Toronto's final five regular-season games are against East Division rivals, with four being at Rogers Centre. The Argos (5-8) are tied with the Montreal Alouettes for second in the division behind the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (6-7).
Toronto hosts Hamilton on Friday and again Oct. 25 and will play Montreal twice before finishing its regular season Nov. 7 at Rogers Centre against the Ottawa Redblacks.
"It's going to come down to these last games and fortunately for us, we have a lot of them at home," Ray said. "It's going to be nice to be playing in the dome late in the year when the weather can be a little iffy.
"You don't have to go out there and worry about any conditions, you just go out there and play."
How much of an advantage Rogers Centre will be is certainly up for debate as Toronto averages 17,305 fans per game there. But Argos head coach Scott Milanovich said there are definite benefits playing at home.
"It's nice not to have to travel," he said. "Our guys are used to the surface maybe more than other teams and Ricky tends to play very well here."
Hamilton will also play its last five regular-season games against East Division competition. In addition to playing Toronto twice, the Ticats will take on Ottawa two times before facing Montreal at Tim Hortons Field on Nov. 8.
Hamilton is the CFL's hottest team, having won four straight and five of its last six. The Ticats will be on the road for three of their last five, not ideal considering they're a dismal 1-5 outside of Steeltown this season.
But they're 4-0 at Tim Hortons Field and would certainly be a factor there come the playoffs.
Here's a look at the late-season scenarios facing all eight CFL teams:
Hamilton is 5-1 since the return of quarterback Zach Collaros, who missed five games with concussion-like symptoms. But also anchoring the club's resurgence has been a stout defence that's allowed 104 points in the last six games and just 55 in the four games at Tim Hortons Field. The Ticats beat Toronto 13-12 in the first-ever game there, and Saturday night Justin Medlock booted six field goals in a 19-17 home victory over B.C. Hamilton's last four wins have come against Western clubs.
Toronto has won two straight, both coming against West Division rivals. On Saturday, Swayze Waters hit six-of-seven field goals in a 33-32 home victory over Edmonton. Four of the Argos' wins this year have come against Western squads. The club is 3-2 at Rogers Centre but must beat Hamilton in the two games there to win the season series. Ray has veteran receivers Chad Owens and Jason Barnes back but slotback Andre Durie (clavicle) is out.
Montreal (5-8) hosts Saskatchewan this weekend sporting a 2-7 record against West Division teams. The Als control their playoff destiny with their final four games being against East rivals, including two against Toronto. Montreal has won two straight and four of its last five. Jonathan Crompton has emerged as the starter despite having thrown nearly twice as many interceptions (seven) as TD passes (four). The club's regular-season finale in Hamilton on Nov. 8 could have interesting playoff implications.
Ottawa (2-11) snapped an ugly nine-game losing streak with a 42-20 victory over Winnipeg last weekend. With five regular-season games left, the Redblacks remain mathematically in playoff contention, but barely. Three of Ottawa's remaining contests are on the road, where the Renegades are 0-6. Points have been an issue all season as Ottawa had scored 69 points combined over the previous six games — 32 coming in an overtime loss to Saskatchewan — before erupting against the Bombers.
Calgary (12-2) hasn't let injuries derail its season. Despite the absence of such stars as running back Jon Cornish, quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell and rush end Charleston Hughes, the Stampeders are the lone CFL team to have clinched a playoff spot. When they resume league action next week, they'll have four games remaining (two home, two away), all against West Division competition. Calgary is 6-1 both at home and on the road this season.
Edmonton (9-5) was impressive in a 24-0 win over Saskatchewan on Sept. 26, then was flagged 18 times for 224 yards in Saturday's 33-32 road loss to Toronto. But the Eskimos are still tied with the Riders for second in West Division with two head-to-head meetings upcoming against the defending Grey Cup champions. The Edmonton squad will also face conference rivals B.C. and Winnipeg.
Saskatchewan (9-5) has dropped two straight and three-of-four since losing starter Darian Durant (elbow). The Riders will host Edmonton on Oct. 19 and Nov. 8, a positive considering they're 5-1 before their rabid followers at Mosaic Stadium. But the Riders have scored just 62 points the last four games with Tino Sunseri or Seth Doege at quarterback, with 35 coming in an overtime win over Ottawa. Saskatchewan's other games are against Montreal and Calgary.
B.C. (7-7) has lost three straight yet remains very much in playoff contention. Third in the West isn't out of reach with Edmonton and Saskatchewan meeting twice. The Lions host Ottawa on Saturday before visiting Winnipeg on Oct. 25 and then Commonwealth Stadium on Nov. 1. A fourth-place finish would most likely secure B.C. the third playoff seed in the East Division so staying ahead of the Bombers is imperative.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Winnipeg (6-8) was the talk of the CFL after winning five of its first six games. But the Bombers have lost five straight — including a 42-20 decision last weekend to Ottawa — and seven of their last eight. Their schedule includes two games against Calgary and others versus Edmonton and B.C. Securing a crossover playoff berth would be an advantage for Winnipeg, which is 5-3 against Eastern squads. Trouble is, the Bombers are 1-5 within the West Division.Suggest a correction