Don’t tell the B.C. Lions the final two games of the CFL regular season are meaningless.
Locked in as the third seed in the West Division, the club has a road playoff date looming against either the Saskatchewan Roughriders or the Calgary Stampeders on Nov. 10.
But with three consecutive losses, the Lions (9-7) are hoping to use the final two weeks of the 2013 schedule to right their wobbly ship in time for the postseason.
That dress rehearsal begins Friday, with a visit from the lowly Edmonton Eskimos (3-13).
“When you look at the overall picture of our season, we haven’t peaked yet,” Lions defensive end Keron Williams said. “We’re looking for the right opportunity, the right breaks to get hot.
“We’ve got the intangibles that make up a good team, but we just have to put it together.”
The Lions ripped off three consecutive wins before their recent slide, including two with backup Thomas DeMarco under centre in place of injured No. 1 quarterback Travis Lulay.
DeMarco managed the ball effectively in recording wins in his first two starts, but has regressed during the losing streak, throwing eight interceptions over that span as Lulay’s ailing shoulder continues to recover.
“I’m obviously disappointed in how I’ve played. I’m very hard on myself and I’ll be the first one to point fingers at myself,” DeMarco said after Thursday’s practice at BC Place. “I have a lot to learn in this league still and I’m going to make my mistakes.
“The biggest thing is we get two more weeks to get ready for the playoffs and hopefully I can play to my ability.”
Lions head coach Mike Benevides said the difference in DeMarco’s performances has been the 24-year-old quarterback trying to do too much when the team falls behind.
“He feels like he has to do more himself. He feels like he has to be on this upswing, that he has to make more plays,” Benevides said. “I think when you take a look at the first couple victories, there were clear elements of the ability to make the right play at the right time and not force it.”
It’s not just DeMarco who has struggled this month, as Benevides has repeatedly pointed out. The running game has continued to be woefully ineffective, receivers have dropped balls and mental mistakes across the board have cost the Lions, culminating in last weekend’s 35-14 blowout defeat in Saskatchewan.
Now, they have two games to try to get things right before what will no doubt be a stern playoff test in either Regina or Calgary.
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