Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Finals

Grey Cup berths are on the line as familiar foes renew acquaintances in the CFL divisional finals on Sunday.

The Ottawa RedBlacks, a team that looked every much of an expansion team but 365 days ago, have shown that with the right plan, the right draft and a lot of belief impressive results can be found and surprises can become the narrative to CFL seasons.

Led by the CFL's elder statesman Henry Burris, the RedBlacks surged through the final two months of the season, taking advantage of the depleted line ups of their rivals, while putting together weekly game plans that not only found success, but built confidence as the season rolled on.

With some impressive victories over Hamilton in back to back games at the end of the season, Ottawa vaulted into first in the East and a chance to rest up during Semi Final Sunday, confident that whichever squad prevailed last week, they would be prepared in seven days time.

As fate would deliver, the Ti Cats are the ones that had to book the flight to Ottawa, one more chance for Hamilton to reverse the bad karma of November and take the step that many expected at the start of the season of a trip to Winnipeg for the Grey Cup.

Yet, it's the RedBlacks in the favourites role, having show no fear or intimidation of the Cats through the year, the Eastern Final offers Ottawa the opportunity to make 2015 the benchmark kind of year for teams looking to rebuild (in the case of Ottawa just building).

They kick it off at 1 PM and TD Place Stadium will be sold out, football truly back in the nation's capital, with hopes and wishes of one more game to come riding on each and every down.

In the West, it's yet another chapter in the Battle for Alberta, a series that slipped a few notches on the intensity level for a few years as the Eskimos retooled, but now is back full on, with the Esks the team to beat, built on an explosive offence and one of the toughest of defences in the league.

Calgary stumbled a few times through the 2015 campaign, injuries provide part of those tribulations, inconsistent play as well making a rare arrival in the foothills city.  Still, a Grey Cup champion is always a team to be wary of and the Eskimos know exactly what will be in store for them as Calgary takes to the field at Commonwealth.

The match up more than anything a showcase of coaches as Chris Jones who has turned the Esks around in remarkable fashion faces one of the foundation blocks of coaching these days in the Stamps John Hufnagel.

Hufnagels teams come prepared, and with two top echelon QB's calling the signals on Sunday, the result by game's end should be significantly different than when the two teams last met in a playoff matchup with a Grey Cup trip in the balance.

Both Eastern and Western Finals offer up no shortage of plot lines and many match ups to follow.

When you get to the Final Four of any sport, you want the teams that have been hungry all year and dedicated to their goal to be the ones teeing it up and kicking off, this year, there are no surprises really, Ottawa announced early on that they were making a charge, while the three others in this weekends games the most likely of entrants when the league rolled out the 2015 season.

Some great football would seem to be in store over the six or so hours of Canadian Football on Sunday, when the lights come down late Sunday evening, two deserving squads will be making plans for Grey Cup in Winnipeg, whichever of the four making that trek will be full value for the trip ahead.

Below, is our archive for the Eastern and Western Finals.

Sunday, November 22

Hamilton Tiger Cats at Ottawa RedBlacks
( 1 PM ET, 10 AM PT )  TSN

Game Preview

-- Burris two wins away from CFL history
-- RedBlacks predict dogfight with Tiger Cats
-- For Ticats, time to respond again
-- Ticats' Simoni says, let Justin make the call

Game Reviews: Game Recap Stats Review Highlights


Sunday, November 22

Calgary Stampeders at Edmonton Eskimos
( 2:30 MT, 1:30 PT, 4:30 ET) TSN

Game Preview

Game Reviews: Game Recap Stats Review Highlights

No comments: