The Province

THE STAMPEDERS WIN IF ...

- — Todd Saelhof

1 STAY IN ‘NEXT-GAME’ MODE

Since the season began — heck … since last year’s Grey Cup loss in Ottawa — the Stampeders have preached tunnel vision in trying to stay focused on the game right in front of them. They didn’t want to let the emotions of the two straight drops of the CFL championsh­ip creep into their preparatio­n, especially this week in Edmonton.

“We’re not letting the Grey Cup be bigger than the actual game,” said Stamps veteran defender Brandon Smith. “It’s just another game. Yes, it’s the last game of the year and it’s the championsh­ip game. But when you think about all the distractio­ns that come with the game, it can get bigger than what the game should be.”

2 FIND THEIR FOOTING FAST

Nobody’s certain what Commonweal­th Stadium’s turf will feel like come game-time. It was hard and slick in most spots Saturday with work expected to be done on it by a field crew. The trick for the Stamps is to use their knowledge from Friday’s full practice on it — something the Redblacks don’t have after opting to practise indoors — and strap on the proper footwear to get a strong start.

“It’s not the perfect field,” said Stamps safety and return specialist Tunde Adeleke. “Just choose the right shoes for it.”

3 SPREAD THE BALL AROUND

QB Bo Levi Mitchell knows how to win with his arm — his 13 victories with a rotating cast of receivers is proof of that. But Mitchell gets some help for the finale with a bevy of uber-talented receivers by his side, especially the four Americans that the team will likely employ on the field at the same time in what would be a rare move involving player-ratio strategy. Both Eric Rogers and DaVaris Daniels are proven big-game players. And fellow American pass-catchers Chris Matthews and Bakari Grant have shown they can catch in traffic as big targets for Mitchell. Grant essentiall­y played his way onto the roster during practice this week.

4 DON’T LET TREVOR HARRIS TURN INTO RICKY RAY

The Redblacks quarterbac­k isn’t a CFL legend … yet. And it’s unlikely he’ll be able to produce like a legend today against a Stampeders defence that proved oh-so-stingy against the league’s highest scoring offence in the Western final. To recap, it didn’t allow a touchdown. But Harris is coming off a six-touchdown performanc­e in the East final and is likely feeling his oats heading into the Grey Cup game. The usual bend-but-don’t-break performanc­e by the Stampeders should be enough to pace the club to victory, even with Ray’s rallying performanc­e from last fall in the back of their minds.

5 BE WARY OF WILLIAM POWELL

OK, so he’s no Andrew Harris. Or is he? Powell racked up 86 yards on 21 carries for a strong effort in last week’s Western final. That’s after finishing second in the CFL — to the surprise of many — in rushing with 1,362 yards. He can help control the game, which would help keep the Stamps offence off the field and put the Redblacks in control.

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