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October 9, 2018

The Roughriders are headed to the post-season

The Saskatchewan Roughriders officially have qualified for the CFL playoffs.

The league revealed the news Tuesday, saying that Saskatchewan clinched a spot with Monday’s 19-12 victory over the Edmonton Eskimos at Mosaic Stadium. It’s the second straight season in which the Roughriders have reached the playoffs.

Saskatchewan has a 10-5-0 record and sits in second place in the West Division, four points back of the first-place Calgary Stampeders (12-2-0) and four points ahead of the third-place Winnipeg Blue Bombers (8-7-0). The B.C. Lions sit in fourth place in the West at 7-7-0, with the Eskimos in fifth at 7-8-0.

There are four weeks remaining in the regular season, so it’s obviously unclear which teams are going to finish where in the standings and with what records. But the CFL examined every possible scenario involving the West teams and determined that the Roughriders can’t miss the playoffs.

Saskatchewan could finish anywhere from first to fourth in the West, but that still means a spot in the post-season. The fourth-place team in the West is guaranteed to finish with a better record than the third-place finisher in the East, so the crossover once again will be in effect.

Saskatchewan is to visit the Bombers on Saturday and the Stampeders on Oct. 20 before closing out its regular-season slate at home to the Lions on Oct. 27. The Roughriders have a bye in the final week of the regular season.

The Green and White has gone 7-1-0 in its past eight games to make a move in the West standings and, as it turns out, to grab hold of a playoff spot. After Monday’s victory, Saskatchewan head coach-GM Chris Jones was asked if there’s pressure on his team to deliver in the latter stages of the campaign.

“There has been pressure on us all year,” he replied. “We’re here in Saskatchewan where you can’t drop a game. That’s what’s fun. When you get to this time of year, you have to play execution football.

“There are going to be some games exactly like (Monday’s contest). That mimicked a lot of the playoff games I’ve been involved in. They’re going to go down to the wire and that’s why you do this.”