The 2016 CFL season has reached Week 16 and the playoffs are in sight. While the League’s teams prepare for their final slate of games, it’s time for us at Last Word on Canadian Football to do our quarterly review. From late game controversies to wild comebacks that prove no lead is safe, the CFL has certainly been anything but dull since the last CFL Check-In. To find that article and our other Check-Ins from this year, check it out here. Now it’s time to look back on the last predictions, and to make a couple more in the CFL Check-In: Week 16 Season Review .
CFL Check-In: Week 16 Season Review
What We Thought Would Happen (Week 12 Predictions)
Blue Bombers enter a tailspin…(Winnipeg goes 1-3)
Four weeks ago, everything was coming up aces for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers as they scratched and clawed their way back to respectability with a six game winning streak. The thinking here was that this streak could end with several tough match-ups against the Calgary Stampeders, BC Lions, and Edmonton Eskimos. The Bombers never let up, however, and pulled off the upset in BC last week to run the gauntlet at 2-2. The prediction was close, but give Winnipeg credit for getting wins no matter how they come about them and locking up a playoff berth.
Roughriders claim some dignity…(Riders will win at least 2 games)
Even the most ardent Saskatchewan Roughriders fans have to be a little surprised at the team’s sudden turnaround since Week 12. After starting the season 1-10 the Riders have gone 3-0 and are threatening to run the table on the rest of the year. While the Green and White have been officially eliminated from postseason contention, it’s clear that the season-long plans laid by head coach Chris Jones are starting to bear fruit. The league is always more entertaining when the Riders are relevant and LWOS will happily take kudos for predicting it.
Redblacks re-establish their claim… (Ottawa holds first place in the East)
This prediction was a push. The Ottawa Redblacks are indeed first in the East, yet the spirit of the prediction was that Ottawa could have a firm grip on the division, this is hardly the case as the Redblacks sit just one point ahead of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and only 3 ahead of the Toronto Argonauts. The last four weeks have certainly shown that the Redblacks have the talent to make noise in the playoffs (although the injury to Chris Williams hurts) but the team lacks the consistency to put it together in a game. Yet, with former MOP Henry Burris set to take the reins for the final four weeks of the season, perhaps Ottawa has a chance to become the dark horse of the playoffs.
Notable Developments in the CFL
What the Willy? Argos make a deal and clean house…
Fans across the CFL were caught off guard when the news broke that the Argos had acquired embattled quarterback Drew Willy at the kingly ransom of first and third round draft picks and TJ Heath. Many wondered if the team was overreacting to Ricky Ray‘s most recent injury trouble – others wondered if general manager Jim Barker and head coach Scott Milanovich had lost their minds. As if to compound the issue the team would later drop the bombshell that starting receivers Tori Gurely, Vidal Hazelton, and Kevin Elliot had been released. While the Argos are still in the playoff race for 2016, their most recent actions have fans wondering about the team’s future under Barker and Milanovich.
Popp pulled in Montreal…
Unlike the Argos out-of-nowhere trade, the removal of general manager Jim Popp from his role as head coach of the Montreal Alouettes was nearly a forgone conclusion by the time it was finally announced. With a seemingly unending tide of drama, backbiting, and mismanagement, the Als were set to replace the Roughriders in the CFL’s basement until ownership decided to give Jacques Chapdelaine his first CFL head coaching gig. The results were immediate as Montreal stomped the Argos in Chapdelaine’s first game. With a legitimate chance to make the playoffs, look for Chapdelaine to pull out all the stops to change his intern title to something more permanent.
Toothless Tabbies in Hamilton…
Lately it feels like if it can go wrong, it has gone wrong for the Tiger-Cats and their 2016 season. After losing three of their last four games Hamilton won’t be starting franchise quarterback, Zach Collaros for this week’s critical game against the Redblacks because of injury. Yet, even with Collaros, the Tiger-Cats haven’t scored more than 21 points in over five weeks, a disturbing trend in the CFL. While the recent injuries to receivers Chad Owens and Luke Tasker certainly complicate matters, the cupboard is hardly bare in Hamilton, with Andy Fantuz, Brandon Banks, Terrence Toliver, and the recently signed Kevin Elliot all on the roster. The Ticats will need to find a way to get points on the board if they hope to be playing meaningful football in a months time.
Predictions For The Next Four Weeks
Eskimos take the East…
The CFL’s most unpredictable team hasn’t locked up a playoff spot and time is running out in the 2016 season. With the Eskimos potentially costing themselves a chance to make the post season in the West, the crossover is becoming more and more likely. Boasting a terrifying offence and a defence that gained some teeth following the recent addition of Phillip Hunt, the Eskimos have all the tools they need to stay ahead of the third place team in the East. Throw in a little luck and a lot of passes to Adarius Bowman, and the Eskimos could be battling it out in Eastern Canada come November.
The Stamps already accomplished more than they could have hoped for after entering the season with a new head coach and minus several key players like Eric Rogers and Jon Cornish. With 13 wins and first place locked up, there may be the temptation to take the foot off the gas in Calgary rather than push hard during the final stretch. This wont be the case in Cowtown, as coach Dave Dickenson knows that his team will have a 21 day bye between their last regular season game and the West Division Championship game. Dickenson will have his team committed and focused in each of the Stamps last three games as the team shoots for an unprecedented 16-1-1 record and a sharp edge going into the postseason.
Empty Den for the Lions…
The boldest prediction this season – the Lions will fall to third place and lose home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Lions haven’t held an opponent to under 27 points since Week 11 and have allowed back to back 30+ point games. While the BC offence is as potent as any in the league, the pressure on them to carry the team is troubling, especially when teams want their defence to be strong in the final stretch. With a rematch against the high flying Bombers, a showdown with the Eskimos, and a back to back series with the suddenly competitive Riders, the Lions are in for a bit of a tumble.
Have your own predictions for your favorite team over the next four weeks? Feel free to post them in the comments below!