The CFL is coming off a wild Labour Day Weekend of games, and it looked like Week 14 was set to duplicate the excitement we received a week prior. Similar to the previous week, there were clinching scenarios, but this time, two teams can get into this year's playoffs. One of the two teams: none other than the defending Grey Cup Champions, the Toronto Argonauts. The scenario was simple, win and in. That's it. It's always nice to have that scenario, isn't it?
The Argos hosted the Montréal Alouettes to kick off a Saturday tripleheader, and regarding the Als, they were coming off a home loss to the BC Lions on Labour Day Weekend. Unfortunately for the Als, it would get much worse for them. The Boatmen dominated Montréal for the entire game, doing so on both sides of the ball. The Als had no chance. The Argos won, 39-10, and as a result:
The Argos became the first team to clinch a playoff spot in the 2023 season, and their clinch comes one week earlier than last year's clinch did. I said this before; it seems like this year's team is better than last year's, and last year ended with the Argonauts winning the Grey Cup! This team seems to be working on any and all cylinders, it's just absolutely amazing. From the way the Eastern standings look, it seems like a foregone conclusion that the Argos will lock up all of the important positions and get home field in the Eastern Final. But that's weeks down the line.
The other team who could clinch this week: the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The Bombers needed a win last week to get in, but they fell just short in overtime against the Saskatchewan Roughriders. This week was the rematch in Winnipeg, and one had to wonder how they would respond.
All they did was eviscerate the Riders. That's all.
The Bombers won, 51-6, and as a result, both teams who played for the Grey Cup last year are playoff bound again. The first several weeks looked like Winnipeg would be keeping up with the BC Lions for the whole season, but it looks like they've overcome that, as they're at the top of the West Division once again. A fourth straight Grey Cup Championship appearance could be on the horizon for the Bombers.
Elsewhere, Week 14 kicked off with the Ottawa Redblacks hosting the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in a nail-biting Eastern battle that saw the home team fall just short; a 27-24 victory in favor of the TiCats. Week 14 ended with the Battle of Alberta again, and while the Labour Day meeting saw the Edmonton Elks' attempt at a comeback fall short. This week's meeting was dominated by the Calgary Stampeders, but the Elks managed to scratch and claw their way to a huge comeback--capped off by a game-winning field goal with no time remaining. The Elks won, 25-23, their second straight home win, and they've won three of their last four.
We are two-thirds through this season, and here's how things stand. In the West Division, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are 10-3, increasing their lead over the idle BC Lions, who remain at 8-4. The Saskatchewan Roughriders dropped to 6-6, the slumping Calgary Stampeders are 4-9, and the Edmonton Elks are right behind them at 3-10. As it stands right now, it would be the Roughriders heading to Vancouver for the Western Semifinal. With the way the Stampeders are going, it does look like the West's top three are cemented. Now, it's only a matter of positioning.
In the East Division, the Toronto Argonauts stand very tall at 10-1, while the Montréal Alouettes are in a distant second at 6-6. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats improved to 5-7 with their win over the Ottawa Redblacks, who are now 3-9. Montréal's stranglehold on second place is dwindling. They've lost three straight games, and they now find themselves only one game ahead of Hamilton for second place. Luckily for them, they have won the season series over Hamilton, with their third and final meeting set for the final week of the season. So all the Alouettes have to do is keep their heads above water and they'll have the Eastern Semifinal at home.
The final stretch of this season starts on Friday, September 15 with the Montréal Alouettes hosting the Toronto Argonauts, followed by the Edmonton Elks heading to Regina to face off against the Saskatchewan Roughriders. On Saturday, September 16, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats will host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and later that evening, the BC Lions will be back in action against the Ottawa Redblacks.
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