New Faces in the Hunt (CFL Midseason Report)

The CFL has entered the Labour Day period launching the second season and what many consider the real season. The saying goes that the season doesn’t really start until Labour Day as teams have figured out the kinks. Teams will begin to make their final preparations to make their run at the playoffs. There has been a power shift in the CFL as the usually powerful western conference has not been as unbeatable as they have in the past. The Western conference has two teams with a losing record while the East has three. It’s becoming more competitive as the weeks go by as the Montreal Alouettes and Winnipeg Blue Bombers battle for the top spot. In the west the Eskimos and Stamps are battling for the top spot in the west but seem not to be as competitive this year. Both conferences will be looking to make their last run after a number of changes in order to make it to the playoffs. The CFL this year has been full of surprises as two of the worst teams last year became two of the best teams this year.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers finished 2010 in last place missing the playoffs. This year they have ridden the best defence in the CFL to a 7-1 record and becoming Swaggerville. The Bombers have been leaning on their defence but their offence has also changed as Buck Pierce has remained healthy and remained under centre. They came out blazing in the season and have continued their strong play throughout the year and they are hoping that it keeps going into the playoffs. The Bombers have become favorites in the East but will have to get by one big obstacle in the defending champion Montreal Alouettes. The Alouettes have had an up and down season as they started the season looking like they couldn’t lose. They then lost two games in a row including a game to the Saskatchewan Roughriders who had not won until that point. They seem to be back on track as Anthony Calvillo continues to pursue the record books as the all-time football passing yardage mark is the only one he has not broken yet. The Als have stumbled a few times leaving the door open for the Blue Bombers to take the top spot. The Als have remained strong against their two conference rivals as they have been able to handle the Hamilton Tiger Cats and Toronto Argonauts. The Tiger Cats had high hopes this year but they have not been able to achieve these goals fully. The Ti-Cats are sitting at 4-4 and have started to recover from a bad start to the season. They are hoping that they can continue their turnaround and remain in their playoff spot. The Ti-Cats have done this with a balanced team that has a good defence and a good offence that both have the ability to win games. This includes very close games like their match against the Toronto Argonauts when they escaped with a 37-34 win. The Argonauts have had one of the more surprising season as well but unlike the Bombers they have had a surprisingly bad season. The Argos looked to be an improved team from last year but instead have been one of the worst teams in the CFL. The Argos have had trouble finding a QB that can lead the offence and will hope that the return of Stephen Jyles will give them a better second half of the season. The Eastern Conference has been very competitive this year and it looks as though every team will be in the playoffs, Argos may make it on the crossover, making the second half of the season very important.

The Western Conference has been the most competitive conference in the past years but this year, have been taken over by the Eastern Conference. This may be true but the teams at the top of the Western Conference still have a shot at winning the grey Cup. The Calgary Stampeders did not seem like they would have a hope at the beginning of the season as they started their season struggling on offence. The Stamps had the best offence in 2010 but could not repeat their success at the beginning of 2011 as the offence struggled. The Stamps have corrected this problem as Henry Burris has been able to get them back on track. This has allowed them to take over the top spot from another surprise team the Edmonton Eskimos. The Eskimos started the season much like the Winnipeg Blue Bombers as they went from one of the worst teams in 2010 to one of the best in 2011. The Eskimos won their first 5 games of the season with a powerful offence. The Eskimos have recently hit a snag as they have now lost their last 3 games dropping to the second spot in the Western Conference. The Eskimos will hope that they can start the second half of the season like they did the first half of the season as they try to compete with the Calgary Stampeders for the #1 spot. Meanwhile another bad team from the 2010 season has not made much of a change as the B.C. Lions have struggled out of the gate in 2011 as the offence was not able to perform like they could. The addition of wide receiver Arland Bruce has changed things in B.C. as their offence has managed to match the skill of their defence allowing them to win two game before the Labour Day weekend and bringing them out of the basement to compete for the crossover spot. They hope that this change will continue in the second half in order to win the crossover spot for the playoffs. Much like the Eastern Conference the surprise team in the Western Conference has given way to a surprisingly bad team. The Saskatchewan Roughriders are this team in the West as they are one year removed from going to the Grey Cup but have not repeated their performance this year. The Riders have fallen to the last place spot in the West managing only 2 wins so far. This led to the firing of their head coach Greg Marshall and the hiring of their former head coach Ken Miller. They hope that this change will turn around their season as they try to earn some wins to compete for the crossover spot. The Western Conference started out with the Edmonton Eskimos dominating but that has changed as Calgary has taken over. If Edmonton cannot get back on track Calgary will take the top spot but it looks to be a close finish if Edmonton returns to form.

There is a lot more football to be played and anything can happen in the second half of the season. Before the official start of the season begins take a look at what I believe will happen in the rest of the CFL season, including my Grey Cup prediction, with my Midseason Outlook.

Midseason Outlook:

Western Conference:

1. y-Calgary Stampeders (12-6)

2. x-Edmonton Eskimos (9-9)

3. B.C. Lions (5-13)

4. Saskatchewan Roughriders (4-14)

 

Eastern Conference:

1. y-Winnipeg Blue Bombers (14-4)

2. x-Montreal Alouettes (13-5)

3. x-Hamilton Tiger Cats (9-9)

4. x-Toronto Argonauts (6-12)

 

y- clinched conference

x- clinched playoff spot

 

Playoffs

 

Semi Finals:

Montreal Alouettes 34 – 30 Hamilton Tiger Cats

Edmonton Eskimos 38 – 28 Toronto Argonauts

Conference Finals:

Calgary Stampeders 40 – 38 Edmonton Eskimos

Winnipeg Blue Bombers 37 – 36 Montreal Alouettes

Grey Cup:

Winnipeg Blue Bombers 28 – 21 Calgary Stampeders

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  1. […] New Faces in the Hunt (CFL Midseason Report) (via The Sport Addiction) Posted on September 4, 2011 by cflheadlines The CFL has entered the Labour Day period launching the second season and what many consider the real season. The saying goes that the season doesn’t really start until Labour Day as teams have figured out the kinks. Teams will begin to make their final preparations to make their run at the playoffs. There has been a power shift in the CFL as the usually powerful western conference has not been as unbeatable as they have in the past. The Western … Read More […]



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