The Toronto Argonauts are back from their final bye week of the 2022 CFL regular season. Toronto can be the first team in the East to set a playoff path in Week 16 with a victory this weekend. The Boatmen are preparing for a follow-up meeting with the Ottawa REDBLACKS this coming Saturday. The Argos can clinch a playoff berth this weekend with a victory and a Hamilton loss.
State Of The Toronto Argonauts Heading Into Final Six Games
The Argos have six games left on their regular season schedule. Toronto is currently 7-5, leading the East division by two games over second-place Montreal, with a victory in hand over the Alouettes in Week 1.
The Boatmen are 5-2 within the division. They are three and a half games ahead of Hamilton, with a tie-breaker edge in the season series (3-1). And the Argos currently have a four-game lead over last-place Ottawa. The Redblacks and Argonauts have split their first two meetings this year. Saturday’s game could give the Double Blue their second season series tie-breaker over a divisional opponent.
EAST DIVISION STANDINGS
A victory by Toronto this Saturday afternoon in Ottawa could inch them one step closer to clinching a playoff berth for the second season in a row. Provided Hamilton loses. Furthermore, it would better their odds of clinching another Eastern title. Which would, in turn, help the Boatmen bypass the first round of the playoffs.
The CFL today initially posted on their site and through the media that an Argos victory on Saturday would clinch them a playoff spot. However, Hamilton could run the table and get to 9-9. And Montreal could finish with nine wins or more. Unless Saskatchewan fails to win more than eight games, which is possible, Toronto wouldn’t be assured a playoff spot with an 8-10 record.
Although it’s been headed this way all season in the CFL. Barring a seismic shift, It appears increasingly likely that a cross-over team from the West will clash with the second-place Eastern team in the semifinal round. At the moment, Saskatchewan (6-8) leads the crossover playoff race by two games in the win column.
The Riders have a difficult final four games. They play at Winnipeg and Hamilton and then finish with a home and home with Calgary. So getting to even eight wins could be problematic for them.
The bar has been set. A minimum of eight wins is a potential playoff qualifier in the East, and Toronto can secure that immediately coming out of the bye.
Ten wins could theoretically net the Boatmen a divisional title depending on how things fall. A 3-3 finish in their final six games for Toronto, secure them the Eastern division.
The law of averages dictates that only two Eastern teams will be able to win more than nine games in the regular season, (Toronto & Montreal) based on how many games they have left to play. Hamilton or Ottawa’s best possible finishing record would be 9-9. And it can’t happen for both teams. Because they play each other twice.
Toronto Argonauts And Eastern Team Schedules
The Argonauts are about to embark upon a three-game swing with teams from the West. After facing Ottawa in Week 16. Toronto will square off with Calgary, BC, and Edmonton in successive weeks. Before finishing the regular season with back-to-back games with the Alouettes.
Four of Toronto’s last six games are away from home. They will play the Leos on October 8th at BMO and then will host the Als in the season finale on Saturday, October 29th. The goal for the Argonauts will be to host an additional game in 2022, the East Final two weeks after the regular season concludes.
Here’s the schedule for the other three East teams down the stretch.
Montreal 5-7: ( Six games remaining/5 divisional)- Friday, September 23rd, home vs. Hamilton, Saturday, October 1st, at Edmonton, Monday, October 10th, home vs. Ottawa, Friday, October 14th, at Ottawa, Saturday, October 22nd, home vs. Toronto, Saturday, October 29th, at Toronto.
Hamilton 4-9: (Five games remaining/3 divisional)- Friday, September 23rd, at Montreal, Friday, October 7th, home vs. Saskatchewan, Friday, October 14th, at Calgary, Friday, October 21st, home vs. Ottawa, Saturday, October 29th, at Ottawa.
Ottawa 3-9: ( Six games remaining/5 divisional) Saturday, September, 24th, home vs. Toronto, Friday, September 30th, at BC, Monday, October 10th, at Montreal, Friday, October 14th, home vs. Montreal, Friday, October 21st, at Hamilton, Saturday, October 29th, home vs. Hamilton
Toronto Argonauts Key Injury Updates
For those who missed it, last week, John Hodge from 3Down Nation did a phenomenal job breaking down all the injuries CFL teams have sustained this season. Hodge painstakingly goes through each roster to see which teams have lost the most key players/starters.
According to the study, the Argonauts lead the pack with 178 ‘man games lost’, the average comes out to 14.8 per game.
Unique criteria aside, For those who follow the Argos closely, it’s not surprising to find out that they lead the league, in a category nobody wants to. But the numbers illustrate why the Argos 7-5 record is more impressive upon further inspection.
Among the list of key starters, the Boatmen have lost or have missed significant time in their lineup this season are Running backs Andrew Harris, Javon Leake, receivers Eric Rogers, Juwan Brescasin, Cam Phillips, offensive lineman Peter Nicastro, defensive lineman Ja’Gared Davis, and defensive backs, Shaquille Richardson, Robert Priester, and fullback Declan Cross, along with starting offensive tackles, Trevon Tate and Isiah Cage. Every football club goes through injuries but Toronto has dealt with a lot of significant ones to key players. Over a dozen Argos starters have missed multiple games this season.
More figures could be added to the ever-growing injured list of the Argonauts. Toronto’s win over Ottawa in Week 14 came at a cost, with the team losing standout MLB Henoc Muamba (oblique strain), team-leading sack artist Shane Ray (knee), and starting RT Dejon Allen (back).
The bye week couldn’t have come at a better time for these players to rest and heal.
Toronto conducted a walkthrough Monday at Lamport Stadium, and the full-on practice schedule will start on Tuesday. So more information could become available during the week. But here’s the early word on the latest Toronto injuries.
MLB Henoc Muamba
Henoc Muamba hurt his oblique muscle in Toronto’s victory against Ottawa in Week 14. Oblique injuries can be tricky. Depending on the severity and the grade of the strain or tear of the muscle. Grade 1 is a mild strain, Grade 2 moderate, and Grade 3 severe.
The early feedback through sources was that Muamba suffered something close to a Grade 1 strain. A mild strain is something that can potentially heal with rest in a short amount of time, and a higher grade could take months of recovery.
Until the Argos’ medical staff makes it official and gives Muamba clearance to proceed with athletic activity, Argonaut fans will be rightfully concerned about the team missing one of its best players and leaders.
Henoc Muamba is having a fantastic season. The Argos defence is tops in the league in red zone efficiency and several other categories. And a significant reason for that is Muamba. He is one of the headiest defenders in the league, who is as assignment sound as they come.
Without Muamba, Toronto will have to lean on the promising duo of Trevor Hoyte and Jack Cassar. The two Carleton teammates held up respectably, replacing Muamba against the Redblacks. But there was a big difference in Double Blue’s defence without Henoc.
There are a handful of players that Toronto can’t afford to lose long-term, and Muamba is one of them. Henoc has 49 tackles and a sack this season. But the stats don’t do him justice.
DE Shane Ray
Toronto is already without DE JaGared Davis, who is on the team’s six-game injured list. They can’t afford to lose Ray. The positive news is that according to the team last week, Ray didn’t suffer any structural damage to his right knee. The second-year CFL player, Ray, is pacing the Argos with six sacks.
The feeling was that Ray could have come back in the Ottawa game in Week 14. But the Argonauts staff erred on the side of caution.
In the meantime, in case you missed it over the weekend. The Boatmen signed veteran NFL edge rusher Damontre Moore. Quite a coup for the Argos to fortify their depth.
In recent weeks, the Argos have added Ali Fayad and Brandon Barlow to the defensive end equation. Two very promising young talents from south of the border. Fayad is on the Argos practice squad. Barlow has transitioned nicely, registering nine tackles and a sack in four games.
A healthy Ray, combined with a returning Davis, Robbie Smith, and the new reinforcements, could further strengthen the Boatmen’s defence at season’s end.
RT Dejon Allen
Outside of maybe, Philip Blake. Dejon Allen has a strong argument for being Toronto’s tough man of the year. The second-year CFL player has dealt with back issues all season long.
Last year’s full-season starter at left tackle, Allen has toughed it out all season, starting all but one of the team’s twelve contests.
Against Ottawa, Allen’s back flared up. He had back spasms and was forced to leave the game. The bye week did him some real good. The early word is that he is good to go this weekend, barring any setbacks.
Because of his back injury, despite losing options A & B at left tackle, in Trevon Tate and Isiah Cage. Toronto has not switched Allen back to the blindside. Alen has taken well to the right side but is the team’s most athletic pass protector on the roster.
The Boatmen have been able to weather the storms caused by the injury bug all season. But to pull together and push through down the home stretch. They will need all of their top hands on deck.