Wednesday, 29 June 2011

CFL season preview

 As another CFL season approaches, here are my predictions for the upcoming 2011 season.

East division                              West division
1) Montreal Alouettes              1) Saskatchewan Roughriders
2) Hamilton Tiger-Cats            2) Calgary Stampeders
3) Toronto Argonauts              3) Edmonton Eskimos
4) Winnipeg Blue Bombers      4) BC Lions

                                                             Eastern Division 
1) Montreal Alouettes: The only major questions surronding the Als is if Brandon Whitaker will emerge as the number 1 running back after the departure of Avon Cobourne and a primary target for Anthony Calvillo due to Ben Cahoon's retirement in the offseason. Other than that, expect to see the Als win the East for a fourth straight year. 

2) Hamilton Tiger-Cats: If the Tabbies are going to overtake the Als for top spot in the East, they are going to heavily rely on a the running game with newly acquire Avon Cobourne and a revamped linebacking core with Renauld Williams replacing the aging Otis Floyd 

3) Toronto Argonauts: After showing great improvements last season, expect to see more first with the receiving corps due to the emergence of Spencer Watt. The running game will still be the main source and special teams with Cory Boyd and dangerous returner Chad Owens. Do not count out their defense as well with Kevin Eiben still being a force at linebacker. 

4) Winnipeg Blue Bombers: Even though the defense is stellar with the likes of Doug Brown, Odell Willis, Jovon Johnson, Jonathan Hefney and Joe Lobendahn and offensively with Terrence Edwards, Fred Reid and Terrence Jeffers-Harris, the Bombers hopes of making the playoffs will be if Buck Pierce can stay healthy over a course of a full season.

                                                       Western Division

1) Saskatchewan Roughriders: With Rob Bagg sidelined for the whole year with reinjuring his knee and the departure of Andy Fantuz to the Chicago Bears, expect to see more of Jason Clermont in the slot and Cary Koch. The defense is still a strong point minus Omarr Morgan in the secondary. Expect to see electric returns after the acquisition of Tristan Jackson. 

2) Calgary Stampeders: After losing the two best corners in Dwight Anderson (Montreal) and Brandon Browner (Seattle Seahawks) the defence will still be strong with Geoff Tisdale coming over from Hamilton and the coaching of defensive coordinator Chris Jones. The offense still remains strong with mobile quarterback Henry Burris running it, Nik Lewis and Ken-Yon Rambo anchoring the receiving corps and the excellent partnership of Joffrey Reynolds and Canadian Jon Cornish at running back. 

3) Edmonton Eskimos: After a disapointing year, expect to see Ricky Ray come hard out of the gate. The receiving corps has one question? Was it worth it to release veteran Kamau Peterson and replace him with the inconsistent Adarius Bowman. On the kicking front, will Damon Duval redeem himself from his poor play that eventually led to him leaving the Als and take the starting job away from Derek Schiavone who has been reliable in his short career.

4) BC Lions: With the departure of Emmanuel Arceneaux, the lions still have reliable veterans in Geroy Simon, Paris Jackson and newly acquired Kamau Peterson. Their defence is still strong with Solomon Elimimian at linebacker, the defensive front four with Brent Johnson, Aaron Hunt and Keron Williams as the main guys and the secondary with Davis Sanchez, Dante Marsh and Ryan Phillips. If they can have a strong start, they can make the playoffs. If they start slow in the competitive West, expect to see them miss the playoffs for the first time since 1996.