The Calgary Stampeders have stayed on the same message all season long: This game is the most important. No peaking ahead to future games and no scoreboard watching to see what other teams may or may not be doing.
However, that approach will be put to the test this weekend.
The Stampeders will conclude their season-series with Eastern teams this weekend, when they take on the Blue Bombers on Saturday night.
Once the final whistle sounds, it’s off to a mini-tournament with their three Western opponents to conclude the regular season.
After this week’s tilt with the Bombers, the Stamps will host the Lions, then travel to Edmonton for the final Battle of Alberta of the season, return home to McMahon to face off with the Roughriders and cap off their 2013 regular season campaign on the road in BC.
They wouldn’t be human if they haven’t taken a peak ahead to that final flurry of games.
The Stampeders will also soon be faced with an interesting quarterback conundrum.
Kevin Glenn has been a very strong starter for much of the season. His stats, while not gaudy, have shown he is a very effective game manager. Meanwhile, Drew Tate is recovering from an elbow injury that has sidelined him for most of the season.
The team will have to wrestle with the decision on when to insert Tate back in as the starting quarterback.
Stamps General Manager and Head Coach John Hufnagel has been true to his quarterback hierarchy all season long. But is there a risk factor to starting someone who hasn’t seen much action this year?
Suffice to say, a big decision looms for the club.
One piece of good news for the club is the fact they are starting to become much healthier. Receiver Joe West, who has missed much of the year with a shoulder injury, is expected to return against the Winnipeg.
Big slotback Chris Bauman suffered a wrist fracture in training camp and has yet to play this year. However, he has had the cast on his wrist removed and is fully participating in drills.
His return may not be too far away.
The potential return date for a couple of other Canadians is somewhat murky. Perennial all-star guard Dmitri Tsoumpas continues to battle concussion symptoms and progress is reported to be slow.
Fleet receiver Johnny Forzani has been fighting a foot injury all year and his return to the field does not appear to be imminent.
The Stampeders enter the final few weeks of the season in a very good position. They are on top in the West with plenty of momentum on their side.
Their only recent stumble was a tough home loss to Toronto. The challenge, against many different factors, is to keep their focus. The evidence suggests this group of players will do just that.
Mark Stephen is Sports Director of CHQR Radio in Calgary and has broadcast Calgary Stampeder games since 1996. Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkonFootball.