Stampeders and Tiger-Cats face off in crucial CFL game for both teams’ playoff goals – Calgary

Playoff intrigue pervades Friday’s game between the Calgary Stampeders and the visiting Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

With three games left in the CFL regular season, the Stampeders and BC Lions (both 10-5) are neck and neck for second place in the West Division and the right to host the divisional semi-final.

Hamilton (5-10) must edge out the Saskatchewan Roughriders (6-10) to avoid losing an East Division playoff berth to a Western crossover team.

« Technically it’s not like playoff football yet, but it’s also kind of like that, » Hamilton quarterback Dane Evans said in Hamilton on Thursday.

« Everyone on our team knows what time it is, everyone on their team knows what time it is, so I think you’ll see a really good fight this whole game from both sides. »

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Mathematically, the Tiger-Cats aren’t out of contention for second place in the East either, but they would need a slump from the Montreal Alouettes (7-8) to get there.

Hamilton lost to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the last two Gray Cup games in 2019 and 2021.

Click to play the video: “The new Gray Cup Festival app is now available”

The new Gray Cup Festival app is now available

After claiming an 18-14 win at home to the Roughriders last week, the Ticats are yet to win on the road or have a back-to-back win streak this season.

READ MORE: Massive win over Riders keeps Tiger-Cats playoff hopes alive

« They’re going to be desperate, » Stampeders quarterback Jake Maier said. « They’re super well trained and they have an identity and they’ve been in the Gray Cup for the last two seasons, man, so you have to respect that no matter where they are in their season and their record.

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« We have to start playing championship level football though. We have six weeks to prove that we are a championship caliber team and that is all we are focusing on at the moment. The weather is getting colder, the games are becoming more intense, so we’re excited.

Winnipeg (14-2) has already locked the West final at home. The Lions face the defending champions twice in their last three games with the other game against the Edmonton Elks.

BC won Calgary’s season series 2-1 and would be the highest seed in the event of a tie.

Calgary is coming off a bye week after a 29-2 win over the Toronto Argonauts, but it wasn’t enough time to bring 1,000-yard receiver Malik Henry (ankle) back into the lineup.

READ MORE: Calgary Stampeders sign offensive linemen Johnson and Murphy for practice

Shawn Bane Jr., who has had limited playing reps this season, is attracting on the outside. He had 129 yards on four receptions, including an 80-yard catch, in Calgary’s 22-19 win at Toronto on Aug. 20.

« I train like a game, » Bane said. “We are always competing against each other, like who can open the most and who can catch the most touchdowns. Mini-competitions within training, which keep everyone focused.

« I’m always ready. When an opportunity comes along, I try to be that guy you can count on. Don’t make it too big, don’t make it too small. Just be an even keel.

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Hamilton not only needs a victory in Calgary, but also the favor of the Stampeders who end the regular season with a round trip against Saskatchewan.

The Tiger-Cats finish with the same result against the Ottawa Redblacks (4-11), who have not yet been eliminated from the Eastern playoff table just two points behind Hamilton.

« The most important thing is that we have to keep winning, » Evans said. « It makes it a little easier not to worry about who beat who or who lost to whom. »

Hamilton running back Wes Hills and defensive end Malik Carney were impact players in a win over the Roughriders last week when the Tiger-Cats trailed 14-9 at halftime. time. Hills rushed for 132 yards and Carney posted a three-sack game.

Tiger-Cats linebacker Simoni Lawrence is off the injured list (knee) to play Friday, as is receiver Steven Dunbar Jr., who sat out the game against Saskatchewan.

Calgary’s Hugh Thornton shoots at left tackle for Joshua Coker (arm).

The Stampeders won a wild one in Hamilton on June 18, when Calgary erased a 24-point deficit in a 33-30 overtime win.

Rene Paredes threw a 39-yard tying field goal as regulation time expired and a 35-yard tying field goal in overtime to beat the Ticats.

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“We are both third in our conference. If you think about it, it’s an interesting dynamic, but I know they can play,” observed Stampeders head coach Dave Dickenson. “They have good players, they are fast, they are physical.

« This year hasn’t quite worked out for them, but they know they can beat anyone and we have to go out there and play a damn good game to win. »

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