CFL News and Notes
Week 5 of the CFL season has come and gone, and things are starting to really heat up in the standings. The Labour Day slate featured three huge rivalry games, and Montreal put up a 50+ spot on the RedBlacks on Friday.
The Alouettes and Vernon Adams Jr. were clicking on all cylinders offensively all night in Ottawa, compiling more than 400 yards offensively. Running back William Stanback had his best game of the season, rushing 112 yards on 15 carries.
Starting quarterback Matt Nichols was benched after only five passing attempts by RedBlacks head coach Paul LaPolice. The RedBlacks have been abysmal to start the 2021 campaign and rank dead last in the East Division at 1-3.
On Sunday in the Banjo Bowl, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers went into a loud Mosaic Stadium and handed the Saskatchewan Roughriders their first loss of the season. Winnipeg dominated on defense, allowing only 211 yards passing and less than 50 yards rushing from RB William Powell. The Bombers now sit first in the West Division after Saturday’s big win on the road.
On Labour Day, Hamilton had a statement win in their home opener, defeating the Toronto Argonauts 32-19 in the Battle of Ontario. QB Dave Evans completed more than 70% of his passes for two touchdowns and didn’t turn the ball over once.
The Ticats have now won two in a row after starting the season 0-2. The defending East Division champs are suddenly back in first place in the East, as Hamilton holds the tiebreaker over both Toronto and Montreal.
Finally, the Edmonton Elks upset the Stampeders in Calgary on Monday afternoon. It was the first time Edmonton had won in Calgary on Labour Day since all the way back in 2011. The Elks prevailed 32-20, led by 398 passing yards and four touchdowns by QB Trevor Harris.
With the win, Edmonton moves past BC for the third seed in the West, which would give them a playoff berth if the postseason started today.
In a condensed 14-game schedule, the Stampeders are already at risk of missing out on the playoffs for the first time since 2004. Star quarterback Bo-Levi Mitchell is still recovering from a broken fibula, but Calgary will need their leader back soon if they want to salvage their season.
The 2-2 BC Lions enjoyed a bye weekend, coming off a road win in Calgary in Week 4. The Lions signed three players this past week, including former Washington Huskies defensive back Austin Joyner.
If the playoffs began today, Winnipeg and Hamilton would get first-round byes. The Bombers would play the winner of Saskatchewan/Edmonton, and whoever prevails in the Montreal/Toronto matchup would face the Ticats. The winners would then advance to the Grey Cup, which is set for December 12th at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton. The last time the city of Hamilton hosted the Grey Cup was all the way back in 1996.
According to BetMGM, the Roughriders have the best odds to hoist the Grey Cup at +325. The defending champion Blue Bombers come in second at +425, while the Ticats are listed at +500.