October 9, 2022

Lions To Battle Calgary In Playoffs, Control Fate For 2nd

2022 BC Lions Football vs Calgary

There may be three weeks left in what has been a memorable 2022 regular season, but the BC Lions now know at least one major item on their November itinerary. Saturday’s 23-20 loss in Toronto combined with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers taking care of business against Edmonton means the Bombers have locked up first place in the West Division and a playoff bye.

As a result, the Lions and Calgary Stampeders will lock horns in the division Semi-Final on Sunday, November 6th. Where will the game be played? Thankfully, that remains in our hands. With both teams at 10-5 with three games to play, the Lions have the upper hand in the tiebreaker by virtue of winning two of three regular season matchups with their rivals from the other side of the Rockies.

The simple math reveals that if the Lions win all three of their remaining contests, they would hang on to second place and host their first playoff game since 2016 when they took down Winnipeg in a thrilling division semi-final. With the ‘magic number’ sitting at three, the Lions could also clinch second by winning twice and simply having Calgary lose once. Or one win and two Stamps losses and so on and so forth. Given Calgary’s big-game experience and the way Jake Maier has seamlessly stepped into the starting quarterback role, Vernon Adams Jr. and company know they can’t just rely on help from the out-of-town scoreboard. Below is a quick breakdown of each team’s remaining three contests.

Lions Remaining Schedule

Saturday, October 15 vs. Winnipeg:

Don’t expect the Bombers to take their foot off the gas after locking up their second straight first-place finish. The two-time defending Grey Cup champions will want to remind the Lions the path to the Grey Cup goes through them. With a bye coming before these teams meet in the final regular season clash in Winnipeg (more on that below), Mike O’Shea’s team will surely dress their regular lineup. This will be the ultimate measuring stick for the Lions on Fan Appreciation Night at BC Place.

Friday, October 21 at Edmonton:

It seems like an eternity ago when the Nathan Rourke-led Lions produced two colossal beatdowns of the Elks at BC Place: 59-15 in the season opener on June 25th and 46-14 on August 6th.  This contest will be the final one for Edmonton and the home squad will no doubt want to finish on a strong note. The Lions have not won in Edmonton since the 2013 season and a victory here could the difference in the race for second.

Friday, October 28 at Winnipeg:

The final regular season game comes in a venue that the Lions will be aiming to return to on November 13th. This game could very well feature some new faces for the Bombers who will be in the predicament of balancing both rest and staying sharp with another week off to come before the Western Final. Should the Lions have second place locked up already, it could look vastly different on both sides.

Stampeders Remaining Schedule

Friday, October 14 vs. Hamilton

A few weeks back this would have seemed like a mismatch on paper. All of a sudden, the 5-10-0 Tiger-Cats control their own playoff destiny after a gutsy 18-14 win over Saskatchewan on Friday. The Stampeders will be fresh following a bye week and are always tough at home later in the season, but facing a rejuvenated Ticat squad won’t be a cakewalk. The Lions will host Winnipeg the next night knowing they can either have essentially a four-point cushion when factoring in the tiebreaker or that they have to win to stay in control.

Saturday, October 22 at Saskatchewan

Based on those scenarios mentioned above, the 6-10-0 Roughriders are in must-win mode for their home and home with Calgary to end the season. Losers of five in a row since taking down the Lions at BC Place on August 26, the Riders can only qualify for the playoffs via a crossover to the East and must finish with a better outright record than the third-place team on the other side to make that happen. The Riders have dropped five straight as well at home after winning their first three contests at Mosaic Stadium.

Saturday, October 29 vs. Saskatchewan

The final act of the 2022 CFL regular season goes down at McMahon Stadium. It is entirely possible it could mean nothing for the Stampeders but as we said, help on the out-of-town scoreboard will not be taken for granted.

Matt Baker: