And then there were two – the Grey Cup once again comes down to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The Bombers ended the franchise championship drought in 2019 by beating the Cats in convincing fashion. After winning a close one with the Roughriders, they look to do it again. But the Tiger-Cats have been in this position before and are no strangers to high pressure situations. What will it take for each side to win this game? Let’s break it all down.
Tale Of The Tape – Blue Bombers
Early turnovers plagued the Bombers in the West Final against Saskatchewan. Key to victory number one is not to let that happen again. Obviously, another important factor to the success of the team is Andrew Harris. Harris is unquestionably the best back in the CFL and they will definitely need to lean on him. As much as he is a great runner, he will just as importantly make a good decoy. Zach Collaros was named the the most outstanding player for Winnipeg in the regular season, so another important part of this game is to put him in positions to help this offense succeed.
Utilize the play action pass and take advantage of the defense keying in on Harris to set up Drew Wolitarsky, Nic Demski, Darvin Adams, Rasheed Bailey, and Kenny Lawler to make big plays downfield. Speed kills in the CFL, and this group is no exception. Demski was unanimously named Winnipeg’s most outstanding canadian player during the regular season. The offensive line will need to be dominant to accomplish all of this, and it helps that left tackle Stanley Bryant was unanimously named the team’s most outstanding o-lineman.
The defense has been one of the best all season long. Willie Jefferson and Jackson Jeffcoat need to make Hamilton feel the pressure, and so does Adam Bighill. Bighill was named most outstanding defensive player for Winnipeg. All three levels of the vaunted Winnipeg defense need to make plays. Keep your eyes on rookie DB DeAundre Alford who was unanimously named the team’s most outstanding regular season rookie. We would be remiss if we also did not mention fullback Mike Miller being named most outstanding special teams player for the Bombers, and this season he became the all time leader special team tackles in CFL history.
Tale Of The Tape – Tiger-Cats
Quarterback Dane Evans gave Hamilton the spark they needed to get back in the game against the Argonauts in the East Final. His trio of touchdowns helped push the needle Hamilton’s way. Don Jackson will need a similar, if not better rushing performance. He ran for the ball for 95 yards off 16 carries. Sean Thomas-Erlington was the top ball carrier for Hamilton in the regular season. Jaelon Acklin has been a great weapon for the Cats all year long, but don’t sleep on Brandon Banks. Banks may be older but he can still turn on the speed on and make something happen if he gets in space. A balanced attack will be the best way to beat the Bombers. However, the Tiger-Cats need to be aware that running on them will be no easy feat.
The defense will have a huge challenge in front of them. In the regular season, Hamilton had 17 interceptions with Cariel Brooks leading the way with five. The defensive line accounted for 20 out of the 32 total sacks this season proving they can disrupt the passer. Ja’Gared Davis led the way with six. If the big fellas can get to Collaros enough times and get him out of rhythm, the entire Winnipeg offensive game plan goes completely out the window. While Harris is the engine of this train, Collaros is the conductor.
Both teams deserve to be in this position. It is not luck that they both made it back to the Grey Cup championship game. But, the Bombers are the heavy favorites for a reason. They were the best team in the league. I think this game is going to be competitive with Hamilton as the host city, but ultimately I see Winnipeg coming out on top 36-23 with Jackson Jeffcoat winning the Grey Cup MVP.
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