To mangle a Lloyd Christmas line from the timeless classic Dumb and Dumber: What do you think the chances are of a team like the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the CFL post-season ending up together?
Not good, we know.
But not good like 'one in a hundred' or not good like 'one in a million?'
Don't answer that.
Given the recent state of things, it's hard to fathom cheering for the Bombers into the second weekend of November. The club has two wins in 10 games and is on another three-game losing streak, but because it's never over until it's over in the CFL -- even during these dark Blue times -- they still have a sliver of hope as it pertains to the playoffs.
Let's examine just how long the shot is for the Bombers grabbing an invite to the post-season ball:
- 1. Who's left on the schedule? -- The Bombers have eight games remaining; four at home and four on the road. Oddly enough, they only see four more teams: Calgary, Hamilton, Toronto and Montreal (with dates both home and away against these clubs). Optimism in River City starts with the six games against East Division opponents. Winnipeg sits at 2-8 and in last spot in the division, a game back of Hamilton (3-7) and four back of the leaders in Toronto and Montreal (both 6-4). Yeah, those could be important.
- 2. Realistically, how many wins are out there? -- Winnipeg hasn't won in Calgary since 2002, so throw that one out the window, and is 0-2 against the Alouettes this year. The Argos are playing decent football, so no gimmies there, either. Some good news: Hamilton is in a free-fall, highlighting those games as must-wins for Winnipeg. The inconsistent Bombers could win all their games or they could lose all their games. What's the best guess? Well, factoring in their overall play, the poor showing against the superior West Division (they're averaging just 15 points a contest through a 1-5 record) and the 0-5 road mark to this point, let's be generous and give Winnipeg four wins -- two against Hamilton, one versus Montreal and one versus Toronto -- the rest of the way.
- 3. Will that be enough to get them in? -- Given Hamilton's downward spiral, four wins for the Bombers should be plenty for the third and final playoff spot in the division. Sense a 'but' coming? Here it is: The reality of the situation shows a much bleaker picture. The lowly East Division has opened itself for a crossover invasion, as both Edmonton and Saskatchewan -- the last-place clubs in the West Division -- have 5-5 records and a nice head start over the Bombers and Ticats. Crossover candidates must finish with more points than the teams in the other division. Winnipeg has no games left against these clubs; if the Eskimos and Stampeders keep winning, the Bombers are doomed. Help is required.
- 4. Of the clubs looking for the last two post-season spots, who has the toughest road? Combined record of remaining opponents: Winnipeg: 42-38; Hamilton: 39-41; Saskatchewan: 49-31; Edmonton: 43-37. Quick take: Winnipeg and Edmonton have similar degree of difficulties, while the Riders have a brutal stretch (four games left against B.C. and Montreal). Blue and Gold fans will be thrilled to see Hamilton has the easiest schedule, on the strength of seeing the Bombers two more times.
- 5. What do the cold, hard numbers say? According to the statistical oasis that is Sports Club Stats (sportsclubstats.com), the Bombers had an 18.1 per cent chance of making the playoffs heading into the Banjo Bowl.
After the crushing 25-24 loss to the Riders, the likelihood dropped to 2.8 per cent.
Yes, Bomber fans, as slim as it is, we're telling you there's a chance.
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