105th Grey Cup Preview

greycup-previewThings are looking eerily similar to November of 2016 as the Grey Cup is travelling to the nation’s capital with two teams that look entirely outmatched.

The Calgary Stampeders are back and despite not having the same season as a year ago they are still considered the best team in Canadian football.

On the other side of the ball is a team that finished the season with as many wins as they had losses in a division that continues to struggle.

On paper, this is a mismatch as the Stampeders are just simply a better team overall with a more potent offence and a stingier defence.

The dominance of the west over the east is another factor that has this game leaning very far to one side.

All of this was said last year too when the Stampeders took on the REDBLACKS in a very similar matchup.

In 2016 the Stampeders had amassed one of the best records in the history of the league while the REDBLACKS had finished with just over a .500 record.

They were one of the worst teams to win a division crown but got through the season on top and made the Grey Cup beating the streaking Edmonton Eskimos to earn their spot.

Ottawa was in tough against the Stamps though as they seemed to be an outmatched team when looking at the performance throughout the year.

The REDBLACKS did give Calgary their best games in that year including a tie that gave them a little more confidence.

In one of the biggest surprises, the Stamps just didn’t seem ready to play while the REDBLACKS were out for blood.

The talent of the Stampeders was clear as they were hanging in against a very motivated team that could have easily buried most other teams in the league.

Both teams fought right until the end but the REDBLACKS came out on top in overtime, the first overtime game in Grey Cup history.

It was an instant classic as it was as close as any championship game before and the underdog took the win against massive odds.

Now an entire year later the 105th Grey Cup is reading like the same story with a big underdog looking to take out a dominant favourite.

On the surface, this is the same story and some expect it to end the same way with another surprise, but two years are never the same.

Although the Stampeders are still one of the best teams in the league they are not as dominant as they were a year ago.

Their final few weeks in the season resulted in three straight losses and they simply haven’t looked as polished as they did a year ago.

They are still a potent offence led by Bo Levi Mitchell and a wealth of great receivers that are all very capable.

The balance they are afforded with Jerome Messam in the backfield only helps them while Roy Finch provides a change of pace and a serious threat in the return game.

On defence, they are the best team leading all statistical categories as a defensive team with Alex Singleton leading the way.football-sidebar

His 123 tackles this year only trail Solomon Elimimian as he can make plays everywhere freeing up talent like Charleston Hughes who leads the league in sacks this year.

They get after the quarterback and force more mistakes than anyone in the league and that combination has made them a very tough team.

In Toronto, things didn’t start all that steady as the defence began well but the offence struggled with consistency.

Then came the change that turned the season around as they hired Jonathan Himebauch as their new offensive lineman coach.

That move changed everything as James Wilder Jr. emerged as a true threat with bigger holes to run through.

As the season moved on the offence began to work with Wilder setting the table for Rickey Ray and the passing attack.

Meanwhile, their defence has been of the bend but don’t break variety with inconsistency hurting them at moments but big plays coming at the perfect time.

The pressure up front is where everything starts for the Argos as they matched Calgary with 50 sacks this year as Victor Butler one short of Hughes.

If they can get that pressure everything works for this defence but if not they can allow teams to pile up points.

This year is clearly an underdog story for the Argonauts but this year Calgary is coming in with a much different mindset.

They won’t overlook the worse team and they are more motivated than ever before after tasting defeat last year.

The Argonauts certainly have a chance should their running game work and the pressure gets to Mitchell but the Stamps are going to be more prepared than ever before.

gcbreakdown

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