Finally the CFL regular season begins this week. I can’t wait for the action to get underway Thursday with the Bombers hosting the Eskimos at six thirty. Friday sees the Riders host the Argos at seven and then to finish off week one we get some double header action with the Stamps welcoming Hamilton at five and Montreal is in B.C at eight. So, before all of that gets going I’m going to make my predictions for the CFL West Division regular season.
West Division Standings:
1. Calgary Stampeders (13-5)
2. Saskatchewan Roughriders (12-6)
3. Edmonton Eskimos (11-7)
4. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (8-10)
5. B.C Lions (7-11)
Those are my predictions for the final standings after the 2018 regular season in the West Division. A QB going down for any of these teams could drastically change how all of this pans out. It doesn’t seem as though many teams have proven QB depth with the exception of Toronto, Saskatchewan and Edmonton off the top of my head. But barring any major injuries here is why I have each team where they are.
There has been quite a bit of turn over with the Stamps especially with a few notable offensive lineman and their backup QB Andrew Buckley retiring and of course safety Josh Bell switching over to the coaching side. There could be some speed bumps early in the season while the new guys figure it out but until someone knocks the Stamps off the top of the West Division I trust John Hufnagel has made moves to make this team another serious contender and they deserve to be in the number one spot.
The Riders made some big moves to beef up their defensive line and try and find some solid QB depth. Charleston Hughes playing defensive end with Willie Jefferson on the other side could be an insane combination. Hughes may be getting up their but he is still a prolific pass rusher. The two of them are going to be trouble for QBs around the league. Adding Zack Evans in the middle of the line was a huge move too. I think the Riders will have the best defensive line in the league. Where it gets a little murky is at the quarterback position. If Zach Collaros had come out and lit the preseason on fire I may have put the Riders at first in the West. I just need to see more from him before I put all my eggs in the Collaros basket. But as long as him or Bridge can find the great Riders receiving core then the Green and White should be one of the top two teams in the West.
The Eskimos can never be overlooked with the best player in the CFL playing quarterback for their team. A healthy Mike Reilly means the Eskimos are cup contenders. Realistically any of the top three teams in the West are my top three candidates to win the Grey Cup. The Esks defense is also a force every season so the combination of the best QB in the game and a good defense spells trouble for any team Edmonton goes up against. Edmonton is going to need a few new receivers to step up and get a great year from C.J Gable and if those two things happen it could be a big season for the team.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Bombers fans aren’t going to like where I have them but with their starting QB missing the opening few games it just puts the Bombers behind the eight ball and I just don’t think they are going to be able to catch the top three teams in the west. I do think they will crossover into the East Division for the playoffs though. It’s not necessarily that I think the Bombers are a bad team, I just think that the other three teams above them in the west are really good. Andrew Harris is going to have to carry this team with Nichols out and still when he gets back from injury. Where Harris goes this team goes. I think it is possible he gets 1000 receiving and rushing yards this season. The Bombers could still be a force but I think if they are going to get to the Grey Cup it is going to have to be through the crossover.
The B.C Lions are victims of playing in a very good division and not being a great team. The Lions were seen as a contender last season before it got underway but were a total flop. I just don’t feel Johnathan Jennings has the ability to read a CFL zone defense properly and he was exploited throwing 19 interceptions in 15 games. I don’t think the Lions made many moves to make me think that they are going to be serious players in the juggernaut CFL West Division. Jeremiah Johnson and Chris Rainey are going to have to be absolute beasts in the run game and special teams to help their QB out. If they can’t do that it could be another last place finish for the Lions.
I’m so excited for another season of CFL football. It truly is one of my favourite leagues. This is how I view the West Division playing out but there are so many variables that it is more for fun than anything. However, if I’m correct obviously it was all calculated. Thanks for reading! The East Division predictions will be out tomorrow.