After the first eight weeks of the Canadian Football League season, you cannot find a more amazing story than the Edmonton Eskimos. How in the world are they 7-0? With all of the injuries they have, how could this team possibly be undefeated?
Well, if you dissect the season to date, one could argue the Eskimos have had a favourable schedule. Five of their seven wins have come against the much weaker Eastern Division, and their two Western Division wins have come against the inconsistent British Columbia Lions.
The Eskimos will face a stiff test over the next month, as they face the rising Winnipeg Blue Bombers, the improved Saskatchewan Roughriders and then back-to-back games against their provincial rivals, Calgary Stampeders in the annual Labour Day game and then the rematch five days later. A split in this four game stretch will be successful for the green and gold.
The Eskimos are hot now, but every Canadian Football League fan should know that it is not how you start in this league, but how you finish. The bottom line is that teams that are 7-0 in the NFL are in a much better position than the CFL because one cannot ignore the fact that 67% of the teams in the CFL make the playoffs versus only 31% in the NFL. One can also argue that teams in the CFL are at a disadvantage in winning their division because for some reason they get off to slow starts when it is time for them to play in the Western or Eastern Final. The layoff simply makes a difference!
Lions’ fans should also remember what happened in 2011. That year British Columbia started at 0-5 and Edmonton was 5-0. However, it was the Lions and not the Eskimos who won the Grey Cup and it was B.C. that hammered Edmonton 40-23 in the West Final.
The Lions meanwhile will need to be better against the Stampeders this week than they were last week against the Saskatchewan Roughriders. A starting point will be to stay away from the Stampeders’ top defensive back in Jamar Wall. Last week, the Lions had a terrible offensive game plan as Roughriders defensive back Ed Gainey had a game of a lifetime as he had a remarkable total of four interceptions in Saskatchewan’s 41-8 triumph.