The CFL's Unpredictable Middle Teams

Steve ThompsonAnalyst IIIOctober 7, 2009

There are only two things for certain in this year's CFL: Montreal is in and Toronto is out.

In between are six teams taking one step forward and two steps back. Saskatchewan will be beat Edmonton and then lose to BC, which in turn will lose to Winnipeg that lost to Hamilton that lost to Edmonton...and the circle goes around.

Five teams will join Montreal and one will join Toronto. A lot of it could be determined by which team plays who and where.

Here's a feeble attempt at trying to assess each team's chances and please don't take my word and bet on any of them. There's too much murk here to make any reliable predictions.



The team has made great strides to respectability this year from the hopeless teams of the last few years. The main strength of this team is the improved play of the defense, and that the offense now has formidable weapons at receiver and running back. The main weakness is that the team is young, the quarterbacks are still learning, and this team doesn't know how to win.

Prediction: Could be the team that finishes out of the playoffs.



This team has taken two steps forward recently by beating Toronto and Edmonton.

Michael Bishop has made only one mistake in these games, throwing one interception.

The strength of this team is its defense—one that can win games by itself—and Fred Reid on offense. The weakness of this team is that Bishop is a streaky quarterback and the passing attack is pitiful and predictable.

It also has to play Montreal twice more and has the worst record of the middle six teams.

Prediction: A leading candidate to finish out of the playoffs if Bishop doesn't maintain his current streak.



One of the most unpredictable teams. One of only two teams to beat Montreal, sweep Saskatchewan in Regina, and yet has a losing record.

Ricky Ray can be unstoppable one week and then be yanked the next.

This hardly ranks with great Edmonton teams of the past. The strength is Ray when he's on, and the new-found running attack.

Shockingly, Richie Hall, who was hired for his defensive savvy, has a bad defensive team. The one plus in its favor is that it has two games with the horrible Toronto Argonauts.

Prediction: After the two gimmie games, much is going to depend on its two games with BC. They are the leading western team to miss the playoffs.



They lost so much talent in the offseason that they went from being a top team to this group.

Their biggest asset is that they've got Wally Buono coaching them, who can make chicken soup out of chicken feathers. The other strength is the running game. The quarterbacking has been mediocre and the defense has been susceptible to the run.

Much will depend on this team not playing another horrible game against Winnipeg and its games with Edmonton.

Prediction: Buono will get BC into the playoffs.



This team has the talent but should be better than what it is. I think it's the coaching. I wonder how good this team would be if Kent Austin were still the head coach.

Darian Durrant is the best of the new quarterbacks to enter the CFL but I think he could be better with different coaching. This team is competitive against every opponent including Montreal but some intangible is missing from the Grey Cup team.

Prediction: They'll make the playoffs—unless they continue to find ways to lose.



The defending Grey Cup champs are not what they were.

They looked bad in both games against Hamilton and somehow won without a touchdown last week. Like Saskatchewan, they are competitive against every team including Montreal. The only things that haven't faltered are the running game and the defense.

Prediction: Too much talent and playoff experience not to make the playoffs.


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