Winnipeg Blue Bombers Faced with a Harsh Schedule down the Stretch

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REGINA, SK - SEPTEMBER 02: Head coach Mike O'Shea of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on the sideline during the game between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Saskatchewan Roughriders at Mosaic Stadium on September 2, 2018 in Regina, Canada. (Photo by Brent Just/Getty Images)

In terms of their opponents’ records, two games against the 7-6 Edmonton Eskimos are the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ “easiest” remaining games on their schedule.

The Blue Bombers are sitting in last place in the West Division with a 6-7 record.

To make matters worse, climbing out of their self-inflicted hole won’t be easy.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers Remaining Five Games

This Saturday the Bombers travel to Commonwealth Stadium to face-off against the Edmonton Eskimos. After that, the Bombers go to Ottawa on October 5, six days later, to play the first place Redblacks.

The Blue Bombers will return from the road eight days later for a heated contest against the Saskatchewan Roughriders on October 13. Winnipeg will then get a bye week, and then welcome the Calgary Stampeders on October 26. The Bombers then close out their regular season on November 3, traveling to Edmonton again.

Winnipeg has played all four of their remaining opponents this season. They are winless against all four (0-5).

Alarmingly, the Bombers have not beaten a team with an above .500 record after the first 14 weeks of this season.

With two victories against Montreal and Toronto and one win versus B.C. and Hamilton, the Blue Bombers’ 2018 resume is less than impressive.

Ironically, Winnipeg has the second-best point differential in 2018 at +66.

But turnovers, average quarterback play, and poor outings versus the better CFL teams have held this club back.

The West Division

Aside from the Calgary Stampeders (10-2), the West Division is still tight.

The Roughriders (8-5) are in second, followed by the Eskimos (7-6), the Lions (6-6), and the Bombers (6-7).

Although the Bombers are four points back of the Roughriders, aka a home playoff game, second place is an unrealistic goal for the Bombers. Catching the Eskimos is possible, but two wins in Edmonton would be a must if Winnipeg were to do so.

That being said, to even make the playoffs, the Bombers need to pass at least one team in the West. Fourth place in the West is most likely for Winnipeg, and possibly their best option.

Fourth place would likely mean that the B.C. Lions would finish last in the West. Winnipeg holds the tiebreaker over B.C., which could come into play.

The Lions close out their season at Hamilton, vs Toronto, at Calgary, vs Edmonton, at Saskatchewan, and vs Calgary.

Crossover

Ten teams — all from the West — have crossed over to the East Division for the playoffs. No team has ever won or better yet made it to the Grey Cup after crossing over.

With an apparent West Division gauntlet of at Saskatchewan/Edmonton and then at Calgary, crossing over in 2018 may be Winnipeg’s best option at getting to, or winning the Grey Cup.

After all, the CFL championship is just one game. Anyone can come out on top despite what logic says – just ask the Ottawa Redblacks or the Toronto Argonauts.

The Last Word

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers remaining opponents have a combined 33-18 record. The B.C. Lions remaining opponents have a combined 34-29 record. Winnipeg is going to be in tough to make up ground in the West, but definitely have a talented enough team to do so.

Two Blue Bombers wins against the Eskimos would make the final West Division standings complicated. In the end, the Bombers still control their own destiny, but winning against top-tier opponents is necessary.

Main image credit: Embed from Getty Images

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