A few weeks ago, this writer wrote a column wondering if a 6-12 Edmonton Eskimos team could still make the post-season, with the B.C. Lions pushing for a playoff bid. Well, that premise is now out the window as a result of the Esks win in Ottawa a couple of weeks ago.
But even if B.C. were to win against Edmonton tomorrow, they would still need to win out and hope the Esks fail to beat Saskatchewan in either of their home-and-home series.
B.C. Lions’ Turnaround
The B.C. Lions started the season 1-10 but had quite a few close calls with top teams, namely Winnipeg, Hamilton and Calgary. Since then, they have won four straight. Granted, their opponents were not especially tough (Ottawa twice, Toronto) but Montreal is noteworthy. It still gives the B.C. Lions a glimmer of hope to storm back for a playoff push. But they’ll have to do something they have not done since 2013—win in Edmonton.
If Edmonton wins, they will be six points clear of B.C. with two games to play—ending the race. However, if B.C. wins, they will be two points back with two games to play.
That said, a team on a five-game winning streak that finally has some confidence against one in complete disarray that would be losers of seven of their last eight—who would be in better shape at that point? Obviously the former. But, the Esks would own the tiebreaker since they won the first two meetings against B.C. earlier this season.
The first two matchups between these two teams happened in weeks 2 and 5, and Edmonton dominated both. C.J. Gable rushed for 111 yards in the Week 2 meeting, which is a quintessential display of what they could have been.
But it will not be the same team as the one which will see the field this week, mainly due to the change at quarterback. Backup and now starter Logan Kilgore is the anti-Trevor Harris. Kilgore shows little reservation throwing the ball down the field and taking chances. The problem is he forces balls where they don’t belong.
Harris, who’s currently injured, is far more risk-averse but as time went on the offence became progressively more stagnant under him. Harris is the better fit for the team—if the team had continued to assume their identity they should have—a ground and pound team with a suffocating defence—just like what happened in those two games.
Gable, who’s also out with an injury tomorrow, stole the show in Week 2 and the defence stole the show in Week 5 when they held B.C. to six points in Vancouver.
So while the Esks could seal their spot this week, it doesn’t look likely with their current form. But Edmonton could also bounce back in because the Lions face two teams that are still vying for the top seed in the conference.
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