This Sunday November 11th, the CFL playoffs kickoff. The Ottawa Redblacks and Calgary Stampeders have earned 1st round byes while this weekend the BC Lions will face the Hamilton Ticats and the Saskatchewan Roughriders will play the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to see who advances to the conference finals.
CFL West Final: Edmonton vs Calgary Battle of Alberta Round Four
Calgary has dominated their neighbors to the North
After playing three times in a span of seven weeks, the regular season series between these clubs was over in Week 11. Calgary won all three games, by a 95-69 margin, and the Stampeders didn’t trail at any point in any of those contests. During their past six meetings, Edmonton has held a lead of more than one point just once and that 7-3 advantage, back on Labor Day 2012, was eliminated on the Stampeders next possession. Since their 33-19 thrashing in Edmonton during the 2011 CFL semifinal playoff round, Calgary has won ten straight against the Eskimos by a 301-218 combined total score. The Green & Gold haven’t won in Calgary (0-4) since they ripped the Red & White 35-7 during the Labour Day Classic back in 2011.
Rookie quarterbacks make their CFL playoff debut in the West Final
Mike Reilly of the Eskimos and Bo Levi Mitchell of the Stampeders are slated to start their first playoff game in the CFL on Sunday. We say “slated” because there’s been a media mystery surrounding Reilly and whether he does or does not have a broken bone in his foot. Reilly entered the game in the 3rd quarter of the Eskimos 18-10 semifinal home win over Saskatchewan last Sunday but was nary a factor. Edmonton scored one point with Reilly under center as he completed six of eight passes for 53 yards and ran three times for six yards. Reilly rushed for 616 yards (8th in the CFL) and eight scores this season. If he can’t play, or his mobility is limited, the Eskimos have a huge hole to fill. Mitchell had a solid year for the Stamps throwing 22 TD’s and just 8 INT with a 63.3% PCR. Stamps backup QB Drew Tate rushed for a CFL high ten TD’s this season.
Don’t expect the Stampeders to be as generous as the Roughriders were last week
Edmonton’s defense and special teams were the difference last weekend as they picked off ‘Riders aging QB Kerry Joseph five times and Kendial Lawrence scored an 84-yard punt return TD to put Edmonton up 17-0 in the second quarter. Don’t expect Calgary to be as generous as the Stamps committed one turnover in the season series (P Rob Maver blocked punt fumble on Labour Day) and Edmonton didn’t pick off a single pass versus Calgary as Mitchell threw for 592 yards and four touchdowns in the three meetings. Calgary rarely beats themselves as they committed a CFL low 29 turnovers (Edmonton had 41) and the Stamps were the least penalized team in the league. The Eskimos led the CFL in penalty yards during the regular season.
Stampeders vs Eskimos Summary: That’s a lot of information considering that we haven’t even mentioned Stamps RB Jon Cornish who despite playing in just nine games led the CFL in rushing with 1,082 yards. Cornish has had a variety of injury issues this season but he’s had three weeks to rest up and get healthy for this contest. Cornish gashed Edmonton for 272 yards and two scores on 34 carries in the back to back contests surrounding Labour Day. Did we mention that Calgary has a damn good defense?
CFL West Final Call: While we missed on Edmonton being a contender - we predicted Calgary would claim the 2014 Grey Cup back in May. Coming off a bye, guided by the CFL’s best coaching staff, and playing healthy at home, we like them to get a step closer on Sunday. Back the Red & White with a 500 unit wager on the money line price posted at the SportsInteraction online sportsbook. Quoting Pam Tillis – Let that pony run.
CFL 2014 East & West Division Finals – SportsInteraction Playoff Betting Odds
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