Riders make rare playoff trip to Ottawa
Saskatchewan will oppose Ottawa in the playoffs for the first time since the 1976 Grey Cup game — won 2320 by the Ottawa Rough Riders on a l ast- minute touchdown catch by Tony Gabriel. The latest matchup is Saskatchewan’s first playoff game in Ottawa since the 1967 Grey Cup, in which the Hamilton Tiger- Cats downed the Roughriders 24- 1 at Lansdowne Park. Now, which t eam — t he Roughriders or the Redblacks — will be history as far as the 2017 season is concerned? Simply put, the Roughriders are stronger all- around, as evidenced by their 10- 8- 0 regular- season record. Ottawa received a home playoff game despite its 8- 9- 1 mark. Watch for a nail- biter, considering that Saskatchewan and Ottawa split the season series, with each team winning on the road by one point. The Redblacks’ quarterbacking situation is more settled, thanks to the presence of Trevor Harris. Kevin Glenn is the Roughriders’ starter, but head coach Chris Jones has been prone to replacing the 38-year-old veteran with Brandon Bridge — often at a very early juncture in the game. The approach is unconventional, but it seems to work. Jones is a defensive guru and the suspicion here is that he will somehow find a way to limit the Redblacks’ offence, which is without homebrew receiver Brad Sinopoli. Saskatchewan by one.
SUNDAY, 4: 30 P. M. EST Edmonton at Winnipeg
The Eskimos enter the playoffs as the league’s hottest team, having won five in a row. It has been a topsyturvy year for Edmonton, which won its first seven games, lost the next six, and then won the following five. The Eskimos boast a starstudded offence that is led by quarterback Mike Reilly, who is the best bet to win the CFL’s most outstanding player award. His receiving corps — see: Brandon Zylstra, Adarius Bowman, Vidal Hazelton and Derel Walker — is the l eague’s best and all- purpose tailback C. J. Gable is also dangerous. The Eskimos also have the luxury of facing a Bombers defence that has been porous during the latter stages of the season. Another issue will be the health of Bombers quarterback Matt Nichols, who sat out the regular- season finale as a precautionary measure. When last seen in game action, Nichols aggravated a calf injury without even being hit. The Bombers will need a huge game from their multi- talented tailback, Andrew Harris. Winnipeg has the luxury of home- field advantage at Investors Group Field, where the Bombers’ fans will make themselves heard, but ultimately the Eskimos will make the most noise. Edmonton by five. Last week: 3-1. Overall: 54-23.