Midway through the CFL season of 18 games, much is still up in the air regarding this year’s playoff picture. While a few teams have managed to get away to fantastic starts which should see them glide into the postseason, most others will be battling it out in the second half of the regular season, looking to punch their ticket for a chance at the Grey Cup. Luckily, six of the nine teams this year will be able to make the playoffs, so only three teams will miss out in the knockout stage.
The standings through the first ten games of the regular season have the East and West Divisions looking as follows:
The East Division
- Toronto Argonauts (4-4)
- Hamilton Tiger-Cats (3-6)
- Montreal Alouettes (3-6)
- Ottawa Redblacks (1-7)
The West Division
- Winnipeg Blue Bombers (9-1)
- BC Lions (7-1)
- Calgary Stampeders (5-3)
- Saskatchewan Roughriders (5-4)
- Edmonton Elks (2-7)
In the West Division, the Blue Bombers have been dominant this year, losing their first game in the 10th week. Winnipeg will only need to win a couple more games to guarantee a place in the playoffs but will likely need to keep winning most of their games to take the 1st seed, with the BC Lions hot on their trail. The Calagary Stampeders and Saskatchewan Roughriders seem to be in a duel for the 3rd seed in the West with only half a game between the two teams. It’s looking rough for the Edmonton Elks with a 2-7 record but they are not statistically eliminated yet.
The East has been the much softer Division this year with the Argonauts leading the way with just a 4-4 record. The playoff picture almost seems set in stone as the Ottawa Redblacks have only been able to win one game in their first 8, leaving them in dire straits to make the postseason.
The playoffs this year will be taking place over three rounds. The first round will be the Division Semi-Finals, followed by the Division Finals, and then finally the Grey Cup game.
Three teams from the West Division and three teams from the East Division will make the playoffs and the top team from each Division will have a bye to the Division Finals. The 2nd placed teams will be hosting the third-placed team in the Division Semi-finals.
There is an exception to this structure referred to as the crossover rule, where if the fourth-place team in either division has a better record than the third-placed team in the opposite division, then that team will have the chance to enter the opposing divisions’ playoffs as the visiting team in the Division Semi-Finals.
At the moment, there is a solid chance that the 4th-ranked side from the West will have a better record than the 3rd ranked team from the East, so the crossover rule may be in effect.