12 Down – 6 Up

 If it’s true that the CFL season is broken down into thirds, than the Esks have, despite their overall atrocious 3-9 record, are making steps in the right direction. Slowly but surely, improvements have been made, but it’s only when you look back at the first two thirds, followed by a look ahead, can one easily spot the differences. 

The team was 1-5 after their first six games. Things were bad in Edmonton as the team had just fired Danny Maciocia and several untimely injuries had left the Esks in a bit of a lurch. It was after that Week 6 loss where we penned the following article contemplating how long the season might get for Esks fans.

The Esks, however, started to improve in the second third of the season. Sure they were killed in the three games against Calgary, but the team managed to scrape together two more victories against Saskatchewan and Toronto. Certainly not the CFL’s finest, hence the three losses to Calgary and the defeat in Montreal, but impressive enough victories against some of the league’s second tier teams.

Which brings us to the final six games of the 2010 regular season. The Esks will play a home-and-home series against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats followed by a trip to the west coast where they will take on the BC Lions. Following that, they will play their final two home dates against Saskatchewan and Winnipeg before wrapping up the season in Regina on November 6th.

With the exception of Hamilton, who they have yet to play this year, the Esks have lost to all three of the other teams that they will play. Of course, for those who like the view the world from the other side of the room, the Esks have also beaten two of those three teams with the loss to Winnipeg occurring on the road. What does that spell for the Esks? Well, it depends on how you look at things.

Win #1

Hamilton is a 6-6 team because they have been wildly inconsistent this year. They have won three games at home and three on the road with an equal number of losses assigned to both venues. They’ve put up big numbers one week, only to put on a putrid display the next. The Esks should have their number in at least one of the game given the Ticats season record, so that’s win number one of the final third of the season.

Win #2

The BC Lions, like the Esks, are an improving football team. They shocked the world last week by beating Calgary and now control their own destiny as far as the playoffs are concerned. That being said, if the Esks can beat the Lions, they will control their own playoff destiny. Playing an important game should always bring out the best in a team, and the Esks have the last win in the season series. This could very well be win number two.

Win #3

We’ll leave the Saskatchewan games for the end. Winnipeg presents an interesting opportunity for the Esks as the Bombers whipped the Esks in Winnipeg back in Week 4. The Blue Bombers, however, are terrible on the road this year going 0-6 to start the season. If the Esks can work that home field advantage in their favor, it could very well be win number three.

Win #4

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have yet to beat the Esks this season. No, I’m not forgetting the loss in Regina on July 17th, but it can be argued that the Esks beat themselves that fateful afternoon. Key fumbles by Calvin McCarty and Fred Stamps were enough to undo what was otherwise a pretty good game by the Green & Gold. If the Esks can limit their turnovers in one of the two games against the Riders, they could post a similar result to what they achieved on August 28th. Splitting the season series with the Riders would mean win number four.

Really???

Yes they can! Even though the Esks enter the final six weeks of the season with only three wins, they could very well win four of their final six games. The defense will have to play outstanding and create turnovers, while the offense will have to put up at least a few points. Keep in mind that in their three victories this year, the Esks have picked off 11 wayward balls from opposing quarterbacks. When you look at those numbers, and combine them with their opponents, the Esks should have a chance at winning four games.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Love the optimisim.

    Have to agree Hamilton is beatable, but they have also been showing improvement in areas they have been lacking. Cobb comes to mind. Glenn can be had, pressure him and he makes mistakes. Worry about the ” home field ” advantage, because thus far Commonwealth has not been kind to us. But then again niether has the road. Since I said last week the Esks would win two in a row, can’t change now. If they do in fact beat the tabbies this week, I worry about what their reaction will be the following week in the re-match. As I have said before, most of their problems are between their ears. Would two wins in a row spark them or bring them back to their ” we wil play in the second or third qtr. and not show up for the start “, or will they actually get it that they have a chance? Stay tuned.

    The BC game worries me. Yes the Lions are improving, but almost despite themselves. So many turnovers, cant decide on a QB, and far too many penalties. Unfortunately for us, we have been the tonic for too many teams with these types of concerns this year. Just dont know if the Esks have the ” kick them while they are down ” mentality. Plus our track record this year in games that could have separated us, has been to not show up until it is too late.

    As for Winnipeg, my thoughts are the same as for the BC game, except Winnipeg has a better running game, and stopping the run has not been a strong point with the Esks.

    The Esks always seem to be ready to give the Riders a game, whether here or in Regina. Have said all year that I dont think the Riders are as good as their record, and the last few games seem to bear that out. Dont think Durrant is as good as the Rider Nation believes him to be, so again, if we can keep constant pressure on him mistakes will happen in our favor.

    So if the Esks can keep their heads in the game right from the anthem to the final gun, they should have a shot all of the last six. At any rate I believe that they have to win five at least to have a chance, and one of those five must be BC. Lose that one and , the outlook is bleak. We will know soon enough.

    Reply

  2. Great points Sec.F.Bill

    The BC and Winnipeg games are must wins if the Esks want to make the playoffs. Lose those, and it could be very difficult to catch either team. The final third of the season represents a great opportunity for the Esks as they are playing a little bit of a softer schedule (no Calgary or Montreal) and match-up well against most of the other teams (especially Saskatchewan). Sure there are concerns with playing each team, but the Esks are last in the league at the moment and no game is sure thing.

    Thanks for the comments.

    Reply

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