Wednesday, October 31, 2012

CFL Regular Season: Week 19

Nineteen weeks since the Canada Day kickoff, the CFL's regular season comes to an end this weekend.

As kick off nears, only the Eskimos, Riders and Tiger Cats really have much to play for, in the case of the Cats it's a chance to snare a playoff spot when many had given them up for done a few weeks ago.

To that goal they face their favourite rival the Toronto Argonauts, a victory and a bit of help from the West and the Cats will face the Argos again next weekend in the semi-final, a loss and the Cats will be done for the year, with a few questions awaiting their post season review.

Friday Night brings us the Stamps and Eskimos, with the Stamps in the position of making the Tiger Cats very happy and the Eskimos very miserable. A Calgary victory will end Edmonton's post season ambitions, an Eskimos victory moves them through to the playoffs, a most unlikely thought in September when they did their free fall through the standings.

Most eyes will be on Jon Cornish on Friday night,  should Cornish run for more than 50 yards he will become the league's top rushing Canadian in a single season, eclipsing long time Eskimo and Stampeder great Norm Kwong.

Montreal plays out the string in Winnipeg, offering the Bombers a chance to bid farewell to Canad Inn Stadium and ponder football with a lineup that resembles a rather nasty episode of M*A*S*H

The Riders and Lions bring the 2012 regular season to an end, the Lions perhaps looking to get back on a winning groove before the Western Final in two weeks. The Riders can secure their spot in the Western Semi Final with a victory on Saturday, if Edmonton has won on Friday, then Saskatchewan will be off to the east for a semi final showdown with Toronto.

Previews and Reviews of Week Nineteen can be found below

Thursday, November 1-- Hamilton 40 at Toronto 43 (27,283)
Friday, November 2-- Calgary 30 at Edmonton 27    (21,147)
Saturday, November 3-- Montreal 11 at Winnipeg 19  (26,907)
Saturday, November 3-- Saskatchewan 6 at British Columbia 17  (36,357)

Twelve Men Prognostications: Predicted Winners

British Columbia

Weekly Record

2 - 2

Overall Record 

37 correct, 39 wrong

Gibson's Players of the Week (Week Eighteen) October 30, 2012

The Double Blue, doubled their spots on the Gibson's Player of the Week awards this week, as Ricky Ray and Andre Durie snared two of the four spots of week eighteen.

The Argos claimed their spots based on their work in Saskatchewan on Saturday, a game which gave the Double Blue home field advantage for the Eastern semi final next week.

While the Argos were busy impressing the Gibson's panel, the efforts of Anwar Stewart in the cold of a Calgary Friday night also gained notice, Stewart picking up the Defensive Player of the week award in just his third game for the Stamps this season.

Lions kick returner Tim Brown also caught the eye of the Gibson's panel, Brown was one of the few bright spots for the Leos in their frigid Friday visit to Calgary, his work on special teams impressed the panel who gave him the nod on selection day.

The full review of the Gibson's of week eighteen can be found below. Press release

Offensive Player of the Week 

Ricky RayToronto Argonauts QB

it took Ricky Ray to nearly the end of the season, but the Argo quarterback, who has put together two impressive weeks in a row as the season winds down has finally snared his first Gibson of the year.  When the trade to Toronto was announced at the start of the season, many anticipated that Ray and the Argos would dominate the east division, however things got off to a slow start for the Double Blue as the new QB and his team got to know each other. An injury to Ray sidle lined the learning curve a little bit more, but with the playoffs within sight, Ray and his offence seem to have it all figured it out. Saturday's offensive output by the Argos led by Ray provided more than enough material to put him on the Gibson's radar for week eighteen.

Defensive Player of the Month and Top Canadian

Anwar Stewart, Calgary Stampders, DL

For Calgary it was all about sending a message to the West Division and defending Grey Cup champion Lions and on a frigid Friday night that message was delivered by Anwar Stewart, The Stamps Defensive Lineman made life a much miserable experience for Lions back up starter Mike Reilly. Four tackles and four sacks made the Lions experience at McMahon that much less enjoyable. A performance that snared him his first Gibson's in his short year with the Stamps.

Special Teams Player of the Week

Tim Brown, British Columbia Lions, KR

The Lions for the most part didn't seem to want to be in Calgary on Friday night, the cold, arctic blast of the winds of Alberta reminding one and all of the importance of securing First place in the West as the Leos had done the week before. Still, the game was on the schedule so someone had to play it, for the Lions that someone was Tim Brown who was a double threat on kickoff returns and punts, picking up a TD and over 230 combined yards on returns for the night, a performance that brings him out of the cold and into the Gibson's spot light.

Canadian of the Week of the Week

Andre Durie, Toronto Argonauts, SB

A two touchdown day for Durie provided the Gibson's panel with some highlight material to view as Andre Durie contributed greatly to the Argos victory and  the chance for the Argos to host their first home playoff date in a number of years.  Ricky Ray looked Durie's way six times for a total of 40 aerial yards in addition to the two TDs on the day.

CFL Video Zone

Players of the Week highlights (view here)

Top Ten plays of Week  18 (view here)

Ultimate Replay of Week 18 (view here)

Gibson's Players of the Week Archives for 2012

Twelve Men Review (Week Eighteen) October 26-28

The Lions learned a valuable lesson Friday night, securing home field advantage is truly one of the most important aspects of a CFL season.  Such was the nature of their cold weather adventure in Calgary and the subsequent loss that came from it.

Fortunately for BC, they won't have to worry about the elements for the remainder of 2012 however long that path may take them, unless of course someone forgets to close the roof at BC Place.

The Bombers bowed out, officially eliminated from the playoffs this week, though for most Bomber fans that date probably arrived after the Banjo Bowl.

The Argos secured a playoff spot, the Tiger Cats stayed alive and the Eskimos fumbled their chance to  seek a playoff position leaving the final week to shake it all out.

The week in review was follows:

British Columbia at Calgary

For the second week in a row the visuals from Calgary brought us back to the past, where all games were played on a frozen tundra late into October, the field was slick with ice, the air clouded by ice fog, the propane heaters going full blast (ask   ).

Well maybe not full blast, at least on the Lions side of the field, where BC took at least one quarter to finally figure out that there was a football game going on in this arctic vista.

The Stamps jumped out to an early lead, that pretty well had the game put away by the time the first half had arrived, no doubt giving the Lions cause to just say hey thanks for the invite, but we'll just stay indoors for the second half.

But, troopers that they are, the Lions came out for the second half surrendered some more points, picked up a few more of their own and caught the last flight for the coast and the relative warmth of the rain forest.

The final score of 41 to 21was of no particular consequence other than to Jon Cornish as he continues to add some yardage to his amazing year and full credit to him for actually gaining traction on the ice flows of Alberta.

The game for the most part was as meaningless as a CFL game could be, Calgary we imagine will use it as a preamble for what they hope will be a CFL Western Final appearance in two weeks time, the Lions well, they had to put a line up out on the field, always good to see if the understudies are on the same page and if they remembered to pack their long underwear.

When the CFL drew up the schedule for 2012 we imagine they probably looked at the BC/Calgary game as perhaps pivotal to the final standings, in reality that game arrived a few weeks earlier when the Lions beat the Stamps in the climate controlled comfort of BC Place, they no doubt will be looking to that game for inspiration in the CFL West Final, not the frozen stumble festival of Friday night.

Winnipeg at Hamilton

Let it be officially recorded that the Winnipeg Blue Bombers were eliminated from the CFL playoff race on October 27th, Bomber fans though most likely already knew that fact back around Labour Day.

The Bombers season of woe became final on Saturday in Hamilton, when the home town Tiger Cats kept their slim playoff hopes alive with a solid 28 to 18 victory over the Bombers.

Sure the Bombers have one more week on the schedule, but a quick scan of the injury list from Winnipeg for this weekend tells you that the Winnipeg Rifles might want to volunteer for duty, like everyone does when disaster strikes.

Winnipeg's loss of Saturday pretty well defined the season, they never quite could get it together on the field and injuries again knocked some of the key participants off the field.  Buck Pierce, once again was forced to the sidelines due to injury, something that perhaps could have become a lottery feature this season on your Sports Action/select tickets, such has been the regularity of his departure from a CFL Game.

Hamilton, which as we have mentioned far too many times this year, can look like a potential Grey Cup champion on some days and a team that would be relegated to tier two if this were English soccer on others.

Saturday the potential Grey Cup team showed up for work, with their season on the brink of extinction the Cats rattled off the points to secure victory and stay in the hunt for a CFL playoff spot, which now would be a battle to hold off the charge of the Eskimos from the West for a crossover spot.

The Bombers play out the string at home against Montreal, the final game (so they say) at Canad Inn Stadium, next year a brand new start beckons at the new ball yard across town, we imagine the Bombers can't wait to get this season out of the way and look ahead to next year.

Hamilton can keep their playoff ambitions percolating when they travel to Toronto to play the Argos, if they win and the football stars align, they'll be back there next week for an eastern semi final, which would be a cash bonanza for the Argos, Hamilton being a tad closer than Edmonton to Toronto.

I Wonder who the Argos will be hoping for on Thursday night?

Toronto at Saskatchewan

The Riders continued to give the always involved Rider Nation something to worry about heading into the playoffs, a tendency to have very bad fourth quarters, a recurring theme this year which as of yet has not bee solved.

Ricky Ray finally looked secure in the Argo saddle again, the rust of his convalescence of the fall finally having come off,  as the Rider defensive discovered through the course of the cold afternoon at Mosaic.

Ray completed four TD passes and accumulated 305 passing yards in the course of the game, an impressive performance that capitalized on some kindness from the Riders who continue to struggle after the half time rest period.

The Argo victory secures a second place finish in the East, not really something to crow about considering the mediocrity of the East this season, but in a season that seemed on the cusp of going terribly wrong a few weeks ago, pulling out a late game victory in the atmosphere at Mosaic Field is something to build on.

With the win the Argos will get a playoff home date, granted it's a semi final and not a final, but the path to potentially playing in the Grey Cup game that they are hosting is still very much a possibility for the Double Blue.

They host the Tiger Cats to wrap up the regular season, the fact the Cats are still in the playoff hunt will be good for a few extra seats sold on Thursday night, a Tiger Cat victory might even mean more fans making the drive down for the eastern semi final of next week.

The Riders know they are going to be in the playoffs, the only question being whether they make travel plans for Calgary or Toronto, travel agents will watch with interest the results this weekend from Vancouver and Edmonton as to an indication.

Regardless, unless they figure out their second half troubles, Saskatchewan won't need the travel agents after next weekend.

Edmonton at Montreal

For the first three quarters of Sunday's wrap to weekend eighteen, the Eskimos looked very much like the team that stumbled through the month of September, poor execution, no finish and few if any points on the board gave many cause to start clicking on their remotes as the view from Montreal looked ugly.

The Als, who had already clinched first place in the East still put on a bit of a clinic for the Eskimos, loading up on the first half of the game with what seemed like more than enough points to make the Eskimos trip to Montreal quite miserable.

Anthony Calvillo once again held control over the proceedings, which while good for the CFL, makes one perhaps second guess his appearance in what was a most meaningless game for the Als. Considering the Grey Cup hopes ride on his aging frame, a wee bit of rest might be helpful for the Montreal gunslinger.

Edmonton had no such luxury as a potential rest, with their playoff ambitions still very much in flux, the 27-25 loss in Montreal could by Sunday have been very, very costly.

The Esks were not in this game until the later stages, the first half a disaster of Eskimo football that only provided for only one point after thirty minutes of play, Montreal cruising it seemed with a 19-1 lead at the half.

By three quarter time even the most dedicated of CFL fans was no doubt clicking away at the remote checking out the offerings of the NFL, if they failed to check back in with Montreal they missed out on a pretty spirited comeback by the Esks that made the game much closer on the scoreboard than the actual play of the field might have suggested.

Still, a loss is a loss, and like many opportunities before this season, the Eskimos failed to grasp what was within reach, they now must sit and watch the results from Toronto of Thursday night, and then win at home on Friday night when Calgary comes to town.

A Ticat win on Thursday, combined with an Eskimo loss on Friday will send the Cats on to the Eastern Semi Final, the Eskimos fate clearly is still in their hands, however, it's that ever faithful rival from the south that will decide part of that fate.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

CFL Game Day: Edmonton at Montreal (Week Eighteen) October 28, 2012

A window of opportunity opened up for the Edmonton Eskimos on Saturday, it's up to them to make use of it on Sunday as they take on the Montreal Alouettes at Molson Stadium.

With Toronto defeating Saskatchewan on Saturday, securing a home playoff game in the Eastern Semi final, the Eskimos can still harbour thoughts of a third place finish in the West, which would send them off to Calgary to take on the Stamps in the Western Semi Final.

Their other path to the playoffs would be a crossover route through the East, that of course providing they can keep ahead of the Hamilton Tiger Cats heading into the final week of play next week.

Towards either goal a victory would be most useful and Kavis Reed has no doubt made that point quite nicely in the week leading up to the Eskimos trip east.

While Montreal really doesn't have much to play for in these final two weeks, Marc Trestman would probably prefer that his team not develop any bad habits heading towards the playoffs, so keeping his team focused on football without looking too far down the calendar will be the task at hand on Sunday.

Bad habits have been a problem for the Als at times during the course of the year, though of late Montreal has begun to pull it together both offensively and defensively, nicely timed as it turns out for the playoff run.

Game Time 1 PM ET, 11 AM MT, 10 AM PT Molson Stradium TSN

Edmonton 25 at Montreal 27 (23,312)

Pre Game Game Preview Video Preview

National Post-- Alouettes' Anthony Calvillo enjoying the moment
Montreal Gazette-- Alouettes' Anthony Calvillo isn't over thinking his future
Edmonton Sun-- Edmonton Eskimos hope to snap Montreal jinx
Edmonton Journal-- Montreal strictly a business trip for Eskimos Eskimos Joseph continues to defy the odds

Team Backgrounders

Edmonton Eskimos
Montreal Alouettes

Post Game Game Review Video Highlights

National Post-- Eskimos miss chance to clinch playoff berth with loss to Alouettes
Montreal Gazette-- Als beat Esks at Molson Stadium - again
Edmonton Sun-- Eskimos comeback falls short against Alouettes
Edmonton Journal-- Eskimos' rally falls just short Calvillo varies attack with stellar supporting cast

Saturday, October 27, 2012

CFL Game Day: Toronto at Saskatchewan (Week Eighteen) October 27, 2012

By the time the Argos take to Mosaic Field on Saturday afternoon the Eastern Division playoff seedings may have already have sorted themselves out a bit.

The result of the Hamilton/Winnipeg game which will have just completed when the Argos and Riders prepare to kick off, will offer up some kind of guide as to which of their eastern division rivals may still be alive in the playoff race.

The score from Ivor Wynne though shouldn't pre-occupy the Argos too much however, the key for their playoff ambitions is simple, win, win today and win next week when they wrap up the season and all questions of an Argo playoff appearance will be answered.

The problem is, winning is something the Argos have had a problem with in the last three weeks.

Toronto, host city for this years Grey Cup, have stumbled their way through October, a losing streak that arrived at the worst possible time, a skid that almost saw them slide right out of the playoff picture, only the ineptitude of the Tiger Cats to capitalize on their chances has kept the Argos still in the hunt for a second place finish and a semi final home date.

A win in Regina today would provide the safe margin of space between second and third and ensure that the ticket takers at Rogers have work in two weeks.

A loss would enshrine October as one of the worst months in recent Argo history, one which will have featured an amazing collapse that sent the Argos tumbling from contending for first place to scrambling for their playoff lives.

Saskatchewan has already clinched a playoff spot, the only question that remains for the Riders is whether their legion of fans will travel to Calgary for a Western semi final or if they travel east for the crossover berth in the Eastern semi.

At the moment, they appear destined for Calgary, a two point lead over the Eskimos in the standings the difference between heading east or west for Team Green and White.

With their final home game of the season on tap for today, they can book the buses for the trip west with a win over the Argos. A trip to Calgary might provide for a larger travelling contingent than east bound destinations might, a possibility that could make the Western semi final almost a home game.

By the time the sun begins to set on Saskatchewan we'll have a little better idea as to whether week 19 will be of any importance to anyone other than the statisticians.

Game Time  2 PM ST, 4 ET, 1 PT Mosaic Field TSN

Toronto 31 at Saskatchewan 26 (29,747)

Pre Game Game Preview Video Preview

National Post-- Argos unfazed by cold Saskatchewan weather
Toronto Sun-- Argos facing cold, hard facts
Toronto Star-- Argos' game plan for Regina weather includes running game
Regina Leader Post-- Roughriders embrace the cold Riders' playoff chances are anyone's guess

Team Backgrounders

Toronto Argonauts
Saskatchewan Roughriders

Post Game Game Review Video Highlights

National Post-- Ricky Ray finally at ease in charge of Argos
Toronto Sun-- Argos in playoffs but that's all
Toronto Star-- Quick thinking puts Argonauts into CFL playoffs
Regina Leader Post-- Riders fail to finish again Missed opportunities haunt Riders' Tristan Jackson

Friday, October 26, 2012

CFL Game Day: Winnipeg at Hamilton (Week Eighteen) October 27, 2012

It's a late season game with as much meaning as the weekend can offer and for all the wrong reasons.

Both Winnipeg and Hamilton have provided the material to be the poster children for incompetence this season, neither it seems capable of seizing the moment, neither really deserving of the chance to have a post season, but here we are, two weeks to go in the season and the Bombers and the Cats could very well determine which team packs for an Eastern Semi final game and which one parks on the couch.

Neither the Bombers, nor the Cats have given their fans much in the way of hope for a Grey Cup parade this season, in fact, frustration among the fan base has marked much of the season for both Winnipeg and Hamilton.

The Cats fans perhaps the most flummoxed at the path of the Tiger this season, a season of occasional highs mixed with far too many lows, of games within grasp and lost, intermixed with games where they have been blown out of the park, only to be countered by the odd effort where the Tabbies have looked like the Grey Cup should have been engraved with their name at the July 1st kickoff.

The only team more confusing for their fans this year has been the Bombers, a team which last year went as far as the Grey Cup game deep into November, a team which this year looked like they had booked their tickets for winter vacations back by the August 1st holiday weekend.

The Bombers, who went without the services of starting QB Buck Pierce for most of the year, were at times the team most likely to be run out of town by their own fan club.

The Bombers were at times just plain awful and then just when all seemed dire, they would come up with an impressive win, enough of a bit of progress to perhaps save the job of the head coach (the GM however isn't feeling any love from Friendly Manitoba) once they get around to the post mortem of the season from hell.

You somehow get the feeling that Bon Jovi is going to be the preferred warm up music in the Bomber locker room for the next two weeks. Yet with a win on Saturday and another next week and the Blue could very well be in the playoffs, a three week dash where anything can happen.

The test of that theory begins Saturday afternoon in the Hammer, to paraphrase the theme of the old Tina Turner Movie Thunder Dome, two teams enter, one leaves.

Game Time 1 PM ET, Noon CT, 10 AM ET, Ivor Wynne Stadium TSN

Winnipeg 18 at Hamilton 28 (29,722)

Pre Game Game Preview Video Preview

National Post-- Desperate Blue Bombers living on a prayer
Winnipeg Sun-- Tiger-Cats easy marks for Blue Bombers
Winnipeg Free Press-- Bombers juggle defensive lineup to replace injured starters
Hamilton Spectator-- Math is not on the side of Ticats against Blue Bombers Blue Bombers defence knows they have to step up to keep playoff hopes alive

Team Backgrounders

Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Hamilton Tiger Cats

Post Game Game Review Video Highlights

National Post-- Tiger-Cats keep slim playoff hopes alive in final game at Ivor Wynne Stadium
Winnipeg Sun-- Blue Bombers' Buck Pierce's last hurrah?
Winnipeg Free Press-- Fitting end to sorry season
Hamilton Spectator-- Believe it! Ticats in battle with Esks for playoff spot Burris, Ticats seize the day vs. Bombers in 28-18 win, final game at Ivor Wynne 

CFL Game Day: British Columbia at Calgary (Week Eighteen) October 26, 2012

It's not very often that a match up between the Lions and the Stamps is of absolutely no consequence, but that's the case tonight, as what normally would be the top game of the weekend instead will be nothing but a pads on practice for the two teams.

Sure, there's bragging rights and all of that, the Stamps perhaps a tad more motivated to avenge the loss a few weeks back in Vancouver, a loss that brought to an end their thoughts of a first place finish in the West this year.

But with the Lions holding court as the best of the league and the Stamps now focused on their Western Semi Final game in two weeks time, one wonders how much starters will see on what will be a frozen patch of turf at McMahon Stadium.

There are some interesting sidebars to the game tonight the running backs for both teams are among the best in the league, while the Lions GM of course has history with the Stamps, in recent years both have been the top teams of the division, solid franchises that have a blue print in place for others to follow.

Then there's the QB situation, Travis Lulay most likely will get further rest, Mike Reilly more than capable at directing the Leos offence while the starter recuperates.

Calgary on the other hand finds Drew Tate ready to report for duty after his lengthy convalescence over the season, however, Kevin Glenn has been the one responsible for keeping the Stamps playoff and Grey Cup ambitions alive, changing QB's at this time seems an unlikely strategy, though we imagine if he's ready, Tate will get some work tonight, if for no other reason than to shake off some of the rust.

There are any number of reasons to take in the game tonight, the competitive nature of the two teams, the quest of Jon Cornish to rewrite some record book entries and the thought that momentum into the playoffs is always key, so perhaps it may not be a no contact scrimmage after all.

It won't count for much in the playoff race, but messages late into the season are always important, keeping your team on track late in the season when the standings don't matter is always a challenge, it may be the biggest issue of the night for both Mike Benevides and John Hufnagel.

Game Time 7 PM MT, 6 PT, 9 ET McMahon Stadium TSN

British Columbia 21 at Calgary 41 (27,014)

Pre Game Game Preview Video Preview

National Post-- Lions, Stampeders meet with playoff decisions in mind
Vancouver Province--  Harris and Cornish: They're the best CFL running backs, period
Vancouver Sun-- Lions' Andrew Harris has a secret admirer
Calgary Herald-- Cornish closes in on 56 year old record
Calgary Sun-- Calgary Stampeders QB Drew Tate set for return

Team Backgrounders

British Columbia Lions
Calgary Stampeders

Post Game Game Review Video Highlights

National Post-- Strong first half leads Stampeders to romp of Lions
Vancouver Province-- B. C. Lions lose 41-21 to Calgary Stampeders in mean-nothing stinker
Vancouver Sun-- Stampeders stomp on Lions early en route to 41-21 victory in Calgary
Calgary Herald-- Stampeders ride explosive first quarter in 41-21 victory over B. C. Lions
Calgary Sun-- Stamps use quick start to bury Lions

CFL Regular Season: Week 18

The top end of the standings has been secured, but with two weeks remaining in the CFL's regular season for 2012, the battle for playoff seeding continues on, with Toronto, Hamilton, Winnipeg, Saskatchewan and Edmonton all seeking to improve on their positions and/or avoid elimination.

While the Lions, Als and Stamps give thought to resting their starters for the final two weeks of regular play, it will be all hands on deck for the remainder of the contenders as the prospect of playoff football in November hinges on how they perform in these final two weeks. has compiled the wide range of possibilities with two weeks to go, required reading for CFL fans that are still in the chase for a playoff position, Western fans in  Saskatchewan and Edmonton of course can also pick up a brochure on travel, as one of them seems destined to the crossover berth in the East division.

As for fans in  BC, Montreal and Calgary you can skip this course,  you instead should be studying up for the November exams...

Previews and Reviews of Week Eighteen can be found below

Friday, October 26-- British Columbia 21 at Calgary 41  (27,014) 
Saturday, October 27-- Winnipeg 18 at Hamilton  28 (29,722)
Saturday, October 27-- Toronto 31 at Saskatchewan 26 (29,747) 
Sunday, October 28-- Edmonton 25 at Montreal 27 (23,312)

Twelve Men Prognostications: Predicted Winners

British Columbia

Weekly Record

2 - 2

Overall Record

35 correct, 37 wrong

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Gibsons' Players of the Week (Week Seventeen) October 23, 2012

Weston Dressler can dress for success this week, he's one of four pivotal players from week seventeen as selected by the Gibson's panel.

Dresslers' efforts in the Riders attempted comeback against Montreal on Saturday as the folks at Gibson's found much to be impressed about in his special teams work on the day.

Joining Dressler at the Gibson's podium were Jamel Richardson of the Alouettes, with Keon Raymond and Jon Cornish of the Stamps rounding out the foursome for the week of honours.

The full review of the Gibson's of week sixteen can be found below. Press release

Offensive Player of the Week 

Jamel RichardsonMontreal Alouettes, SB

Gaining more notice for himself with each game winding down the regular season, Jamel Richardson had an impressive Sunday at Mosaic Field, as he helped contribute to the Alouettes 34-28 road victory. Richardson picked up a season high 161 yards on eight receptions, 122 of them in the first half alone.

Defensive Player of the Month and Top Canadian

Keon Raymond, Calgary Stampders, DB

The Stamps DB provided the spark for the Stamps defensive corps on a cold Saturday afternoon, making eight tackles, two sacks and one pick, an interception return that went 100 yards in the second quarter for six valuable Stampeder points. It seemed as though Raymond was everywhere on Saturday, and most likely he still haunts the sleep pattern of Henry Burris well into the run up to week 18.

Special Teams Player of the Week

Weston Dressler, Saskatchewan Roughriders, KR

While the Riders came up short on the scoreboard in their match up with the Alouettes on Saturday, it wasn't because of a lack of effort from Weston Dressler. The Riders slotback/kick returner picked up his first Special Teams Gibsons for the year, thanks to his 76 yards on returns, which included a touchdown return that helped chip away at the Alouettes lead. While not enough to topple the Als on the day, Dressler's work kept the Riders in the game and offered up hope of another late game surge from the Green and White.

Canadian of the Week of the Week

Jon Cornish, Calgary Stampeders, RB

He's collecting Gibson's like a youngster collects sports cards, and for any youngsters looking to purchase a collectible, the Jon Cornish CFL players card might be a good investment. For the seventh time this year, they have called out Jon Cornish's name for recognition, this one on the strength of yet another stellar effort, this one in some of the worst conditions at McMahon in a couple of years. Cornish picked up 108 yards and a touchdown as the Stamps edged the Ticats in the snow and ice and fog of Calgary Saturday afternoon.

CFL Video Zone

Players of the Week highlights (view here)

Top Ten plays of Week  15 (view here)

Ultimate Replay of Week 15 (view here)

Gibson's Players of the Week Archives for 2012

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Twelve Men Review (Week Seventeen) October 19-20

First place in both East and West has been locked up after week Seventeen, leaving the battles for semi final hosting duties still to come as we work through the final two weeks of the CFL season.

On the strength of their victories, both Montreal and British Columbia can rest up their players until November 18th rolls around, watching with interest as the dust settles on positioning for the rest of the members of the Lodge.

The Lions dismissed the Eskimos with little trouble on Friday night, while Montreal held off a late game charge by the Riders to rule victorious in the East, thanks in part to the stumbles of the Argonauts over the last few weeks.

The week in review was as thus.

Winnipeg at Toronto

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers may still have aspirations of a playoff entry, as unlikely as that may seem to most CFL observers, however they gave some pulse to their faint hopes with a smack down on the struggling Toronto Argonauts.

Toronto even with the emotional lift of the return of Ricky Ray surrendered far too many points to the Bombers 44 in total, as Winnipeg took out a season of frustration on the Argos.  Building on the return of Buck Pierce to grab a 24-12 lead by halftime.

Toronto had whittled down that lead to 27-21 by three quarter time, however they would never make up the gap in the end down 12 points by games end on the losing end of the 44-32 score.

The third loss in a row for the Double Blue is reducing their chances by the week at being involved in  a playoff game, let alone hosting one as the free fall reaches worrisome proportions. The Argos are now but four points ahead of both Winnipeg and Hamilton, so clearly a win in the next two weeks is essential  to hold off not only the Cats and the Bombers but avoid possible elimination by a crossover opponent from the West.

Toronto faces the Riders this week in Saskatchewan and then are host to Hamilton in the season ender, a game which may be one of major importance for post season aspirations.

The Bombers in the meantime can end the Ticats playoff ambitions with a win this weekend in Hamilton, then wait to see how their fate shapes up when the await the Als to wrap up the regular season on the 3rd of November.

More background on the Argos/Bombers can be found here.

Edmonton at British Columbia

With the chance to secure home field advantage in front of the home folk, the Lions did not disappoint as they provided a reminder to the CFL West that any Grey Cup planning must first be travelled through BC Place.

The Eskimos were the message bearers for the West as the Lions had little difficulty putting points on the board and more than successful in shutting down the Edmonton attack.

The ease of the Lions success was made even more interesting by the fact that at the helm of the Leos offence was back up QB Mike Reilly, who followed a successful game plan to the letter, giving Wally Buono's rival General Managers to keep a watchful eye on the free agency date, when Reilly will become available.

TSN already had the guy pencilled in to the reborn franchise in Ottawa for 2014, however it would seem he may have already found alternate employment by then.

Such was the pace of the Lions game and the strength of their understudies that the focus was on such long off prospects, the cold reality being that the Eskimos could not mount up much of a challenge against the Lions B squad.

The loss perhaps provides the Eskimos travel agent a bit of lead time to work out flights and hotel rooms as it seems now that Edmonton will be grabbing the crossover spot heading to Toronto, Hamilton or miracle of all miracles even possibly Winnipeg by season's end.

The Lions will rest up the A team for the next two weeks with games in Calgary on the weekend and home field regular season wrap up party against Sasktachewan next week.

Edmonton wraps up the season with a road game in Montreal on Sunday and a visit from their provincial rivals in Calgary on November 2nd.

The look at the weekend work of the Lions and Esks can be found here.

Montreal at Saskatchewan

The Alouettes continued their march to the Eastern title in Saskatchewan on Saturday, taking advantage of the Argos loss the night before, Montreal  which already had secured their home date for the Eastern Final with the Argo loss, still came out with much in the way of finish with a hard fought 34-28 victory over the Sasktachewan Roughriders.

The game at times had an ugly side, with Shea Emry penalized for rough play and disqualified from the game late in the first half. It was not the first time that Emry has been penalized for improper behaviour on the field and it seemed to provide the tone of the game through the second half.

Montreal had propelled themselves to a 34-14 lead early in the fourth quarter when the Riders finally got focused on the task of the day, that of battling back to close the gap.

In the end, the game went down to the final play of the day, running out of options with the clock running out and Darian Durant buried by the Als John Bowman.

The loss provided costly to the Riders in their quest to secure a second place finish in the West, with the Stamps winning at home on the weekend the Riders lost out on a shot at second, now they will turn their attention to holding off the Eskimos quest to move up standings.

The Riders have a home date against Toronto on Saturday and then wrap up their season with a trip to Vancouver on November 3rd.

A look back to the Riders and Argos can be found here

Hamilton at Calgary

It was one of those iconic CFL vistas of old in Calgary on Saturday, snow and ice fog set the visual for an old fashioned knock em down brawl em out CFL contest between the Stamps and visiting Ticats.

With Calgary holding on at the end to secure the 34 - 32 victory, a win that goes a long way towards holding home field advantage for Calgary in the Western semi final of November and could prove to have been yet another costly missed opportunity for the Tiger Cats in their season of woe that has been 2012.

Played in conditions at the other extreme of the pleasure domes of Toronto and Vancouver, the Stamps and Cats played some old style football at McMahon on Saturday, a game that had all the elements (pardon the pun) of the CFL including the wild finish, which saw the Cats let victory slip away after a snap went astray in the usually sure hands of Andy Fantuz, resulting in the field goal attempt that never was, and something that sealed the Cats fate in the game and perhaps on the season.

While the missed three points proved the fatal blow, it wasn't the only problem the Cats had on the day, beyond the volume of penalties that they accumulated through the game, they joined a large group of teams that could not control the running game of Jon Cornish.

Cornish who is chasing down the record of Normie Kwong, had two touchdowns in the rough sledding of the McMahon stadium, the field conditions perhaps providing the best cushion for Normie's hold on the record all season.

The Cats can take home some solace that they made a run at the Stamps in the final quarter, but much like the way this season has gone through the year, it was a little too late to make a difference.

With Winnipeg suddenly showing some life again, the Cats find themselves waging a three way fight for potentially one playoff spot, with Edmonton actually in the drivers seat for the crossover bid, which would knock both Hamilton and Winnipeg out.

For the Cats, should they find themselves eliminated by the end of the season, they will look back at the missed opportunities of the season past as key to their fate.  None more so that the windy and snow filled landscape of McMahon provided for on Saturday.

The review of the Stamps and Cats can be found here.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

CFL Game Day: Hamilton at Calgary (Week Seventeen) October 20, 2012

The door cracks open once again for the Hamilton Tiger Cats, as they prepared for their Saturday match up with the Stampeders, we imagine that the Cats were keeping an eye on the television, watching with interest as the cousins down the road in Toronto continued to stumble, plummeting down the standings and giving the Cats yet one more life for playoff football this season.

Hamilton who have struggled all season to seize these kind of moments, could edge themselves closer to second place in the East with a win at McMahon Stadium on Saturday afternoon. With the Argos now on a three game losing streak, the playoff ambitions of the Cats once again flicker to life.

Whether they can take advantage of the chance though still remains to be seen, if past history this season is any indication, Hamilton will squander the chance leaving the East to be a race of the also rans, a race Winnipeg suddenly finds itself thrown into after their victory over Toronto last night.

Tis a muddled mess the east is, three of the four teams would barely be alive in the Western playoff race, in fact, two of the four will no doubt lose out on a playoff spot owing to the record of the Eskimos or Riders, the latter still inclined to make a run for 2nd in the West.

Something today's host may have something to say about, Calgary which lost its last faint hope for a first place finish with last nights score out of BC, will now focus in on making sure that they host the Western Semi Final, with three games to go today's scoreboard could dictate how secure a goal that will be.

When they take to the field against the Cats, Calgary will already know how the Riders fared in the opening act of the two game drama for a Saturday, either way, a win is a must for Calgary if they wish to keep their momentum going towards the playoff run.

For the West its a battle for playoff hosting rights,

In the East, it's the race to the bottom,  with Hamilton just hoping to still have a shot for the playoffs by the time the season ends, they can make a giant step towards that today with a strong effort and two points at the expense of the Stamps.

It makes this wrap up to the weekend's game the  most intriguing of the bunch.

Game Time 5 MT, 7 ET, 4 PT McMahon Stadium TSN

Hamilton 32 at Calgary 34 (26,502)

Pre Game Game Preview Video Preview

National Post-- Ticats' Henry Burris needs big game against former team Stampeders
Hamilton Spectator-- Ticats get yet another shot at redemption and the latest from Calgary
Toronto Sun-- Stampeders' Cornish gives chase
Calgary Herald-- Forgotten in the Burris hype: Kevin Glenn will also face his old team
Calgary Sun-- Henry Burris returns to Calgary

Team Backgrounders

Hamilton Tiger Cats
Calgary Stampeders

Post Game Game Review Video Highlights

National Post-- Stampeders ruin Henry Burris's return to Calgary with win over Ticats
Hamilton Spectator-- Ticats left with barely a pulse after loss to Stamps
Toronto Sun-- Stamps living and dying by last second opposition field goals
Calgary Herald-- Stamps win after botched snap on game winning field goal
Calgary Sun-- Stamps lock up home playoff date with win

CFL Game Day: Montreal at Saskatchewan (Week 17) October 20, 2012

With thank you cards mailed off to Winnipeg, the Alouettes, once again the champions of the east (thanks to the efforts of the Blue Bombers last night), can begin the process of resting up some of their key players for the Eastern Final.

Granted the next game of any real relevance for the Als won't take place until mid November, so they perhaps will wish to at least keep their players sharp with some play in parts of their upcoming games, but with the pressure off, the Als may not be as formidable force as had they been in a life and death struggle with the Argos.

That may be good news for the Riders, who still have their sights set on second place, the Stamps currently in their way will play later today, so Saskatchewan, should they collect a win over the Als at Mosaic today, can send their message to Calgary prior to kick off.

The Riders have been finding their mark in the latter stages of the season, as good a time as any to launch the climb in the CFL West, with Edmonton stumbling in BC last night, there's a chance to create some space for Saskatchewan with their Saturday afternoon game.

Someone in the West most likely seems destined to be crossing over to the East for the playoff run, a prospect that may actually be an easier path to the Grey Cup than the Western wars ahead, the only problem with that scenario is that backing into a playoff spot isn't as reassuring as moving forward, a win over Montreal today would go a long way in sending the Riders off towards the Western playoffs.

Game Time 1:30 PM, 10:30 AM, Mosaic Field, TSN

Montreal 34 at Saskatchewan 28 (32,003)

Pre Game Game Preview Video Preview

Globe and Mail-- Riders look to lock up playoff berth this week vs. East-leading Alouettes
National Post-- Roughriders host the Alouettes with one eye on the playoffs
Montreal Gazette-- Als in Saskatchewan without London
Regina Leader Post-- Riders seeking another win to clinch playoff berth

Team Backgrounders

Montreal Alouettes
Saskatchewan Roughriders

Post Game Game Review Video Review

National Post-- Alouettes offence comes out swinging in victory over Roughriders
Montreal Gazette-- Als play like winners in victory over Riders
Regina Leader Post-- Roughriders move into playoffs Ejected Als' Emry regrets putting team in bad light

Friday, October 19, 2012

CFL Game Day: Edmonton at British Columbia (Week Seventeen) October 19, 2012

The league leading BC Lions can pretty well put a stake through the first place hearts of Calgary tonight and as though to rub it in, they can use the Edmonton Eskimos as their dagger.

The Lions host the Eskimos at BC Place tonight, the chance to bring the Stampeders thoughts of first place to an end should they secure the win.

BC brings the most balanced squad in the league to the battle tonight, a solid offensive unit that while battered the last few weeks continues to put points on the board, paired up with the leagues best defensive unit, one which has only surrendered 288 points in the previous sixteen weeks of play.

For Edmonton, the course is a little different, first place has long been forgotten for the Green and Gold, instead, playoff survival has been the mantra for the last few weeks, having gone from a horrible surrender slide to a turning of the ship with two straight wins, the Eskimos still have their eyes set on third and with a few breaks maybe a second place finish in the West.

If nothing else, they could at least secure the CFL crossover berth into the East, an unusual path to the Grey Cup, but one which this season could be the Esks best bet to play into November.

Heading into tonight's game the Eskimos with 14 points are two behind Saskatchewan in the West but, four ahead of Hamilton in the battle for a crossover bid, should Hamilton stumble and the Esks pull off a victory in Vancouver, then it would seem a lock that the Esks at least move on to the playoffs.

A loss won't be a disaster, but for Edmonton a win would certainly be a bonus.

It would appear to be a case of which team wants to improve their station at the moment, for BC it's a matter of preservation, keeping their lead intact and securing home field for the Western Final.

For  Edmonton it's more of a case of desperation, though considering the woeful ways of the East this year, a path through the other division might very well prove to be the best move of all for the Eskimos, all they have to do is make sure that they find the wins over the next three weeks to secure it.

That being said, we're not sure that one of those wins will be found at BC Place.

Game Time 7 PM PT, 8 MT, 10 ET BC Place TSN

Edmonton 19 at British Columbia 39 (30,102)

Pre Game Game Preview Video Preview

Globe and Mail-- B. C. Lions keep roaring right along
National Post-- Lions receiver Arland Bruce can't remember collision that left him injured
Edmonton Sun-- Last place Edmonton Eskimos have first-place attitude
Edmonton Journal--  CFL's top dogs can't always be perfect
Vancouver Province-- Centre stage for the understudies with injuries to key players ...
Vancouver Sun-- Travis Lulay unsure if he can shoulder starting role against Eskimos

Team Backgrounders

Edmonton Eskimos
British Columbia Lions

Post Game Game Review Video Review

National Post-- Lions clinch first place in West division in win over Eskimos
Edmonton Sun-- Edmonton Eskimos downed by depleted B. C. Lions
Edmonton Journal-- Eskimos' locker room silence is deafening, deflating
Vancouver Province-- Reilly gets job done
Vancouver Sun-- B. C. Lions roster depth apparent in clinching first place...

CFL Game Day: Winnipeg at Toronto (Week Seventeen) October 19, 2012

Friday could be the Blue Bombers curtain call for the 2012 season, the math says that they still have a shot at making the CFL playoffs, the head, well the head says that's not a very likely scenario.

Winnipeg's season of horrors has provided for many a chapter through the 2012 campaign, there have been a few bright moments, some glimpses of progress, but for the most part 2012 has been a season to forget for River City.

About the only positive news to come out of Winnipeg this year is that a local hope, a guy named Rich Pope (who works for the Winnipeg Sun) will Kick for a Million dollars tonight, selected from a pool of over 14 million entries to the Wendy's promotion, to help his cause Pope apparently made 1,047 entries for Kick to Win.

As for the other guys from Winnipeg, the Bombers head into Toronto tonight, facing an Argo team that has squandered two home games now, the goal of taking first from Montreal fading fast, the goal of surviving until the playoffs now clearly job one.

Should the Argo free fall continue through October, there is every chance that the Tiger Cats could claim second in the east, a most unlikely scenario but a few weeks ago, even worse for the Double Blue, a losing skid at this time could slide them right out of the playoffs, what with a Western Crossover berth all but assured owing to the strength in the West.

The Argos hopes get a boost this weekend with the return of Ricky Ray to the helm of the Argonaut offence, since his departure to injury the Argos struggled, losing four of five games, highlighting problems that went a little deeper than just having backup Jarious Jackson moving into the starting position.

So, with that much on the line, one imagines it's not been too hard for Scott Milanovich to motivate the troops for the Friday Night Show, a chance to nail the coffin to the Bombers season at hand, the opportunity to very much improve their own playoff hopes very much part of the equation.

Game Time 7 PM ET, 4 PT Rogers Centre TSN

Winnipeg 44 at Toronto 32 (23,419)

Pre Game Game Preview Video Preview

Globe and Mail-- Veteran quarterback Ricky Ray returns under centre for the Argos
National Post-- Argos' Ricky Ray itching to bolster struggling offence
Winnipeg Sun-- It comes down to pride now for bumbling Bombers
Winnipeg Free Press-- Tempers have cooled since thundering, high hit on Buck
Toronto Star-- Argos can clinch playoff berth with win and Ticats loss
Toronto Sun-- Argos look for spark from Ray

Team Backgrounders

Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Toronto Argonauts 

Post Game Game Review Video Highlights

National Post-- Argos' errors allow Blue Bombers to stay alive in playoff race
Winnipeg Sun-- Blue Bombers triumph in Toronto
Winnipeg Free Press-- Bombers power past Argos 44-32, keep slim playoff hopes alive
Toronto Star-- Toronto Argos fall to Winnipeg Blue Bombers 44-32
Toronto Sun-- Panic time for Argonauts as they drop ball to Blue Bombers

CFL Regular Season: Week 17

Tick, tock, a few teams are on the clock.

While the mathematical possibilities exist, for a couple of CFL teams the dreams of a playoff appearance appear to be fading almost to black.

Winnipeg is the team most likely to be a spectator come November, having let much of the season get away from them, they now would need to win all of their remaining games and hope for some serious meltdowns above them for a chance for post season play.

Hamilton, inconsistency being their main enemy, could fall further off the pace by the month's end, or should the Football Gods smile upon them, their neighbours to the east in Toronto could free fall right out of the playoffs, a most delicious meal we imagine for the Cats, but surely an unlikely scenario.

As for everyone else, crossover possibilities and jockeying for position would seem to define the final three weeks of the season, this weekend perhaps offering up a change in landscape in both East and West.

Previews and Reviews of Week Seventeen can be found below.

Friday, October 19-- Winnipeg 44 at Toronto 32  (23,419)
Friday, October 19-- Edmonton 19 at British Columbia 39  (30,102)
Saturday, October 20-- Montreal 34 at Saskatchewan 28 (32,003)
Saturday, October 20-- Hamilton 32 at Calgary 34  (26,502)

Twelve Men Prognostications: Predicted Winners

British Columbia

Weekly Record

2 - 2

Overall Record

33 correct, 35 wrong

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Twelve Men Review (Week Sixteen) October 12-14

As the playoffs loom larger, it's the missed opportunities that may prove to be the biggest factor for success and failure in the quest for the Grey Cup this year.

Toronto and Saskatchewan perhaps are both in the same boat at the moment, having let much needed wins escape them, in the case of Toronto surrendering the Eastern lead to the Alouettes while the Riders now must keep a watchful eye on the Edmonton Eskimos who are starting to stir once again after their September long meltdown.

The Lions continued on with their march towards the Western Final, another solid victory over the very confusing (and confused) Hamilton Tiger Cats, a team which can't decide from week to week whether it's going to finally figure this football thing out.

The Stampeders kept their hopes of catching the Lions alive, as well as put a bit more space between themselves and the Riders as they brought the Bombers back to the reality of what a mess their CFL season has been.

Just a few of the plot lines from week sixteen

The review of the week is as follows

British Columbia at Hamilton

The Lions rolled on over another opponent this weekend past, laying waste to any ideas that the Hamilton Tiger Cats may have had to making a late season run at their Eastern division compatriots.

The Cats who from week to week morph from one extreme to another, one week a team that looks like the Grey Cup is an option, to the team that showed up this weekend which is decidedly not likely to making plans to play on Grey Cup Sunday.

The Lions offence led by Travis Lulay held onto the football for two thirds of the football game, controlling the play for almost forty minutes, scoring seemingly at will to the total of 37-17, a game which continued on Lulay's streak of 26 straight games with a touchdown pass, a streak that brings him ever closer to Sam Etcheverry's legendary CFL record of 34 consecutive games.

The Lions control of the play, left the Cats Henry Burris and his vast collection of offensive threats to but sit on the sidelines and watch how the defending Grey Cup champs take charge of a game.

The frustration of the Tiger Cat defensive unit perhaps boiled over in the first half when a questionable hit by Dee Webb forced Lions receiver Marco Iannuzzi from the game with a suspected concussion, the hit was quickly labeled a cheap shot by the Lions with injured receiver Geroy Simon in particular expressing the anger of the Lions with two a simple term on twitter that best not be repeated here.

The Tiger Cats, held off the offensive game as they were never really found a groove to work with, the few offensive downs for them for the most part were unspectacular, though they did find some room to score with their 17 points, but in the end that was nowhere near enough to turn the tide on Friday night.

The loss could be doubly troublesome for the Cats, who not only lose ground on the Als and Argos in the East, but face the very real possibility of being eliminated by the Eskimos in the CFL's crossover process, the Eskimos who have found their winning ways again as the final weeks arrive have jumped over the Cats in overall points, a situation that could send them east for a playoff date at the expense of Hamilton at season's end.

The previews and reviews of the Lions and Cats can be found here.

Calgary at Winnipeg

Any thoughts that some of the dedicated Bomber fans of a miracle season ending rush to the playoffs probably vaporized after the Saturday afternoon match up between Stamps and Bombers on Saturday.

Calgary made amends for some of their stumbles of the last few weeks with a solid attack on the Bombers defensive unit, aided quite a bit by a number of turnovers by the Bombers on the offensive game, a problem area that provided much for misery for the fans on Saturday.

Still, the Stamps couldn't quite put the Bombers away, Winnipeg made a bit of noise in the second half clawing back some of the lost points of the game, but as has been the case for much of the season, the prospect of success remained but a rumour by games end.

Joey Elliot wore the badge of  blame and with his 4 interceptions he probably was right in taking some of the heat, but the failings of the Bombers clearly run deeper than just the struggles of a quarterback trying to make things happen, sometimes with the anticipated result of the desperate.

The fact that the Stamps could put 32 points on the board tells you that defensively the Bombers had another problematic performance in their own end, nothing really new there this year, as a quick scan of the Points For and Against outline, the Bombers have surrendered the second largest amount of points on the season at 460, only Hamilton's defensive unit (481 points against and counting) is worse.

There are many things to correct in Winnipeg, the consensus in the city perhaps being that start at the top in the GM's office and work your way down the managerial ranks and roster positions.

While Winnipeg probably can start to contemplate how best to turn around this year of woe towards a hopeful new start in a new stadium next spring, the Stampeders have other matters on their mind.

The chase of the Lions may be out of reach after the Stamps let the Lions take then down a few weeks back, but until the final game is played there is still a sliver of hope to claim first, though the more pressing situation most likely is secure second place and at least the home date for the Western Semi Final.

They helped their cause on Saturday on that mission, with three weeks to go, they can focus on that project with a bit more confidence.

The previews and reviews of Saturday's Bombers/Stamps game can be found here.

Saskatchewan at Edmonton

They were good for a volume of seats in the stands at Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday, but the presence of the travelling band of Roughrider fans would once again go home from Edmonton disappointed as the Eskimos rose to the occasion and slowed down the Riders ambitions in the West for at least one week.

With Edmonton looking to reverse their horrid month of September, the Esks took up the challenge of knocking off the streaking Roughriders with 37 - 20 victory in front of a large crowd at Commonwealth.

The Eskimos picked up some steam in their quest for a playoff spot, the most likely path at the moment being a trek through the East with a crossover berth in the Eastern Semi Final, the impressive win over Saskatchewan moves the Eskimos ahead of Hamilton in Total points, a status which if it stands by season end could render the Tiger Cats eliminated and have the Eskimos chart a path to the Grey Cup through Montreal and Toronto.

The Riders stumbling as they did last weekend provided a shot in the arm for the Stampeders, who parley their win of Saturday, combined with the Riders loss into a step up in the standings in the West, the Lions still within their reach, the Riders a little further back in the rear view mirror after week sixteen.

The previews and reviews of the Riders and Eskimos can be found here.

Montreal at Toronto

For the second week in a row the Toronto Argonauts let the opportunity to punch their own ticket to the CFL Eastern final slip by them

The Argos who now look up at the Alouettes with a four point deficit, could have made a statement game out of Sunday's showdown with the Als, a chance to draw even with Montreal and hold the hammer for the run to the end of the season.

Instead it was the Als who did the hammering, sending the Argos to their second defeat in a row with a 24 1-2 victory in front of the Argos largest crowd of the season.

For the first thirty minutes it appeared that maybe the Argos were going to make some noise, all be it in dribs and drabs as the game got off to a low scoring singles festival.

Eventually Jarious Jackson found the end zone, to boost the lead to 9-1, though the Als would answer that and take charge of the game, for the most part built on Argonaut penalties that proved very costly and turnovers which sealed their fate.

It was not one of Anthony Calvillo's highlight reel games, he struggled quite a bit in the first half, the defensive unit for the most part keeping the Als hopes alive until they could make their adjustments and take charge in the second half.

Still, it's the two points that matter not how you get them and on Sunday, when those two points loomed large, it was Montreal that found the will to win, collecting their treasure and gaining some space between themselves and the Argos who now might want to keep an eye on the free fall they are in, with Hamilton looking for any motivation to keep their hopes alive, the prospect of catching the Argos and letting Edmonton eliminate the Boatmen could be about all that might salvage the Tabbies season.

Incentive like that makes the final three weeks still riveting for the East, not on any sense of accomplishment but on how best to avoid humiliation.

The previews and reviews of the Als and Argos can be found here.