East Is East, but West Is Best This Year in the CFL

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East Is East, but West Is Best This Year in the CFL
Todd Korol/Getty Images
At times it seemed like there were twice as many Stampeders on the field as RedBlacks in Saturday night's 38-17 win.

Seven weeks into the 2014 CFL season, one thing is becoming clear: teams in the CFL East are no match for teams in the CFL West.

Teams in the West Division are a combined 23-9 while teams in the Eastern Division are a combined 5-19. In play between the two divisions, the eastern team has only come out on top twice in 18 games.

And it isn't like things have been terribly close in those games either.

Although the two East Division wins were both blowouts—the Montreal Alouettes crushed the BC Lions 24-9 and the Toronto Argonauts hammered the Saskatchewan Roughriders 48-15, both in Week 2—the West has been equally savage in their beatdowns of eastern rivals. Only two games have been decided by three points or fewer, with the West holding a commanding 548-352 advantage in points for and against in interdivisional games.

Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
The Argos managed to beat a western rival in Week 2 when they bested the Roughriders 48-15.

All five West Division teams have more wins and more points for than all four East Division teams—if the Winnipeg Blue Bombers were still in the East this year, they'd be running away with the division. In fact, three teams in the west—the Calgary Stampeders, the Edmonton Eskimos and the Blue Bombers—each have as many wins as all the East Division teams combined.

Some of this can be explained by having the expansion Ottawa RedBlacks in the mix. They've won just a single game this year, besting the Argos 18-17 in Week 4. Against West Division teams, their closest game so far was an eight-point loss to the Blue Bombers in Week 2.

And things aren't getting any better for them—the Stampeders never trailed in a 38-17 rout of the Rouge et Noir in Week 7 action, although Ottawa finally earned their first-ever passing touchdown in franchise history when Henry Burris connected with Wallace Miles in the third quarter.

But Ottawa only accounts for four of the 16 losses eastern teams have suffered to western opposition at this point in the schedule. 

In Ottawa's case, they're going through growing pains as an expansion team trying to find its way.

Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images
Troy Smith needs to consistently complete passes to make his Alouettes more competitive.

In Toronto's case, they're dealing with some significant injuries to key players, as receivers Chad Owens, Andre Durie, Jason Barnes and Anthony Coombs have all missed time, while linebacker Nick Williams is done for the year with a torn ACL.

Montreal is struggling to find a reliable quarterback since last year's retirement of all-time passing leader Anthony Calvillo, and former Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith isn't getting it done. 

And the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, who made it all the way to the Grey Cup last year, currently have 21 players on the injured list, including starting QB Zach Collaros as well as six offensive linemen and five defensive linemen.

Of course, all is not lost. If Hamilton and Toronto can get healthy in the coming weeks, they should see their fortunes improve significantly. Ottawa still has time to find their groove and pick up a few more wins. And if Montreal's quarterbacks can start finding their talented receivers, they'll begin putting points on the board.

But for right now, it looks like the Grey Cup is going to remain in the West for another year.

 

Follow me on Twitter @calgaryjimbo

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