I was very excited for my first Bombers game of the season. There were me and my wife, lower bowl, 50-yard line for the Bombers and Eskimos. Two 3-and-0 teams squaring off, both amazing stories as they rebounded from being the two worst teams last season.
That night the Bombers were dominated 26-3 in an uninteresting affair. I left the stadium with pangs of ‘Oh boy, that doesn’t bode well.’
It was just one game, and the bad feeling subsided as the Bombers ran their record to 5-and-1. Since then, those pangs have returned.
They have won one in their last four. And I came to the realization today: the Bombers are going to miss the playoffs.
Here’s the numbers that lead me to this belief, starting with the current standings:
|Standings as of Sept. 4|
One of the West teams looks certain to cross over and take a playoff spot in the East. Another West team will miss the playoffs entirely, despite currently having a record 2.5 games better than East-leading Toronto. The East is bad this year.
Of the Bombers six wins, five have come against teams from the East. Being in the West Division, that leaves many tough games for the Bombers final eight.
Here’s the combined record of each team’s remaining opponents:
As you see, the Bombers have the toughest remaining schedule. It will seem easier as weeks go on as West teams beat other West teams. But the numbers don’t lie. The Bombers have a brutal schedule down the stretch. Especially the final four weeks:
In the West standings, the Bombers (6-4) are a half game ahead of Lions (5-4). Seeing that, let’s assume those two teams will jockey for the crossover playoff spot.
When you look at the opponents they have played so far, the Bombers have had a much easier road. The Bombers opponents to date are a combined 39-52. The Lions opponents: 44-38.
Even more goes against The Bombers. They have six common fixtures with the Lions so far (at Montreal, vs. Edmonton, vs. Saskatchewan, at Toronto, vs. Montreal and at Saskatchewan). Their performance in those games:
|Team||Record||Pts for||Pts against|
The record is close, but the disparity in points for/against is alarming.
The Bombers deserve credit for their amazing comeback wins this season. But think of who they had to make them against. There was the 75-yard last-minute drive to beat (now 2-7) Montreal, and the 94-yard drive to escape the (now 2-6) Tiger-Cats. They were amazing and gutsy drives, but they mean the Bombers barely beat two poor teams.
There is one statistic that is very much in the Bombers favour: head-to-head record vs. the Lions. The Bombers won this season’s meeting handily, 23-6, despite being completely unable to run the ball. Their next two match-ups this season may well determine who’s in and who’s out.
My bet is that the Bombers are out.