3Down Division Finals picks: Blackout and back out

There is a blackout scheduled in Hamilton and many are wondering whether Cody Fajardo’s back injury will keep him out of the West Final.

The Ticats host the Eskimos in the East Final while the Riders welcome the Bombers into Mosaic Stadium for the clash out west.

Hamilton was a perfect 9-0 at home in the regular season, while Edmonton went 3-6 on the road with each of the victories coming against non-playoff teams (B.C., Toronto and Ottawa). Trevor Harris was impressive during the club’s East Semi-Final victory in Montreal, but the task in TigerTown is much tougher.

Saskatchewan could find it tough to score points if Fajardo can’t play without being restricted by pain. The Riders’ offence relies on the face of the franchise, so Winnipeg becomes the favourite due to the uncertainty surrounding No. 7. The Bombers’ running attack — combined with Zach Collaros and an underrated defence — could get the club to the Grey Cup.

Let’s get to the Finals picks.

Sunday, November 17
Edmonton at Hamilton, 1 p.m. EST

Dunk: Hamilton has too much firepower on offence and are still somehow underrated league-wide. The best team in the CFL proves they’re legit once more. TICATS

Hodge: Hamilton has flexed their muscles all season and that shouldn’t change in the post-season. Barring another perfect performance from Trevor Harris, the Ticats will punch their ticket to Calgary. TICATS

Alfieri: I don’t expect to see the Ticats crumble in the playoffs. To me, they’re the best team in the league — they’re going to the Grey Cup. TICATS

Ballantine: Hamilton is too deep and too strong not to win this game. Trevor Harris has done it before, but this year’s Ticats won’t be denied a trip to Calgary. TICATS

Filoso: Trevor Harris carved up Hamilton last year in the East Final, but this season’s defence is better. The men in black remain undefeated at home. TICATS

Gasson: Edmonton got basically a perfect performance from Trevor Harris last week and held only a five-point lead for much of the game. Hamilton can make stops. Hamilton can keep scoring. TICATS 

Smith: Edmonton needed everything to go their way, including three picks by Vernon Adams Jr., to escape Montreal. That won’t happen again. Hamilton heads back to the Grey Cup for the first time in half a decade. TICATS


Sunday, November 17
Winnipeg at Saskatchewan, 4:30 p.m. EST

Dunk: Whether Cody Fajardo plays won’t matter because the oblique issue is worse than anyone wants to let on in Riderville. BOMBERS

Hodge: Winnipeg’s deadly running attack combined with Cody Fajardo’s back injury should mean a victory for the blue and gold. Saskatchewan will have to get some big plays from special teams to win this one. BOMBERS

Alfieri: There’s a lot of concern surrounding Cody Fajardo’s health. I think he plays more than some suspect and the Riders punch their ticket to the Grey Cup. RIDERS

Ballantine: Cody Fajardo’s health is the primary concern for Saskatchewan and head coach Craig Dickenson suggested that he may not start. Sweet justice for Zach Collaros this week. BOMBERS 

Filoso: Both teams are dealing with serious injuries but Winnipeg has a quarterback and a half. Saskatchewan might have one. Winnipeg’s ground game offsets home field advantage. BOMBERS

Gasson: I keep going back and forth here for a lot reasons but everyone seems to be on Winnipeg around here. Might as well subvert expectations. RIDERS

Smith: Cody Fajardo’s injury is the ultimate wild card: if he can play like he has all year, the Riders will win; if he can’t, the Bombers will be too much to handle. I’m sticking with my pre-season prediction of a Winnipeg-Hamilton Grey Cup showdown in Calgary. BOMBERS


2019 records:

Smith: 66-17
Hodge: 62-21
Ballantine: 59-24
Gasson: 59-24
Alfieri: 55-27-1
Dunk: 52-31
Filoso: 50-33

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