I think Sask might end up with the first round bye. With Nichols out and Harris suspended I can’t see the Bombers winning either game the next two weeks. Sask would have a firm grasp on the West at this point with a game in hand and the tiebreaker with the Bombers, who they will then face again without Nichols for a third time. Harris will be back but even though I think it’ll be close, a Streveler who can’t throw the ball won’t beat the Riders. Only other team I’d give a shot to getting a bye is the Stamps. Bo Levi will be back to a team that hasn’t really struggled (maybe just a bit in the past couple weeks), but they have now fallen a couple games behind and ground is so hard to make up. Also Edmonton I think is severely overrated. They can’t beat a team above .500 and when they beat Montreal they were struggling to find a rhythm. I think the Nichols injury will really hurt Winnipeg. I think they lose all 3 to Sask unless Sask has a key injury and lose at least 1 of 2 to Calgary making them 4-4 for the rest of the season. I see Sask losing to Calgary cause they just never have it against them, but the rest of the games I’d favour sask winning unless Edmonton proves something before their home and home at the end of the season. I could see the Stamps with Bo Levi winning out. Of course along the way there will be random losses for these teams out of nowhere and this is where Winnipeg and Edmonton would have to capitalize. Winnipeg when healthy is the strongest in the cfl, but without Nichols I don’t see them as strong as a healthy Sask or Calgary. By the time Nichols gets back, he’ll probably just be in time to face Calgary but that wouldn’t even be a given seeing as they beat Calgary last time when they didn’t have Bo Levi.
Anyway my predictions:
Bye: Sask 13-5 (losses to Montreal and Calgary) Ham 13-5 (beats East, loses West except 1 to Edmonton)
Home Games: Winnipeg 12-6 (losses to Sask x3 and Calgary) Montreal 10-8 (losses to Calgary, Winnipeg x2, and Hamilton)
Away West: Calgary 12-6 (losses to Winnipeg and Edmonton)
Crossover: Edmonton 10-8 (losses to Calgary, Winnipeg, and Sask x2)
I think it’ll be a really tight finish among the top 3 in the West. I could see Calgary win both vs Edmonton or Edmonton take one off Sask and Calgary gets the bye while Sask takes third. The reason I have Sask taking both vs Edmonton is because I feel by that point Edmonton would know they have the crossover and rest their starters. We’ll see what happens but I think the Western teams have settled into their roles and won’t let too many easy games slip past them.