The Stampeders were a few yards from cementing the Grey cup victory last year but it was not meant to be, as the Argonauts beat them 27-24 in the final. The defending Western Conference champions are the favorite to win the Grey Cup this year but it will again be a dogfight to the finish. QB Bo Levi Mitchell has all of his weapons and now has another familiar face with the signing of WR Eric Rodgers. 2018 CFL Season Preview and Grey Cup Odds (West Division).
Rodgers, who spent time with San Francisco of the NFL for the last couple of years, wasn’t active due to injury in 2017. He will only improve the second ranked offense in the CFL. On the defensive side of the ball Calgary lost a couple of top players in DB Joe Burnett and DB Tommie Campbell, they added replacements in DB Adam Berger and DB Emanuel Davis. Many of the CFL clubs are a lot better on the defensive side of the ball this year but Calgary will try to maintain their number one status.
Last season: 13-4 record lost to Toronto in Grey Cup
Key Departures: DB Joe Burnett, DB Tommie Campbell and RB Jerome Messam
Key Pickups: OL Derek Dennis, WR Eric Rodgers, DB Adam Berger and DB Emanuel Davis
Odds on winning Grey Cup plus 280*
Season Win Total 12 1/2*
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The Eskimos look like they were not going to be stopped last year but they had more than an injury bug hit the club as they had well over 20 starters down midway through the year. If they can stay healthy this year and that is always a big IF, when talking CFL football, they will definitely give Calgary all they can handle again. The best QB in the CFL Mike Reilly will once again lead the Eskimos and he will have a full year of RB C J Gable handling the running game, which should be a big help to the offense. WR Brandon Zylstra has went to the NFL and last year’s leading receiver in the CFL will be a huge loss to Reilly and the Eskimos.
The Eskimos did a great job in re-signing the majority of their defense who were ranked number six in points allowed last year. They must improve this year for them to take down the Stampeders.
Last Season: 12-6 record lost to Calgary 32-28 in West Final
Key Departures: WR Brandon Zylstra
Key Pickups: DL Alex Bazzie
Odds on winning Grey Cup plus 500*
Season Win Total 11 1/2*
Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Winnipeg has taken a huge hit at QB, as Matt Nichols will be out for the first six games of the year. QB Dan Lefevour retired so now it will be up to Chris Streveler and Alex Ross to compete for the job. The Blue Bombers scored the most points in the CFL in the regular-season at 554 but their defense gave up the most passing yards in the CFL. Now that Nichols is down the defense will have to step up and they picked up the right guy to help in DB Chandler Fenner.
Fenner was fantastic in BC last year, he can only help a much-maligned Blue Bombers D. Winnipeg looked like a team that was going to compete with Calgary and Edmonton, and with the Nichols injury that leaves them as a big question mark.
Last Season: 12-6 record lost to Edmonton in West semi final
Key Departures: DB T.J. Heath LB Kyle Knox DL Jamaal Westerman
Key Pickups: DB Chandler Fenner
Odds on winning Grey Cup plus 650*
Season Win Total 11 1/2*
Saskatchewan Rough Riders
Saskatchewan may have the best one/two punch at quarterback in the CFL with Zack Collaros and Brandon Bridge. It will remain to be seen if they can carry a very solid Rough Rider club to the next level. They added RB Jerome Messam and his 1016 yards and he will only help a Saskatchewan club who were dead last in rushing yards last year. On the defensive side of the ball, DL Zack Evans will help stop the run and the trade of Charleston Hughes to Saskatchewan will only help Willie Jefferson get to more quarterbacks. Who knows maybe this year Saskatchewan will cross over and come out as East Champions, and get to the Grey Cup.
Last Season: 10-8 record lost to Toronto in East Final
Key Departures: WR Nic Demski DE A.C. Leonard
Key Pickups: RB Jerome Messam DL Zack Evans DB Charleston Hughes
Odds on winning Grey Cup plus 700*
Season Win Total 8 1/2*
B C Lions
The Lions fell on hard times last year missing the playoffs for the first time since 1996. This year will be the last for HC Wally Buono and you know this club will play their heart out for him. However, in this stacked Western Conference we are not sure if it will be enough. The Lions actually signed from our account 14 free agents from other clubs. OL Chris Greaves and veteran OL Joel Figueroa lead the pack. However, for us, it will all depend on QB Jonathan Jennings and RB Jeremiah Johnson to keep this offense rolling and not make the mistakes of last year. The loss of DB Louchiez Purifoy and DB Chandler Fenner are a big blow to a team that was third against the rush.
It is a reasonable forecast to project that Lions will try to outscore their opponents this year as we are not sure how this revamped defense will make out.
The Lions may have trouble getting back to the playoffs this year.
Last Season: 7-11 record missed playoffs
Key Departures: DB Louchiez Purifoy DB Chandler Fenner DB Ronnie Yell
Key Pickups: OL Chris Greaves OL Joel Figueroa
Odds On winning Grey Cup plus 1200*
Season Win Total 7 1/2*
*odds Coutesy of Bovado and BET 365
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2018 CFL Season Preview and Grey Cup Odds (West Division)