Friday, September 19, 2014

Playoff Outlook - Week 13

It's week 13, every team has played every other team, and for some teams, there are only 6 games left on the schedule.  Time to take a look at the playoff picture.

The Wild West

BC Lions
Current Record: 7-4
Games Remaining: 7
Opponent Win Percentage: 0.539 (5th hardest, easiest in West)
Road Games: 4
Division Games: 4

The bad news for the Lions is they drew one of the short straws this year, and have to face the Stampeders 2 more times this season.  The good news is that the remaining 5 games come against teams with a combined record of 21-33, which would rank as the 3rd easiest opponent schedule. They currently sit in 4th position, but a strong finish and a road win in Edmonton could get them the 2nd seed.

Key games: Week 19 @ EDM
Projected finish: 10-8 (3-4), 3rd in West

Calgary Stampeders
Current Record: 10-1
Games Remaining: 7
Opponent Win Percentage: 0.570 (3rd hardest in league, 3rd easiest in West)
Road Games: 4
Division Games: 6

Can anyone beat the Stamps?  With Bo Levi Mitchell done for a least the immediate future, the task looks a little less daunting, but with Drew Tate under center the Calgary quarterbacking situation isn't exactly hurting.  The Stampeders have more West Division opponents on the schedule than any other team, but they are in the driver's seat with 7 games to go and no obvious losses on the horizon.  Even if they go 0-3 on the road vs division rivals, a playoff bye as the #1 seed looks all but wrapped up.

Key game(s): Week 14 vs BC, Week 20 @ BC.
Projected finish: 15-3 (5-2), 1st in the West.

Edmonton Eskimos
Current Record: 8-3
Games Remaining: 7
Opponent Win Percentage: 0.558 (4th hardest in league, 2nd easiest in West)
Road Games: 4
Division Games: 5

The Eskimos are undefeated this year, if you don't count games against those pesky Stampeders. Fortunately for Edmonton, they won't face Calgary again unless it's in the playoffs. With 3 games against the quarterback-less Riders on the schedule, and a game in hand against BC, the Eskimos are have the second seed in their sights, but they will probably need another win against BC and at least 2 of 3 against the Riders.

Key game(s): Week 14 vs SSK, Week 17 @ SSK, Week 19 vs BC
Projected finish: 13-5 (5-2), 2nd in West

Saskatchewan Roughriders
Current Record: 8-3
Games Remaining: 7
Opponent Win Percentage: 0.632 (hardest in league)
Road Games: 3
Division Games: 5

The Riders sit in 3rd place currently (Edmonton holds the tie-breaker on points at the moment), but they need to find a quarterback in a hurry or they'll quickly find themselves on the outside looking in. Three games against a strong Edmonton team loom on the horizon, but two are at home, and a strong showing can propel them to a home playoff game in the West semis.  The good news is that a season sweep of the Bombers gives them the 4th place tie-break if necessary, in a year where a possible cross-over looks appealing.

Key game(s): Week 14 @ EDM, Week 17 vs EDM, Week 20 vs EDM
Projected finish: 9-9 (1-6), 4th in West (cross-over)

Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Current Record: 6-6
Games Remaining: 6
Opponent Win Percentage: 0.609 (2nd hardest in West)
Road Games: 3
Division Games: 4

Three losses to the arch-rival Roughriders has crushed what looked like a very promising season for a surprising Blue Bomber team.  With the second hardest schedule in the West and the fewest games remaining, the Bombers need some help from the teams they are chasing.  While they can't win a tie-break with the Riders, wins against BC and Edmonton would still give them a chance.

Key game(s): Week 16 @ EDM, Week 18 vs BC
Projected finish: 9-9 (3-3), 5th in West

The Erratic East

Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Current Record: 3-7
Games Remaining: 8
Opponent Win Percentage: 0.368 (easiest in league)
Road Games: 4
Division Games: 5

Finally, the Eastern teams get to play each other and this ugly win-loss discrepancy with the West will start to even out.  The Tiger-Cats currently sit in the 1st seed in the East, and are looking at the easiest schedule in the league down the stretch.  The Argos are just below them though, and face the 2nd easiest, so their head to head matchups will likely determine the outcome of the East.

Key game(s): Week 16 @ TOR, Week 18 @ TOR
Projected finish: 6-12 (3-5), 2nd in East

Toronto Argonauts
Current Record: 3-8
Games Remaining: 7
Opponent Win Percentage: 0.378 (2nd easiest in league, 2nd easiest in East)
Road Games: 2
Division Games: 5

Toronto has the second easiest schedule down the stretch, and the fewest road games of any team. If Owens and the rest of the receiving corps can stay healthy for Ricky Ray, Toronto looks to be the team to beat in the East.

Key game(s): Week 16 vs HAM, Week 17 vs MTL, Week 18 vs HAM
Projected finish: 8-10 (5-2), 1st in East

Ottawa RedBlacks
Current Record: 1-9
Games Remaining: 8
Opponent Win Percentage: 0.414 (4th easiest in league, hardest in East)
Road Games: 3
Division Games: 5

The Expansion Blues are no joke, as Ottawa fans are finding out, and with the most difficult schedule in the East ahead, it doesn't look good for the Lumberjacks.  Wins against their Quebecois neighbours give them a real shot at 3rd place, but in a down year for the East, that doesn't look like it will be enough for a playoff spot.  The RedBlacks need at least 5 wins to have a shot, and to win a tie breaker with Hamilton they'll need to win both matchups.  It's must-win from here on out.

Key game(s): Week 14 vs MTL, Week 15 @ HAM, Week 18 vs MTL, Week 19 vs HAM.
Projected finish: 3-15 (2-6), last in East

Montreal Alouettes
Current Record: 3-8
Games Remaining: 7
Opponent Win Percentage: 0.392 (3rd easiest in league, 2nd hardest in East)
Road Games: 4
Division Games: 5

With 2 wins in their last 3, and one against Hamilton, the Alouettes have a good chance at keeping their playoff streak alive, but only if they can keep up their success against division rivals.  Four road games will make that a tall order, but with a game in hand against Hamilton, a week 20 matchup on the road may decide the 2nd seed in the East and what appears to be the last spot in the playoffs.

Key game(s): Week 17 @ TOR, Week 19 vs TOR, Week 20 @ HAM
Projected finish: 5-13 (2-5), 3rd in East (eliminated due to West cross-over)

Filling in the blanks for TSN's Field position article

On September 18th, Paul LaPolice wrote this great article for TSN, which breaks down some of the scoring data across the CFL this year.  It's a good read, if you haven't checked it out yet, take a moment and do so, I'll wait here.

The one downside to this article was that Mr. LaPolice opted to trim his tables down to highlight only a subset of teams in each table.

Using the Drive Search feature on, I will fill in the rest for those who are interested. Please note that because I do not have direct access to the stats that TSN uses, my numbers are slightly different. I can't explain these discrepancies, as I'm confident in the accuracy of my data.  It's possible that in some cases, our criteria for certain cases is different, for example the total number of possessions (TSN cites 1497 possessions, while my data includes 1485.)  Whatever the reason for these discrepancies, they constitute a very small portion of the data and do not change the overall trends of the results.

For each of these datasets, if you click the link to the underlying search, you'll be able to view the stats from the defensive perspective (which team allows the highest TD percentage, etc), as well as each individual drive that matched the results.

Touchdown Percentage

Tm G Possessions TD Pct
CGY 11 163 34 21%
WPG 12 178 25 14%
EDM 11 171 23 13%
TOR 11 173 23 13%
SSK 11 161 19 12%
BC 11 169 19 11%
HAM 10 156 17 11%
MTL 11 169 13 8%
ORB 10 145 11 8%
Total 98 1485 184 12%

Drives starting inside your own 20 yard line

There is a slight semantic difference in the search here - "inside the 20" on the drive finder includes the 20 yard line, while the TSN data does not.  The actual search results presented here from is "Drives inside own 19".  That said, the TSN article may mixing the two data sets, as they claim a 21% TD rate for the Stamps, which is correct if I include the 20 yard line, but a 0% rate for the Riders, which is only correct if I omit the 20 yard line.  The issue here may be that TSN's source tracks the starting line of scrimmage independently from the CFL's scoring, which is what's stats are based off of.

Tm G Possessions TDs Pct
CGY 10 32 6 19%
MTL 10 21 3 14%
WPG 11 30 4 13%
BC 10 21 2 10%
ORB 9 20 2 10%
TOR 11 33 3 9%
EDM 10 24 2 8%
HAM 9 29 1 3%
SSK 10 25 0 0%
Total 90 235 23 10%

Drives starting from own 21-49

I don't have a good search for this one, I had to search for drives within own 49 and remove the data from drives within own 20.  Even still, my numbers are quite different from TSN's here.

Tm G #Dr TDs Pct
BC 11 118 11 9%
CGY 11 86 16 19%
EDM 11 112 11 10%
HAM 10 95 12 13%
MTL 11 124 6 5%
ORB 10 105 6 6%
SSK 11 104 6 6%
TOR 11 110 10 9%
WPG 12 110 16 15%
Total 98 964 94 10%

Starting from Opponent's End

I'd very much like to see TSN's source data on this one to compare, because they or I have a big error (or Mr. LaPolice made a mistake in this section).  There are minor discrepancies here such as the article crediting the Riders with 9 touchdowns on 21 possessions, vs my data showing 8 touchdowns on 21 possessions, but the big one here is Toronto, which isn't included in the article's data.  The article claims that the Riders lead the league with a 43% TD rate, but according to my data, Toronto is way ahead of the pack at 53%.

Tm G #Dr TD Pct
BC 11 21 5 24%
CGY 9 30 12 40%
EDM 9 26 9 35%
HAM 9 20 3 15%
MTL 8 15 2 13%
ORB 7 10 2 20%
SSK 8 21 8 38%
TOR 9 17 9 53%
WPG 11 25 5 20%
Total 81 185 55 30%