It was a tough start to the playoffs for home teams last week. It was also a tough start to the playoffs for me as I went 0-2 both straight up and against the spread. This week there is one unconventional battle and one classic rivalry in the Division Finals. Let’s take a look at how I see each game playing out.
Edmonton had a huge game offensively last week against Montreal. Trevor Harris went off and guided his team to the East Final. Harris once again proved he can find another gear when it comes to the playoffs. Edmonton faces a whole different beast this week. Last week they took on the worst pass defence in the league and took advantage of it. They won’t get the same benefit against Hamilton. They will need to be just as good on offence, if not better if they want to win. For Hamilton they have a rookie QB playing his first CFL playoff game. Dane Evans is going to have to play like a veteran against a stout Edmonton defence. His own defence may need to make big plays early to give Evans and the offence good field position and let him shake out the playoff gitters. I think this could be a close game that Hamilton wins late.
Prediction: Tiger-Cats win 29-24
The Bombers pulled off a huge win in Calgary last week and will stay on the road to take on their long time rival, Saskatchewan Roughriders this week. Winnipeg got off to a slow start offensively last week and trailed at the half. But, they came out with a read option style offence in the second half led by Chris Streveler and changed some things up on defence and shut the Stamps down. According to reports, Streveler did not practice all week (unless he practiced in the closed practice) but is on the depth chart listed as the third string QB. I think the Bombers are going to have to establish the run game again against the Riders if they want to win. For Saskatchewan they have given Cody Fajardo as much rest as possible going into this week’s game. Fajardo has a back injury and it still isn’t certain if he will start for the Riders, though I think he will be on the depth chart either way. I think the key to a Rider victory is ball management and a huge game from their defence. I think the Riders pull off a close low scoring battle at home.
Prediction: Roughriders win 23-21
Edmonton @ Hamilton: Take Edmonton +6, Hamilton to win outright.
Winnipeg @ Saskatchewan: Take Winnipeg +3, Saskatchewan to win outright.
This is one of my favourite weeks of the season. Often times the Division Final games are better than the Grey Cup itself. I have the absolute pleasure of going to the West Final after being at the freezing cold West Semi-Final last week in Calgary. I can’t wait to see the atmosphere at Mosaic. Have fun watching this weekend and as always, thanks for reading!