2016 CFL Playoffs: Stampeding to a Title?
[lead align=”default”]The 2016 CFL Playoffs appear to be the Calgary Stampeders to lose.[/lead]
After all, this team had by far the best record in the CFL this season at 15-2-1, picking up only their second loss of the season prior to the start of the playoffs. Now, the 104th Grey Cup is at stake, and the Stampeders wait to see who faces them in the Division Finals.
The West Division of the CFL was by far the better one this year. The East Division champion Ottawa Redblacks were just 8-9-1, but go figure, they’re a win away from the Grey Cup. Ottawa faces either the Edmonton Eskimos or the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on November 20.
Meanwhile, Calgary awaits the winner of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the BC Lions. Both of those teams are very good in their own right as 11 and 12 win squads, respectively.
2016 CFL Playoffs: Bracket
Calgary last won the Grey Cup in 2014 over the Ticats, and technically, that could happen again, though better teams stand in Hamilton’s way. For example, Hamilton draws Edmonton in their East Semifinal, a team that went 10-8 in the regular season and are the defending champs. In their two meetings, the Eskimos and Ticats split a game apiece. Most recently, Edmonton beat Hamilton at that very venue on October 28. Hamilton mounted a furious comeback in that contest, but Edmonton did just enough to hold off the challenge.
The Lions-Blue Bombers contest in the West Semifinal is the better of the two games from the perspective of team quality. These are two excellent clubs, but one seems to have the advantage. The BC Lions, 12-6 and with the second-best record entering the 2016 CFL Playoffs, beat Winnipeg both times they played. One saving grace for Winnipeg is that both games were very close, decided by three points or less.
2016 CFL Playoffs: Historically Bad?
Give a little credit to the Ottawa Redblacks for winning their division a second time in their third season of existence. Tip your cap to this team that almost won a Grey Cup last season. Marvel at how they are the only division winner ever to have a losing record.
However, just because no division champion has ever been so — well, bad — doesn’t mean they can’t make the Grey Cup. On the contrary: all they have to do is win a game, and they’ve been there before.
Meanwhile, whichever team wins the Winnipeg-BC game takes on the Stampeders in what should be an instant classic.