BC Lions quarterback Travis Lulay runs the ball during CFL football action against the Calgary Stampeders, in Calgary, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

B.C. Lions look to cement CFL playoff spot with victory over Eskimos

B.C. can cement a post-season berth in the wild West Division on Friday night with a home win over the Edmonton Eskimos

The task at hand is simple one for Travis Lulay and the B.C. Lions: Win and they’re in the CFL playoffs.

B.C. (8-7) can cement a post-season berth in the wild West Division on Friday night with a home win over the Edmonton Eskimos (8-8). The Lions have put themselves in the playoff picture with a solid late-season run that’s seen them win five of their last six contests, including last weekend’s 26-21 victory over the front-running Calgary Stampeders (12-3).

The Lions are also 6-3 over their last nine games, a stretch that began with a 31-23 home victory over Edmonton on Aug. 9. By comparison, the Eskimos are 3-6 over the same span but did snap a three-game losing streak last weekend with a solid 34-16 home win over the Ottawa Redblacks.

CFL passing leader Mike Reilly returned to form against Ottawa, completing 31-of-38 passes for 369 yards with a TD while rushing for 72 yards on 10 carries. Bryant Mitchell registered 13 catches for 190 yards and a touchdown while league receiving leader D’haquille Williams had three receptions for 39 yards.

Back in August, Reilly threw for 302 yards with two TDs but also had two interceptions and ran for just one yard. Anchored by solid second-half play from its defence, B.C. rallied from a 20-10 half-time deficit to earn the victory.

The Lions’ defence didn’t allow a first down in the third quarter. Otha Foster’s recovery of a Reilly fumble set up Travon Van’s TD run that put B.C. ahead 27-20 early in the fourth.

Last weekend, it was newcomer Tyrell Sutton who was instrumental in B.C.’s win over Calgary. Sutton rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries against the CFL’s top-ranked defence against the run (81.1 yards per game).

As important as this encounter is to B.C.’s playoff hopes, it’s a pivotal contest for the Eskimos. They’ve played one more game than the Lions and while a loss wouldn’t eliminate them from playoff contention, it would deliver a crippling blow to the post-season aspirations of a franchise that will be hosting the Grey Cup next month at Commonwealth Stadium.

But let’s consider that B.C. is 6-1 at home this season while Edmonton is 2-8 on the road.

Prediction: B.C.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Ottawa Redblacks (Friday night)

This is the start of an important home-and-home series. Hamilton (8-7) has won two straight and five of its last seven games. The Redblacks (8-7) have had two consecutive losses but lead the season series 1-0 and could take control of this race with a victory. Then again, the Ticats can clinch top spot with a series sweep.

Prediction: Hamilton.

Montreal Alouettes at Toronto Argonauts (Saturday afternoon)

In a matchup of two teams that will miss the playoffs, James Franklin makes a second straight start for the Argos (3-12), who’ve lost seven straight. Johnny Manziel is still searching for his first CFL win with Montreal (3-12), which has lost four in a row but beat the Double Blue 25-22 in August with Antonio Pipkin under centre.

Prediction: Montreal.

Saskatchewan Roughriders at Calgary Stampeders (Saturday night)

Both teams have clinched playoff berths but are hurting and coming off losses. Yet it’s hard to imagine the Stampeders (12-3) not rebounding under quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell, 68-13-2 as a CFL starter and 38-4-0 at McMahon Stadium. Saskatchewan (10-6) dropped a lopsided 31-0 loss to Winnipeg and has been inconsistent offensively all year.

Prediction: Calgary.

Last week: 3-1.

Overall: 45-23.

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

New maintenance crew to look after Okanagan Connector

Acciona Infrastructure Maintenance Inc. will replace Argo Road Maintenance Inc. in 2019

Your guide to winter light ups around the Okanagan

From Vernon to Summerland, with a stop in Kelowna, we’ve found some activities for you to enjoy

Kelowna’s definitive Christmas market list

We’ve prepared a list of every market in the Central Okanagan

Council to approve borrowing of $6.6 million for new Lake Country fire hall

Council will decide Tuesday night if the district should borrow up to $6.6 million for a new hall

West Kelowna Warriors suffer loss to the Vernon Vipers

The Warriors offence couldn’t get any traction as they lose their second in a row

Trudeau offers to help Pacific islands face climate change impact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the leaders from the Pacific island nations on Saturday during the APEC Summit in Papua New Guinea

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Avalanche Canada in desperate need of funding

The organization provides avalanche forecasting for an area larger than the United Kingdom

5 B.C. cities break temperature records

Parts of B.C. remain warm, at 10 C, while others feeling chilly

Hodge: The long road to recovery

Kelowna - The first week of recovery I was too consumed in pain to notice the lack of fluid.

Letter: Teaching children to be compassionate is never a bad thing

Kelowna - Teaching Mandarin in schools? That gets my vote.

Letter: Homeless Kelowna citizens need help now, not later

Long term solutions are needed and government has a role to play there.

Letter: Election loss in Kelowna blamed on racism

For decades I have written in the local press about racism.

Letter: Peachland watershed issues being recognized

We heard that an integrated response between industry and government is required

Most Read