TORONTO — The race towards the 100th Grey Cup Playoffs are already well underway, with only one team – the BC Lions – having booked their ticket to proverbial dance.
Who will join them on the floor?
Kicking things off in Week 16 are the same Lions, who travel east to take on the Tiger-Cats at Hamilton’s Ivor Wynne Stadium.
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A Saturday double-header will get underway at 1pm ET in Winnipeg, as the Bombers host the Stampeders, while the Roughriders and Eskimos clash at Commonwealth Stadium just three hours later.
Finally, it’s only fitting that the marquee event of the week also be the closing act, as the Alouettes and Argonauts square off in a battle for first place in the East Division.
Equipped with the most up-to-date storylines, roster moves, stats, milestones and trends, enjoy this week’s CFL.ca Game Notes.
The CFL enters Week 16 of the 2012 season with two teams having the opportunity to clinch a home playoff game and two teams having the opportunity to clinch a berth in the 100th Grey Cup Playoffs.
Here is how:
– Montreal win = Montreal hosts a playoff game.
– BC win + Calgary loss = BC hosts a playoff game.
– Calgary win + Edmonton loss OR Hamilton loss = Calgary clinches playoff berth
– Saskatchewan win = Saskatchewan clinches playoff berth
By the Numbers:
Amazing Andrew: BC Lions running back Andrew Harris needs only 15 yards to pass former Lion Matt Clark for the fifth largest single-season yards from scrimmage total by a Canadian player, and only 119 to reach the number one spot recorded by Terry Evanshen in 1967. Calgary’s Jon Cornish also has an opportunity to surpass the Canadian record, and is just 141 yards behind Harris with four weeks left to play.
CFL Streaks: Several important streaks have dominated the CFL in recent weeks, here are a number of them in detail.
– The BC Lions stretched their CFL-best record to 10-4 last week with a divisional win over Calgary and now lead the West by two games. After a 2-2 start, the Lions have gone 8-2 since then and last week secured a playoff berth for the 16th consecutive season. The streak is the team’s longest since they began play in 1954 and is tied for the third longest in league history.
– Travis Lulay stretched his current streak of at least one touchdown pass in a game to 25. He’s only 11 back of Sam Etcheverry, who saw his streak end on Nov. 3, 1956 after injuring his knee on the Alouettes’ very first play from scrimmage. He did not return to the game.
– Luca Congi continued his strong comeback last week with yet another perfect field goal performance. He has now upped his consecutive field goal streak to 23 (last miss Aug 16/12 from 39 yards) and is tied with Dean Dorsey (Ottawa 1986-87) for the fifth longest streak in league history.
– Nik Lewis caught six passes for 77 yards last week to go over the 1,000-yard mark for the ninth consecutive year. That streak ties Milt Stegall and Geroy Simon for second longest all-time. Lewis has never had less than 1,013 yards in any season and has a reception in all 154 of his career CFL regular season games.
Can’t Stop Cornish: Jon Cornish needs five yards to pass Gerry James for the fourth largest single-season rushing total by a Canadian and 63 to reach the number two spot held by Normie Kwong (1955). Kwong also occupies the top spot, and remains 249 yards ahead.
Fred Stamps: The Edmonton receiver got out of his ‘slump’ last week, hauling in nine passes for 204 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Surprisingly, it marked the first time this season he registered over 100 yards receiving in a game, and the first time since Week 17 of last season that he eclipsed the century mark.
Saskatchewan Trio: Darian Durant, Weston Dressler and Kory Sheets have been electric for the Roughriders during their recent surge, each putting together standout performances in all three outings. Durant has thrown for 911 yards and six touchdowns in his last three games. Dressler has caught 22 passes for 355 yards and four touchdowns – eclipsing the 1,000 yards receiving mark in the process. Sheets, meanwhile, has ran for 274 yards and one major in his last three outings.
Joey Elliott: The Bombers pivot had a career outing versus the Alouettes last week, passing for 335 yards and a career-best three touchdowns in a winning effort. He’ll get the start once again this week.
Nick Moore: Making just his second start of the season, Moore made sure that QB Travis Lulay wouldn’t skip a beat without Geroy Simon and Arland Bruce in the lineup, hauling in five passes for 83 yards and a touchdown. With the two star receivers out again this week, expect much of the same from Moore.
Throwing the Flag:
The Toronto Argonauts are once again the most penalized team in the CFL, having been flagged 166 times for a loss of 1,472 yards. The least penalized team are the surging Roughriders, who have been flagged only 121 times, for 997 yards – the only team that is still in three digit territory.
Alouettes receiver SJ Green will miss his second-straight game this week against the Argonauts.
The Blue Bombers will once again be without QB Buck Pierce – meaning Joey Elliott will look to give the Bombers their first two-game win streak of the season.
Khalif Mitchell, Arland Bruce and Geroy Simon are still sidelined with injuries. Hulking DL Brandon Jordan is expected to get the start in favour of Mitchell.
The biggest move of the week arrived Thursday afternoon, when the Edmonton Eskimos released running back Cory Boyd and defensive back Ronnie Prude.
Paul McCallum 2,685 points: The Lions kicker leads the CFL with 139 points and has gotten to within 15 of the 2,700 point mark for his career. He is 63 points behind the #4 spot held by Troy Westwood (2,748).