Sports Why the Hamilton Tiger-Cats will win the 107th Grey Cup
Rick Zamperin: 2019 Tiger-Cats feel a lot like 1999 Grey Cup winning club
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats will meet the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the 107th Grey Cup championship in Calgary on Nov. 24.Hamilton secured a spot in the Canadian Football League's 107th Grey Cup championship after a dominating 36-16 victory over the Edmonton Eskimos at Tim Hortons Field on Sunday.
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats may not end their 20-year Grey Cup drought in 2019, a couple years before hosting the big game themselves. But they should.
It’s a little poetic: The Ticats thought they had the Grey Cup won five years ago against Calgary and now they’re favoured to win it in Calgary. Here’s why the 107th Grey Cup is Hamilton’s to lose.
1. Depth of playmakers on D
Willie Jefferson is a beast and put up 12 sacks this season. And when Adam Bighill retires, he’ll be considered one of the best linebackers to play for two franchises. But the majority of the defensive game wreckers who take the field on Sunday will be wearing black and gold. And they come from all levels of the defence.
Tiger-Cats look to erase past demons, end 20-year Grey Cup drought
Since their last Grey Cup title, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats have become accustomed to bad breaks.In 2014's Grey Cup, Brandon Banks' late-game, go-ahead touchdown on a punt return was called back because of a penalty.
Delvin Breaux chipped in with 26 tackles and one interception this season. The only reason his numbers weren’t higher is because his reputation proceeds him, and CFL play callers and quarterbacks know better than to test the shutdown corner.
Ja’Gared Davis came over to the Ticats in the off-season and made an impact to the tune of 54 tackles and 13 sacks.
Tunde Adeleke is the best Canadian secondary player in the league.
Jumal Rolle leads the team in interceptions with five and is coming off the bench.
And the team’s nominee for most outstanding defender is linebacker Simoni Lawrence, who had a CFL record 17 tackles the last time he faced Winnipeg.
They have so many defensive playmakers that every play becomes a race to the ball to see who can make something happen first.
Rick Zamperin: 107th Grey Cup matchup dripping with juicy storylines
Football fans will be discussing five major storylines this week leading up to the 107th Grey Cup between Hamilton and Winnipeg this Sunday.But these aren't your run-of-the-mill news tidbits that seem to crop up every time the Canadian Football League's championship game comes about.
2. Similar, but better
In the season series between these two times, Hamilton won both their July 26 matchup at home 23–15 and their rematch in Winnipeg on Sept. 27 33-13. Winnipeg became a vastly different team from that point onwards, but it’s important to note that Hamilton didn’t need to. The Ticats were the best team in the league in the Summer and Fall, and they’re the best team in the league now.
The teams are actually built pretty similarly. Explosive players on offence, and defences that get after the QB and try to turn the ball over. Hamilton has an edge in every related category.
3. Redemption motivation
After the Bombers won back-to-back road playoff games, Winnipeg’s season is already a success no matter what happens on Sunday. For Hamilton, this season is a success only if they finish the deal. Nine players on the current roster were on the team when they thought a Brandon Banks return TD had won them the Grey Cup only to learn the play was called back by penalty. Seizing the opportunity this time around will be a point of emphasis.
Rick Zamperin: Difference makers who will decide outcome of 107th Grey Cup
What is the 'it factor' that separates these teams from the rest of the pack? READ MORE: CFL commissioner says more work to be done to stop domestic violence In Winnipeg, running back Andrew Harris, defensive end Willie Jefferson and new starting quarterback Zach Collaros stir the drink for the Blue Bombers.Despite serving a two-game suspension after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug, 32-year-old Harris laid down one of his best seasons with a league-leading 1,380 rushing yards, 70 catches for 529 receiving yards, and eight total touchdowns.
Often times we evaluate the rosters, but in big games coaching matters. Orlando Steinhauer was one of three rookie head coaches to have double-digit wins this year, leading the group with a league-best 15. He’s the overwhelming favourite to win coach of the year. Mike O’Shea has assembled a strong staff of his own, but I’m not sure if there is a better coordinator trio than Steinhauer’s deputies Jeff Reinbold (special teams), Tommy Condell (offence) and Mark Washington (defence).
With at least two vacancies in other CFL markets, Hamilton might not be able to keep this group together, but that’s not going to stop them from once again putting their players in a position to succeed on Sunday.
5. Great Dane
In his last six starts alone, Dane Evans has completed 72 per cent of his passes for 2,121 yards, 12 touchdowns and just five interceptions. Most importantly he’s 6-0 in that span and 10-2 overall as a starter this season. Since he took over, all the team has done is win. No QB has played better down the stretch than Evans.
6. New QB, who dis?
Zach Collaros on the other hand has been a member of the Blue Bombers for only 49 days. The lack of familiarity and lack of ability to expand the playbook will give Hamilton the ability to key in on certain personnel groupings and formations.
7. Yards after catch
Hamilton has the league’s best receiver in Brandon Banks, who ranks first in the league in receptions (112), receiving yards (1,550) and TDs (13). But he’s far from the only elusive weapon in the Ticats’ pass-catching arsenal. While Banks led the way with 657 yards after the catch, Bralon Addison (558), Marcus Tucker (197), Jaelon Acklin (192) and Luke Tasker (132) all become running backs when they get the ball in their hands in space.
Longtime Winnipeg Blue Bombers fan wants his belt back from Willie Jefferson .
A Winnipeg fan's custom Bombers wrestling belt made its way into the Grey Cup dressing room celebrations and was prominently featured in post-game photos and videos. Carvalho said the entire Grey Cup experience was indescribable as a longtime fan who supported the Bombers through thick and (mostly) thin."The buzz... I'm still buzzin'. Just an absolute loss of words," he said. "I'm just so happy I never gave up on my team."Carvalho said he's hoping to meet up with Jefferson at Tuesday's parade to get the now-famous belt back."Technically, Willie J's still got my belt. That's gotta come back home.
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