With two weeks remaining in the CFL season, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have not clinched a playoff spot.
Either the Winnipeg Blue Bombers or the Edmonton Eskimos will miss the playoffs from the West Division – something few would have predicted five months back.
The Blue Bombers host the Calgary Stampeders this Friday and then travel to Edmonton on November 3 to play what could be a massive game against the Eskimos.
With Saskatchewan’s impressive 29-24 win over Calgary last week, the Bombers can finish no higher than third in the West, meaning there will be no home playoff game in Winnipeg this year.
Here’s how Winnipeg could finish either third, fourth, or fifth (last) in the West.
Winnipeg Finishes Third in the West
If Winnipeg and B.C. both finish 10-8 (each team goes 1-1 in their last two games), Winnipeg will finish third.
If Winnipeg wins their two remaining games and B.C. losses at least one of their two remaining games (there’s a situation where Winnipeg finishes 11-7 and crosses over), they’ll finish third in the West.
One Winnipeg victory and a B.C. loss in either of their games would also result in the Bombers finishing third.
Winnipeg Finishes Fourth in the West
If Winnipeg were to finish 10-8 and B.C. were to finish 11-7, Winnipeg would finish fourth in the West Division, crossing over.
There’s also a situation where Winnipeg finishes 11-7 and crosses over, albeit a complicated situation.
B.C. winning their last two games would have the Lions finishing 11-7. As a result, Saskatchewan would finish 11-7 too. Winnipeg going 2-0 in their last two games would have the Bombers at 11-7 too.
Since Winnipeg has the tiebreaker over B.C. and Saskatchewan has the tiebreaker over Winnipeg, the Saskatchewan-B.C. tiebreaker wouldn’t necessarily matter.
Official CFL rule has the second tiebreaker (the first is based on a team’s record) stated as follows: has the higher winning percentage in all games played against all of the other tied Club(s).
Saskatchewan owns that tiebreaker, sitting at 3-2 vs. B.C. and Winnipeg on the year, while B.C. would own a 2-2 record vs. Saskatchewan and Winnipeg, and Winnipeg a 2-3 record vs. B.C. and Saskatchewan.
Even if Saskatchewan didn’t own the tiebreaker against B.C. (and B.C. and Winnipeg were 11-7), they’d finish second in the West.
Winnipeg Finishes Fifth (Last) in the West
Winnipeg losing to Calgary and then Edmonton the following week would put the Bombers in fifth in the West, missing the playoffs.
A loss to Calgary would set up essentially a playoff game on Nov. 3 between the Bombers and Eskimos.
Although the Stampeders are on a two-game skid and without four starting receivers, Bo Levi Mitchell has a 6-0 career record in Winnipeg.
The win-and-you’re-in Week 21 matchup between Winnipeg and Edmonton is by no means a far-fetched scenario.
The Last Word
A Winnipeg win against either Calgary or Edmonton clinches a Bombers playoff berth.
As of today, the Blue Bombers could either play Saskatchewan, Calgary, Ottawa, or Hamilton in the West or East Semi-final.
While the Bombers could get help from the Riders and the Stampeders, their simpliest route to the CFL playoffs is to just win themselves.
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