It has been another year of ups and downs for every team in the CFL this year with teams being considered dead early in the season and charging back to a playoff spot to teams that were consensus Grey Cup picks that hung on for dear life. In other words, just another year in the CFL!
Looking ahead to the first round we have a couple of really interesting matchups and in both games either team could win this. Here is a look at them at my predictions of what will happen.
Toronto Argonauts (9-9) @ Hamilton Tiger Cats (9-9)
The Toronto Argonauts who everyone thought would be dead last in the CFL this year proved everyone wrong under the guidance of head coach Jim Barker to give the Argos a .500 season and make the playoffs for the first time since 2007. Which has been a great story for the Argos but the news gets worse. They have to play the Hamilton Tiger Cats in Hamilton. The Tabbies have beaten the Argos all three times they have met this year, so does Hamilton have Toronto’s number? Or the the boatmen due to steal a game?
Kevin Glenn has had a great bounce back year for the Tiger Cats in leading them to a home playoff game. Complimented by a nice recieving core led by Dave Stala ,Marquay McDaniel and Arland Bruce III. Glenn threw for over 5000 yards this year and was the TiCats MVP.
The Argos have done it on running the ball and defense. Cory Boyd and his over 1700 combined yards from scrimmage can be a difference maker if he is not kept in check, but for the Argonauts they need their stellar defense led by Eastern All-Stars Kevin Eiben, and Willie Pile.
My Fearless Prediciton: For the Argos to have any chance Cleo Lemon has to be better than he was all year for the Argos and I don’t see any reason as to why that would happen. Kevin Glenn will get too many chances in too good of scoring areas and that is the difference. Hamilton 26 Toronto 12.
BC Lions (8-10) @ Saskatchewan Roughriders (10-8)
Break out the watermelon hats! Playoff football returns to Saskatchewan and the Roughriders are chomping at the bit to avenge their Grey Cup loss on the now famous too many men on the field penalty to the Alouettes last year. The BC Lions may be the leagues hottest team right now after a disasterous start to the season and talk of the Lions firing head coach Wally Buono, the Lions responded rattling off victories in seven of their last ten games to edge out the Edmonton Eskimos for the playoff spot in the West.
The BC Lions do remind me a lot of the 8-10 Calgary Stampeders who won the Grey Cup a few years back, the one difference is they are relying on an unproven Travis Lulay at quarterback to carry this team. But football is a game of momentum and all the momentum is with the Lions at this point! If the game comes down to team MVP’s K Paul McCallum to make a winning kick, you can put cash down on it being good.
Saskatchewan has dropped four of it’s past five to slide into the playoffs on a low. This also includes a 23-17 loss to the Lions in BC. The Riders can score in bunches led by the arm of Darian Durant, and the ‘Canadian Air Force’ receiving core in Saskatchewan led by the leagues leading receiver Andy Fantuz. Fantuz was the first Canadian to lead the CFL in receiving since 1995. Mix a solid running game from Wes Cates and the Riders are still a scary team to be matched up with.
My Fearless Prediction: My heart says pick the Lions to continue their roll and shock the Riders in Regina. However my brain says that their is just too much talent in Riderland and playing a playoff game at Mosaic Stadium is one of the hardest things a team can do in this league. For that reason I have the Riders moving on to Calgary. Saskatchewan 37 BC 31
Enjoy the games on Sunday and look back for my picks for the division finals!
Have a good one!
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About the Author
Written by Shane Hoopfer
Die hard Flames fan since 1980, and a closet baseball junkie. Also a big Dolphins, and Stampeders fan!