive game than expected. The Roughriders could never really shake the Elks and gave their fans some anxious moments before finally nailing the 29-24 win late in the piece.
The Riders led by 3 points at the half, but the Elks had their noses in front by 1 point by the end of the third quarter, so it all came down to the final 15 minutes. Canadian fullback Alexandre Dupuis scored his first CFL touchdown to put the home team ahead with six minutes to go, and a Brett Lauther field goal sealed the deal with seconds remaining.
So, after 15 weeks of the regular season, the only unanswered question remaining is who will finish second and third behind Toronto in the East Division. That will come down to the wire in Week 16 with Hamilton and Montreal both needing to win.
They split their head-to-head series this season with one win apiece, so if they both win, it will come down to points differential and currently, the Ticats are slightly ahead in that category. Up for grabs is a home playoff game.