The NFL postseason is set to get underway on Saturday with almost a dozen Canadians and former CFL players set to take part.
I have taken the liberty of listing each of the players below, though it remains unclear if they will all play due to injuries and COVID protocol. The 2022 CFL season is still over five months away, but watching the players below on television may help tide Canadian fans over in the meantime.
A Canadian player has participated in each of the past two Super Bowls (Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and Ryan Hunter, 2019; Antony Auclair, 2020), so here’s hoping the streak continues this year.
Saturday, Jan. 15 — Las Vegas Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals
DL Kendal Vickers — Las Vegas Raiders
The former Edmonton Elk spent the first half of the season on the practice roster, though he eventually dressed for two games. Vickers was recently activated from the Raiders’ COVID list, which means there’s a chance he’ll play on Saturday.
Saturday, Jan. 15 — New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills
DL Eli Ankou — Buffalo Bills
The fifth-year nose tackle from Ottawa, Ont. started the season with Tennessee before joining the Bills in November. He has since made nine total tackles and one sack in a rotational role along the interior of Buffalo’s defensive line.
REC N’Keal Harry – New England Patriots
The former first-round pick posted modest receiving numbers this year — 12 catches for 184 yards — but plays a large role in New England’s run-heavy attack. Watch for Harry to help the Patriots move the sticks along the ground as a hybrid receiver/blocking tight end.
DL Brandin Bryant – Buffalo Bills
The six-foot-two, 305-pound defender is a former Blue Bomber (2018) and Alouette (2019) who has become a rotational player in Buffalo. He made two combined tackles and one quarterback hit this season while moving between the active and practice rosters.
DL Justin Zimmer – Buffalo Bills
The six-foot-three, 305-pound defender only dressed for one game with the Alouettes in 2017, but he still technically counts as a former CFL player. He made eight combined tackles, two tackles for loss, four quarterback hits, and one sack in 2021.
Sunday, Jan. 16 — Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
LB Alex Singleton – Philadelphia Eagles
The former CFL Most Outstanding Defensive Player made a career-high 137 combined tackles in 2021 along with four tackles for loss, four knockdowns, two quarterback hits, one interception, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. The question is this: can Singleton and the Eagles stop Tom Brady and the reigning Super Bowl champions?
Sunday, Jan. 16 — San Francisco 49ers at Dallas Cowboys
DL Neville Gallimore – Dallas Cowboys
The former third-round pick missed most of the 2021 season due to injury but came on strong late, making 13 combined tackles, three tackles for loss, and 1.5 sacks in just five games along the Cowboys’ defensive line.
DL Brent Urban – Dallas Cowboys
The native of Mississauga, Ont. recorded three combined tackles and a knockdown over six games to start the year before undergoing season-ending tricep surgery. He won’t play this weekend, but he’ll be cheering on fellow Canadian defensive lineman Neville Gallimore.
Sunday, Jan. 16 — Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs
REC Chase Claypool – Pittsburgh Steelers
The native of Abbotsford, B.C. caught 59 passes for 860 yards and two touchdowns in 15 games in 2021 despite some strong competition in Pittsburgh’s receiving corps. He’ll look to make plays to keep the Steelers alive in what could be the final game of Ben Roethlisberger’s career.
Monday, Jan. 17 — Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams
DL Michael Hoecht – Los Angeles Rams
The Brown University product made L.A.’s active roster in 2021 after spending the entire 2020 season on their practice roster. He dressed for all 17 games and made three starts, recording seven combined tackles alongside future Hall of Fame defender Aaron Donald.
OL Alaric Jackson – Los Angeles Rams
The Iowa product went unselected in the 2021 NFL Draft but made the Rams’ practice roster to start the year and eventually dressed for four games, taking 77 snaps. It’s unlikely that he’ll play on Monday, but the future still appears bright for Jackson in L.A.