by Frankie Benvenuti, OSJ Staff Writer | Twitter: @FrankieVideo
The Grey Cup is finally here, and while the REDBLACKS are at home watching the week unfold, there's no shortage of storylines going into the weekend. After two fantastic football games last weekend, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are the last two standing and will go head to head Sunday in the 107th Grey Cup in Calgary. Both teams are without their starting quarterbacks, and they both got there anyway. Let’s take a deep dive into the matchup!
There are so many storylines that make this one of the most intriguing Grey Cup games in a while. The first one being the droughts. The Tiger-Cats haven’t won a Grey Cup since 1999, and the Blue Bombers haven’t been Grey since 1990. It’s been a long time since either of these teams has had a parade down their streets, but one can end that drought on Sunday.
Another story is the backup quarterbacks taking centre stage and leading their teams to Calgary. For the Tiger-Cats, it’s Dane Evans. Everyone and their mother thought the Ti-Cats might be in trouble when Jeremiah Masoli went down early in the season, but Evans quickly changed that. Since the injury, Evans has been one of the best QBs in the CFL, leading the Tiger-Cats to a 10-0 home record and a Grey Cup appearance. Now they hope he can lead them all the way to a title.
For Winnipeg, it's both Zach Collaros and Chris Streveler. Between the two, they led the Bombers past the Stampeders and the Roughriders to come out of the West as the 3 seed, something not commonly accomplished. The two form a formidable passing and running duo who can be tough to stop. Both guys will play, but neither was in contention for the starting job in June. Matt Nichols was injured midseason, and Streveler came in. Streveler struggled at times, prompting the Bombers to trade for Collaros. Collaros now looks for revenge over his former team on the biggest stage.
That's the storyline that really interests me. After his stop in Saskatchewan last weekend, he now turns his attention to the team he spent four seasons with. He became a star during his time in Hamilton, but it crashed around him and he was eventually replaced by Masoli. He will certainly be looking for revenge in a way that would hurt the Tiger-Cats and their fans the most.
The regular season
These two met twice during the regular season. Hamilton won both matchups, but the good news for Bomber fans is this: it doesn’t matter. The regular season matchups don’t often tell the full story, and the Bombers will try to make their only win against the Tabbies this season the one that matters most.
Who I would like to see win
I want Winnipeg to win. There's something bout the Blue Bombers that I like and have always liked. But the most important reason I'm cheering for the Bombers in the Grey Cup is that they aren’t the Tiger-Cats. I love the REDBLACKS too much to want to see the Ti-Cats bring home the Cup. Sorry, Hamilton.
Just like last week, I want to go over why I think each team will win, and why each team will lose.
Why they will win
Tiger-Cats: Hamilton has been impressive no matter how you look at it this season, and the chances of this train stopping now are slim to none. The key to this game for the Tiger-Cats is limiting turnovers. The Tabbies have been very disciplined this season so I'd be shocked if Evans started throwing interceptions all over the field just because the pressure is mounting. As for the defence, it's a confident bunch after shutting down Trevor Harris last week. There is so much going the way of the Tiger-Cats it can be hard to see a world where the Bombers pull off the upset, but the Cats still need to show up and play their best football.
Blue Bombers: The Bombers are the underdogs in this game, and many are already writing them off. But REDBLACKS fans will recall Grey Cup 104 where Ottawa was a huge underdog against the Stampeders in Toronto. The REDBLACKS won that game. You can’t count out a team in the Grey Cup, they're here for a reason. Fortunately for the Bombers, they have Collaros, once again looking for revenge over a former team. He has the ability to be an elite QB in the CFL, it’s just a matter of finding that extra gear again.
Why they will lose
Tiger-Cats: The Tiger-Cats don’t have many weak points, but their run defence is going to be tested by Andrew Harris and Chris Streveler. If their run defence is unable to hold up and slow that fantastic running game of the Blue Bombers, look for Winnipeg to take the game in a blowout.
Blue Bombers: The Bombers are in tough against the 'Cats, and there is one thing they can do that would cause them to certainly lose this game. If the Bombers turn the football over, they will lose. The longer Winnipeg has the football, the less time Dane Evans and that spectacular Hamilton offence have the ball to make things happen.
Who is going to win?
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are hungry and have been road warriors all throughout the Grey Cup playoffs. They've been battling and winning games they've been counted out of. They've been the underdog for so long, they will embrace this role, take it in stride and beat the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to become the 2019 Grey Cup champions.
Think about it, Bombers fans. How cool will it be to hear those words? Commissioner Randy Ambrosie saying, ‘Your 2019 Grey Cup champions, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’. A parade through your city, Andrew Harris bringing the Grey Cup to his starving home town, and the two QB system getting it done.
It couldn’t be a more perfect ending.