No clear favourite in West final between lagging Stamps, surging Esks

Scott Cruickshank, Canadian Press

Stampeders head coach Dave Dickenson seems as curious as anyone to find out which team is going to be installed as the CFL Western final favourite.

Will it be Dickenson’s crew, which finished with the best record in the Canadian Football League, but dropped its last three regular-season dates? Or will it be the Edmonton Eskimos, who toppled the host Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the West semifinal on Sunday?

It’s tricky business for oddsmakers.

“I’ll be interested in seeing what the betting line is,” Dickenson told reporters Monday at McMahon Stadium. “I know a lot of people surveyed will be taking Edmonton. And that’s OK. I certainly don’t feel like we’re going to go in as heavy favourites, which could, in our minds, maybe help.

“It’s going to be a dogfight. It’s going to be one of those games that I feel either team could win.”

The Battle of Alberta is slated for Sunday in Calgary, where local observers have been doing some serious hand-wringing. The Stamps’ three-game losing streak is their longest since 2007.

Nevertheless, Dickenson has faith in his group.

}We have to play with confidence,” he said. “You get confidence by executing and doing your job the right way. We had a little bit of a hiccup lately, but I’m certainly ready to play another game. I have faith that we’re going to play well – and keep the things that were causing us pain out of the plan – penalties, turnovers.”

In the coach’s mind, the afternoon’s outcome will be determined on three fronts – quarterback, defensive line, special teams.

The passers – Bo Levi Mitchell for Calgary, Mike Reilly for Edmonton – make this a marquee matchup.

No one threw for more yards (5,830) or touchdowns (30) this season than Reilly. Mitchell, as usual, finished among the CFL’s leaders.

“The last few years, Mike and Bo have been battling to see who that top guy is,” said Dickenson. “These two guys have been winning a ton of football games. Little bit different types of player, (but) both are winners. Both guys command respect. Also they are guys that seem to play best in big games.”

For the Stamps to prevail and advance to the Grey Cup in Ottawa, Mitchell & Co. need to generate touchdowns.

“You can’t settle for field goals,” said Dickenson, whose team collected a league-high 27 three-pointers from inside the 30. “That’s been one of our Achilles heels all year – we need touchdowns. If we get that, hopefully we win.”

History, however, dictates that it’ll be a coin toss.

In 23 playoff meetings, Edmonton has won 12, Calgary 11. They have split 12 Western final meetings.

“They’ve been one of the best teams, the last three, four years,” said Dickenson, whose club won two of three get-togethers this season. “We’ve had back-and-forth games with them almost every time. I think our teams match up fairly evenly.”

The Stamps’ biggest draw so far was Labour Day’s visit from the Eskimos, which was witnessed by a gathering of 33,731.

Dickenson would love to see McMahon Stadium crammed again.

“I think the fans are ready for a heavyweight tilt,” said Dickenson. “I know last year in the Western Final, that was as loud a crowd as we had all year – it helped our guys against B.C. (in a 42-15 win). I felt like the energy was there.

“It would be nice to really fill the building – it’ll keep everyone warm if it’s shoulder to shoulder up there – and see what we can do.”

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46 Comments on No clear favourite in West final between lagging Stamps, surging Esks

  1. I love the fact Calgary is going in NOT as a huge favorite and maybe even the underdog (rider fans sure thing so). Calgary is a sleeping giant ready to awake for a 2 game set the likes of which have never been seen..

    • 5 Rider fans you communicate with base your opinion of us on thousands of fans. Fans have opinions of outcomes but when it comes down to it, especially these 2 games the outcome will not be a surprise either way. Edmonton likely has more confidence heading in. IMO Calgary’s D will decide the game maybe mixed in if Finch can have a big return game to score or help dominate field position.
      Basically the same with my team. If the Riders D can limit RR and Wilder, bending but not breaking and control field position. That to me, is for our teams to win. I actually pick Calgary. Toronto is 5 and 2 in thier their last seven, both loses by 3. Why the oddsmakers favor them I assume. Riders will be ready and prepared very well. I feel good we can win.

    • Even in an article without the Riders mentioned once, you manage to take a shot at the Riders or Rider Nation. It is very apparent that you always have the Riders on your mind. You know what I think, your a closet Riders fan and in total love with the Riders like some 10 year old boy in elementary school. Welcome to Rider Nation, my friend.

      • Yeah that’s totally it. I’m really a rider fans and for some reason that no rider fans can explain I have keep hush about it and display my fandom in the form of distain.

      • Hmm… Closet Rider fan, or obnoxious little troll?

        My money’s on the latter.

  2. Edmonton / Toronto Grey Cup, Edmonton 2017 Grey Cup winners

  3. Thats a very reasonable possibility Blue Rules

  4. Ibleedgreen1111 // November 13, 2017 at 8:38 pm // Reply

    Stamps chock by 17. Let the slide continue

  5. We Bo leive

  6. Prove Me Wrong // November 13, 2017 at 9:10 pm // Reply

    Shades of 2015… Esks won that 45-31 and went on to win the Grey Cup…. Let’s see if they do it again.

  7. I’m not counting out the Stamps. Great team. It’ll be offence vs defence. Eskimos had the better offence this year but Calgary has some weapons. Teams were 1-2 vs the pass but Stamps much better vs the rush. On offence both teams have really good receivers & running backs, both have big, good OL’s. In the East, Riders have their work cut out for them. Argos have 3 All-Stars on the DL & had the 2nd best offence (net offence) & 2nd best defence (yards allowed) in the league. Tied Calgary for sacks title. Glenn will see some pressure next week. People who think Argos are a cakewalk, Argos only had 1 less win than Riders. BOTH teams play 10 games vs West & 8 games vs East. Riders may have an edge in receivers but QB, RB & front 7 favour Argos. Trestman hasn’t lost a playoff game vs Riders yet – remember the 2 Cups vs Montreal? It should be a good close game but I don’t see the Riders as a clear favourite.

    • Ummmm Tresman Smeshmann , I grant he is a fairly decent coach but NOT as good as eastern media would have us believe , he was a abysmal FAIL in the NFL ///total joke re Bears et all. Tresman yes had a MTl team that beat the Riders in 2 grey cups, but there was some luck involved in both those wins , 2009 they barely beat a underdog Riders team that was Dresslerless (in his prime ) for the game/// plus a 13th man penalty to win , 2010 for some insane reason our Riders decided they didn’t need a field goal kicker for the grey cup after they lost Milo to a cheap shot from a looser Stampeder player in the western final I believe, we lost by 3 or 4 points , yes the stamp player purposely took out OUR kickers knee after a fg attempt. But that is the past and its football, and yep we only have 4 cups but at times the football gods have not been with us at the worst of times. So maybe this year against Tresman the football gods are in our corner and we come out the winner , but the Argo’s are a big challenge, may the best team on that day win. Win or loose we will always back our GUY’s !!!!!

  8. Head and heart…

    Out east, the Argos are a worry. But, I think the Riders win a provided they stay very focused. Trestman may not have lost to the green and white in the playoffs before, but those were not Jones coached teams.

    Out west, a little more conflicted…

    My head says Esks. They are playing hot at the right time; their receiving corps are healthy and gelling; Mike Reilly is being Mike Reilly…

    My heart says Stamps. They were the cream of the league all year, and if Mitchell gets hot…

    Plus, I really want my Riders to beat the Stamps in the Grey Cup.

    LOL

  9. Lancaster/Reed // November 14, 2017 at 12:22 am // Reply

    Eskimos are healthy, have a running game again, the best qb and receiving corp in the league and a defense that has sewell back. They have won 6 in a row and are against a calgary team that has lost 3 in a row, and has looked enemic on offense for longer than that. Edmonton is the clear cut favourite. Esks by 14, but only that close because of some late scores by calgary.

  10. Colourmegreen // November 14, 2017 at 12:40 am // Reply

    Calgary will lose thier 4th game in a row. Edmonton was wise to take the easy route.
    The crushing choke once again will lead to huge changes with BLM cut, coach fired, etc. Front office fired and Wally back as coach.
    Hey this trolling is awesome. Too bad there are not any stamps fans. Oh wait “stamp you” is the only one, who constantly trolls the Riders.

    • Lol so by that thinking Sask must have “choosen the harder route”? Calgary aside rider fans must be pretty nervous about possibly playing Edmonton. I know you guys gloss over the negative facst but they did beat you pretty handily (in your stadium) 2 weeks ago if you recall.

      • And how many green and white starters were sidelined? And midway through the fourth quarter the score was 14-13 (an extra-point miss by Crapigna). I guess that’s a blowout, eh? Besides, Edmonton used their starters the entire game because they didn’t want to go through the east and possibly experience what happened last year. Horsee, don’t go on that track. Both divisions are tough, and I’ll leave it at that.

        • So greenrider89
          You’re argument is the only reason Edmonton played their starters and were motivated to win this game was because they thought it would be an easier playoff route??? That is ridiculous. They played their starters and were motivated because they wanted to win and finish as high as possible in the standings because THAT’S THE POINT OF THE REGULAR SEASON. Playoff route was secondary.

          I don’t think you realize this but by this theory you’re basically admitting Sask can’t beat Edmonton in a big game too..Care to reconsider this theory now??

          • Horsee, you’re simply blinded by your hatred of the Roughriders and end up making ridiculous statements (as above). Now think about this very carefully because it really isn’t that hard: First, who would not want to win during the regular season? You stated the Roughriders chose to lose the last game so they could end up in the east. Right??? Now, you’re backtracking (like you usually do) and stating the importance of winning. MAKE UP YOUR MIND FOR GOD’S SAKE!!!

            Now read this very carefully: Yes, the Eskimos played starters beginning to end so they wouldn’t travel to the east (REMEMBER LAST YEAR). And yes, the Riders rested four starters — Roosevelt, Eguoven, Marshall and Richardson — so they would be ready for the playoffs.

            Against Ottawa, Eguoeven had another great game with several tackles and one key interception. Roosevelt made four or five catches, but more importantly opened up routes for Bacari Grant, Carter and Chad Owens. The Riders were fortunate that Richardson and Marshall still weren’t healthy, and Thigpen contributed significantly in the backfield as you witnessed.

            Furthermore, if you really think the east is so easy (as you continuously state), why has there never been a western team to advance to the Grey Cup?

            Most importantly: Please don’t mince words and try to change statements around. It makes you look really dumb.

          • And regarding your question if I were concerned the Roughriders can’t beat Edmonton in the big game, are you serious??? In the most recent outing (as you’re well aware of) Saskatchewan and Edmonton were basically deadlocked midway through the fourth quarter, before the Eskimos pulled away. And the Roughriders were without three and possibly four starters. Prior to that, Saskatchewan handled Edmonton quite convincingly in the previous outing with the Eskimos shorthanded by injury. I believe both teams are very capable of defeating each other. So, no I’m not overly concerned with the Roughriders playing against Edmonton. In fact, I believe Toronto is just as formidable as Edmonton, and for that matter, both games are a toss-up. But Calgary is a different story. They concern me that they’re going through the same playoff rut as they have done several times before. If I were you, you better start saying some extra special prayers for your Stampeders, horsee.

        • Greenrider89
          I never suggested the riders purposely lost. You implied that Edmonton played with all their starters suggesting they really wanted to win to stay in the west and took the game with more urgency by playing all their starters vs Sask. I’m saying to you..why didn’t Sask seem to want to win as bad if the west is so much easier??? I can only conclude Edmonton is a far better team.
          All that aside..how can you say to east is easier? You play a 8-9-1 team then a 9-9 team. In want world is that easier than playing a 12-6 team then a 13-4-1 team. It makes no sense. Your just trying to validate the fact the riders are taking an illegitimate path in the playoffs.
          You also are playing a double standard. You say Edmonton’s win over you that game in no way reflects what will happen in the playoffs yet you say your win over Calgary does reflect what will happen in the playoffs. How does a rational person make sense of this?

          • greenrider89 // November 15, 2017 at 10:04 am //

            I don’t know what you’re talking about. Obviously, most of these discussions are far above your head. And I’m not going to waste my time debating your nonsense. And to think, I actually don’t mind the Calgary Stampeders.

    • Get in sure a 27 year old with a 56-8-2 record, a MOP and a greycup MVP will be cut.
      If you were right I wonder if Chris Jones would look at bringing him to Sask? YEAH kinda bet he would!

  11. E.Einstien IV // November 14, 2017 at 5:48 am // Reply

    I tend to agree that the Calgary Stampeders will find It much too difficult to play one solid playoff game after playing 3 soft boiled eggs in a row. No doubt they will come out ready and poised. The only issue is the other 3 teams left in the race have all been playing playoffs for a few weeks now.
    It will be close in the 1st half with Edmonton pulling away in the second half. It dosent take a genius to see that the 2 Alberta teams are on completely different planes of existence right now. Calgary’s undoing will be just how soft the end of the season was. By the time they figure out how to get into Playoff Warrior mode. It will be too late.
    EE 31 – Cal 21

  12. Said it before and I will say it again. I foresaw the green and white SK Roughriders holding up a trophy after beating the red and white Calgary Stampeders in a dream quest. I would have bet money it was the Western final. Since that was not to be. It has to be the Grey Cup. Therefore Calgary sneaks by Edmonton here. Only to suffer a Grey Cup Lisa to SK in Ottawa.

    • 3rd and 1
      You’d say you foresaw Sask hoisting the cup. You are talking like it’s actually happened. You guys DO realize you still need to win 2 games right?

      • You clearly don’t understand what foresaw means.

        • Oh but I do. It basically means you’re dreaming, day dreaming and harbouring though (wishful though in this case) Unless it actually comes true. You do know the concept of actual don’t you?

          • Ridersnhabs // November 14, 2017 at 10:14 pm //

            Of course we do , last year the stamps actually lost the grey cup to a team that finished the regular season with a losing record .
            Is that what you mean by “actual ” ?

  13. Calgary have had a very good ball club over the past few seasons – but the last 6 weeks have clearly shown a lack of ‘structure ‘ among the ranks .

    Lil Bo Peep – has lost his sheep

    Edmonton – 41 Calgary – 26

    • Oh it’s not just the past 3 games ? It’s now 6 weeks that we’ve been struggling? Wow..by next week it will be all season we’ve been struggling.. with each rider win the tales grow longer…

  14. No easy outs left at this time of year. Two best defences (Calgary #1 and SK #2) Against the two top QB’s this year in Ray and Riley. Bo Levi is the x-factor if he shows up with MOP form from previous years in combination with that Defense they will be tough.

    The two teams with the worst defences lost last week. Will be a great 7 hours of football again on Sunday regardless.

  15. I see the West final as a close game. Edmonton is not facing Winnipegs defence who gives up a lot of yards. They will be hard pressed to reach 30 but u never know they have a dangerous O. Edmonton D looks very good with Grymes back. To bad they lost Sheritt. Bombers scored 2 late as they were playing to keep them to shorter plays give em that short pass and keep the clock going, like SO during Ottawa’s last TD as well. They both dominated the SF’s. Bombers seemed to have success running the ball. Shoulda ran more. I can see Messam getting 20+ carries easy. I see both teams getting in the 20’s for points. Who has the ball last type of game is my prediction. Both games are tough to predict. None of us will ever go against our team, so my Riders will make a comeback and win 31-27, Kinda cheering for Edmonton but I think White misses a last second 55 yard field goal, Calgary 25 Edmonton 24. That’s how I feel today anyway. Tomorrow is another day. 4 More sleeps!

  16. Eskimos lost their Mojo after the stretch of injuries. Then the road back to winning started slowly. Stamps injuries to O-line and receivers killed their Mojo late in the season after they ran out of Next Man Uppers. Locking up 1st in the league early has also hurt their rehab to a winning mode. They ran out of time. Now that both teams are healthy the Eskimos have the momentum and continuity on their side.
    Esks should be favourites for sure. Reilly has a very strong arm and Bo is perhaps still hurting somewhat? I won’t put my money on either season final this year. Last year Stamps were mostly hot through the entire season. They hammered BC in the final and rolled into the Grey Cup. Complacency killed them in the Cup against a team that wanted it more!

  17. Here’s to the Esks hanging a lick’n on the Stumps and using up all their mojo in the process so they’re spent for the GC.

  18. donkeyisanidiot // November 14, 2017 at 3:45 pm // Reply

    Donkey is still an idiot – and a welcher…

  19. So some are seeing “Cups” in their dreams. You could count sheep if the Rider shortcomings are keeping you awake, 3rd. Hopefully those are decaf cups floating by. Color thinks Esks beat Riders to take the easy route so Riders lost purposely to take the harder route I guess. Mr. Green has John WHITE missing a FG but luckily the Esks have Sean WHYTE handling the duties. The angst in Rider Nation is palpable.

    • I had Whyte/White miss a late field goal. Spell check sometimes overrides you. He is very good. That’s why I said 55 yards in the cold he could still make it, who knows. Maybe Edmonton blows em out. Just a fun prediction. SEAN WHYTE is likely the best long field goal kicker left. I seriously think the Riders toughest challenge left is the Argos.

      • Wow. You think the Argos are the riders toughest challenge left? Someone who knows nothing of the cfl would think the riders were some power house team and a huge favorite to win the cup with that comment. Probably have some great QB like a Tom Brady type. How mislead that person would be. They would soon learn this in fact isn’t the case. It has more to do with fan base having a false sense of superiority and greatness.

  20. Well, Green, at least you admit Argos are a big test. So, in other words, Argos, if they beat Riders, will beat either Edmonton or Calgary since they are the biggest test? Not sure that Argos will be favoured in the Cup.

  21. TeeBone_EE_fan // November 15, 2017 at 11:37 am // Reply

    Expect a tough and exciting game. May come down to a special teams play or a turnover or penalty as coach D. alluded to. Stamps front 7 are strong as always so look for EE to stretch the field. How will the Stamps handle EE’s platooning front 4? Will either team hang on to their running game? Give either QB time to operate and it will be a scoring fest. It will be blood and guts in the trenches. Stamps have had a lot of time to study film and change their tendencies. EE have gone through their adversity and are rolling now. Stamps have been focussed on raising the elusive GC all year, whereas EE more keenly focussed on smashing Calgary right here right now. It will be a great game.

  22. The Stamps looked pretty vanilla towards the end of the season, and now have rust to contend with. Conversely, the Esks are in top form, and clearly have momentum on their side. I don’t see this being the battle many predict.

    Esks will win handily.

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