The Division Semifinals did not go as I predicted last week I went 0-2 and it was the first time all season that I didn’t have at least a .500 record. But I don’t think anyone predicted the Lions forgetting to get off the plane in Hamilton. That is not an acceptable effort in a playoff game and the Lions will have a lot to think about over the offseason. Kudos to Hamilton though as well. They played a nearly flawless game and will go on the road to take on Ottawa this week. In the playoff Labour Day match up the Riders couldn’t get anything going on offence and the Bombers ran the ball very well to come away with a win and will now take on Calgary in the West Final. Let’s see how I see the two games playing out.
(2nd East) Hamilton Tiger-Cats @ (1st East) Ottawa Redblacks Sunday 1:00pm ET
Hamilton like I mentioned played a near perfect game last week and might need another performance like that this week if they want to get past a very good Ottawa Redblacks team. The Ti-Cats defence is going to have to smother the high powered Redblack offence like they did to the Lions last week and Jeremiah Masoli and Alex Green are going to have to power the Hamilton offence if they have a shot this week. For Ottawa they have had a week off to rest up but if they want to win they are going to have to show no rust and come out flying early. Trevor Harris is going to have no room for error and William Powell has to match Alex Green from the running back position. I know Powell was second in the league in total yards but in Green’s smaller sample size he has been truly outstanding this season. I think this is going to be a game for the ages with Ottawa squeezing a win out late.
Prediction: Redblacks win 34-31
(3rd West) Winnipeg Blue Bombers @ (1st West) Calgary Stampeders Sunday 4:30pm ET
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers scraped by the Riders last week and without Andrew Harris’ performance, they might not be in the West Final. I wasn’t overly impressed with the Bombers play last week but they did enough to beat a brutal Brandon Bridge and the riders offence that could not get anything going all game long. This week the Bombers are going to have to play much better against arguably the league’s top QB, Bo Levi Mitchell and a Stamps offence that seems to be getting healthy again at the perfect time. Winnipeg is going to have to stop Bo Levi early and I think the key to that is sending pressure. Winnipeg has played very well defensively lately and I think Defensive Coordinator Richie Hall has to trust his DBs to make plays one on one against the Stamp receivers and send the house at Mitchell. On offence you know Calgary is going to key on Harris and the run game and try and force Matt Nichols to put the ball in the air. Winnipeg is going to need to either A) continue to pound the ball with Harris and not worry about what Calgary is doing defensively or B) put together a really good game plan in the passing game to try and counter what the Stamps are doing. For Calgary I think they put the ball in Bo Levi Mitchell’s hands and let him make plays. Bo has been very good in West Finals before and I don’t think that will be any different on Sunday. This Stamps team is the healthiest they have been in a very long time. I think they just have to trust each other to make the plays that got them to having the league’s best record and just go out and ball. I see no reason why the Stamps won’t be back in the Grey Cup for a third straight year. I think they win in a tight slightly defensive battle.
Prediction: Stampeders win 27-23
This week really is up in the air. I went back and forth all week long on who I thought was going to win. I just feel like Ottawa and Calgary have more experience in big games and that is ultimately why I chose them to advance to the Grey Cup. One bad play either way could drastically change both of these games and throw my predictions way off but that is why they are just predictions and not guarantees. I can’t wait to watch both of these games on Sunday. Thanks for reading!