Very few people expected the Alouettes to be a playoff team this season and I think most people expected the Edmonton Eskimos to be much better than 8-10, but here we are. The Alouettes have been the most exciting team to watch this season, being led by the electric play-making abilities of quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. The Eskimos have been snake-bitten by injuries and have been especially hurt by missing quarterback Trevor Harris, who has been hurt much of the year.
This should be an exciting game to watch, so let’s look at the keys for both teams to winning this game.
Keys to Victory
Als Pass Defense
The Eskimos base a lot of what they do on hitting big plays and receiver Tevaun Smith is a big-play pass-catcher in the Edmonton offense. The first-year Eskimo is averaging over 11 yards per reception and can challenge almost any press coverage defense with his speed and ability to haul in a game-changing pass. If the Als can take away the explosive plays they could be in good shape to win this game.
Contain Trevor Harris and C.J. Gable
The Eskimos are a handful when both of these men are healthy. Are they 100% healthy? Your guess is as good as mine, but if they are the Als are going to have to score over 27 points.
Vernon Adams Has to be Vernon Adams
Adams is an electrifying player who brings energy to his teammates and the home crowd. The concern here is how he will respond to his first playoff game. If his 4th quarter performance is any indication, he should be fine when the pressure ramps up.
Run the Ball
The Eskimos will need a big game from linebacker Vontae Diggs who will be a prime factor in keeping Als running back William Stanback under control. On the other side C.J. Gable is one of the best if not the best running back in the CFL, and if he gets going things will be much easier for the Eskimos offense.
This is a tough game to predict with a lot of unknown factors. The Als should have a raucous crowd cheering them on and my biggest concern is the health of Eskimos stars C.J. Gable and Trevor Harris, but rust should play a factor even if they do go. I am taking Vernon Adams Jr. to put on a show in front of the home crowd and to be the difference late in a close game.
Alouettes 27 Eskimos 24