The Toronto Argonauts can equal the league record of 16 regular-season wins Saturday night when they visit the Ottawa Redblacks.
The Argonauts (15-2) will also be using their final regular-season game to prepare for the Nov. 11 East Division final at home.
They are not expected to play No. 1 quarterback Chad Kelly, instead starting backup Cameron Dukes against the Redblacks (4-13).
The Argonauts had the best start in franchise history at 11-1, and set a league record by clinching a playoff berth with six games left in an 18-game schedule.
This is the first Argonauts team to reach 15 wins since the 1997 club that went on to win the second of back-to-back Grey Cup championships.
That team was led by quarterback Doug Flutie and running back Michael (Pinball) Clemons. Clemons is the team’s current general manager.
“When you look at the comparisons between the teams, there are some things that jump out at you, starting with the two quarterbacks (Flutie and Kelly),” Clemons told the Toronto Star. “Both are extremely talented, and different, but not as different as people might think. They both are accurate, get the ball out of their hands quickly, are able to bide time in the pocket, do those kinds of things. Both are great communicators with the rest of the team, in terms of leadership.”
Only one team has won 16 games in the regular season: the 1989 Edmonton Eskimos. That team lost the West Division final.
Toronto defeated Ottawa 40-27 on Oct. 14 to complete a 9-0 home schedule. The Argonauts edged the host Saskatchewan Roughriders 29-26 last week.
Redblacks running back Devonte Williams will enter Saturday 48 yards short of 1,000 yards rushing for the season.
Ottawa coach Bob Dyce feels his team has had a good approach after a bye week.
“These guys have had a great attitude,” Dyce said. “They’ve been locked in, so we come out here to work to be our best.”
Toronto ruled out 11 players for Saturday, including running backs Andrew Harris (knee) and AJ Ouellette (rest), wide receivers Kurleigh Gittens Jr. (hip) and DaVaris Daniels (back), and defensive backs Qwan’tez Stiggers (hand), Robertson Daniel (ankle) and Maurice Carnell (knee).
Ottawa defensive back Brandin Dandridge (hand), offensive lineman Dontae Bull (foot) and defensive back Deandre Lamont (knee) have been ruled out.