Division Final Picks: Who gets to go to the big dance?

Derel Walker

Edmonton Eskimos (10-8) at Ottawa Redblacks (8-9-1)
TD Place Stadium, Ottawa
Sun., Nov. 20, 1 p.m.

Veteran quarterback Henry Burris knows many people aren’t favouring the Ottawa Redblacks to win the Eastern Final and that’s fine with him.

The Redblacks host the Edmonton Eskimos on Sunday afternoon with a trip to next week’s Grey Cup on the line. Edmonton is looking to become the first crossover team to advance to the CFL championship game.

“Nobody ever gives us a chance,” Burris said. “Everybody’s talking about what Edmonton did last year and yes they won the Grey Cup, but we’ve had success against Edmonton this year and we want to do what we can to continue the success that we’ve had.”

The Redblacks are 2-0 against Edmonton this season, but the Eskimos come in having won six of their last seven games.

Ottawa finished first in the East with a mediocre 8-9-1 record while Edmonton was fourth in the West at 10-8. Despite their inconsistent play, the Redblacks are still just one victory away from a Grey Cup appearance.

Dunk: Mike Reilly is banged up and Ottawa is rested and waiting. REDBLACKS
Smith: Even without an Ed Gainey to fall down, Ottawa still finds a way to get the job done. REDBLACKS
Filoso: Reilly is banged up and Ottawa’s defence is healthy. Plus, R-Nation will be given 20,000 cowbells in addition to whatever they were already bringing REDBLACKS
Hodge: 
The West has dominated all season — no reason to think that’ll change now. ESKIMOS
Edwards: Because an all-West Grey Cup is the one we deserve. ESKIMOS
Busby: No one has ever crossed over and made it to the Grey Cup. Henry Burris makes sure that streak continues REDBLACKS
Gasson: Edmonton at Ottawa: Ottawa has for whatever reason struggled at home this year, but there could be snow. Weather can be the great equalizer. REDBLACKS
Totals: REDBLACKS 5 ESKIMOS 2

 

Ryan Phillips, Lemar Durant

B.C. Lions at Calgary Stampeders
Sun., Nov. 20, 4:30 p.m.
McMahon Stadium, Calgary

Calgary took the season series between the two clubs 2-1, including an overtime victory on a field goal July 29. The Lions topped Calgary 20-18 in the season-opener, but were thumped 37-9 on Aug. 19.

B.C.’ strength is their ground game with a league-leading 23 rushing touchdowns. Their passing game is no slouch, however, with 29 touchdowns to Calgary’s 32 in the air. Lions quarterback Jonathon Jennings was spectacular in a 32-31 win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in last Sunday’s division semifinal.

The 24-year-old engineered a comeback victory with a pair of long touchdown drives in the fourth quarter. Jennings scored the eventual winning touchdown himself on a nine-yard scamper and lunge for the end zone.

Meanwhile, Calgary quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell will not have thrown a game ball in almost a month as the Stampeders ended the season on a bye week and had another bye week by virtue of finishing first in the West at 15-2-1.

Lions receiver Emmanuel Arcenaux, who leads the CFL with 13 touchdown catches, also returned to full practice Friday. He left the division semifinal in the third quarter when he was levelled by Winnipeg’s Taylor Loffler.

Dunk: Bo Levi Mitchell is having an MOP season and Jonathon Jennings has had turnover issues of late. STAMPS
Smith: Wally’s experience is the difference and B.C. pulls off the shocking upset. LIONS
Filoso: Much like the 1994 and 2000 teams, the 2016 B.C. squad upsets a heavily favoured Calgary team LIONS
Hodge:  
Calgary playing in Calgary? I’m taking Calgary. STAMPS
Edwards:  Upset, shmupset: the Stampeders are the best team in the CFL and are intent on proving it. STAMPS
Busby: Although they’ve been idle since Halloween, the Stamps are just too good to lose this game. STAMPS
Gasson  This will be a tight one, perhaps even ground game heavy. Calgary is at home. STAMPS
Totals: STAMPS 4 LIONS 2

Season records
Dunk: 52-30-1
Smith: 51-31-1
Filoso: 51-31-1
Hodge: 49-33-1

Edwards: 48-34-1
Busby: 45-37-1
Gasson: 41-41-1

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