Edmonton Eskimos at Montreal Alouettes Semi Final Pick
First-year Head Coach Khari Jones and his 10-8 Alouettes are hosting a playoff game for the first time in a long time. The Als are -2 point home favorites over the 8-10 Edmonton Eskimos crossing over from East Division. The total not surprisingly is 51, a very common number this year. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 pm ET at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium.
Edmonton has not lived up to expectations this year, and there is a lot of talk in the media of HC Jason Maas being fired if they don't "do well" in the playoffs. In reality, they're fortunate to be even playing a playoff game. They are not in because they are really good, they are in because B.C., Toronto, and Ottawa were especially terrible this year. Starting QB Trevor Harris was out of the line-up for a few games, but they were playing poorly before that. Mass has totally lost his composure on the sidelines several times this year, has blamed the refs for losses, and has not used his challenges well, and that's being gracious. The Eskimos have been an undisciplined team all year that racks up a lot of yards per game on offense, but doesn't score a lot of points, and takes a lot of penalties. It's no wonder then they've gone 2-3 SU and 1-3-1 ATS since September.
Montreal has known they would finish second in the East since early October, so their recent 2-3 ATS results should be analyzed with that in mind. Their last game against the lowly Redblacks doesn't count for much, even though they covered on a last-second pick-6, neither team played many of their starters, and it was basically a scrimmage. The previous week they were facing a team they knew they would be facing in the playoffs, so once again, the 26-38 road loss should be taken with a grain of salt, since both teams were protecting their players and playbooks. The Als do have a recent 21-17 victory at home against a solid Calgary Stampeders group, which was still playing for the West title.
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The 2019 regular series is tied between these two unlikely playoff opponents, with each side winning a home game early in the season. The Eskimos "eeked" out a win in week one 25-32, and I say "eeked" because Alouette starting QB (at that time) Antonio Pipin injured his leg in the first half, and it looked like he was running on a fried chicken drumstick for the rest of the game (he was eventually mercifully pulled, and Vernon Adams took over, and the rest is history). The Als defense dominated the re-match in
Montreal holding the Eskies to just ten points as the Als covered and won SU 10-20.
Edmonton has shown flashes of champion-like potential at times this year, but it was brief. QB Trevor Harris is undoubtedly a proficient passer. Yet, he always seems to come up "a day late and dollar short", for example, in week three against the Bombers, Harris and his offense dragged the Winnipeg defense up, down, and every way which way except loose across the field, but in the end Edmonton kicked seven field goals and lost the game 21-28. All the pieces are there in Edmonton, but it's up to Maas and Harris to put it all together for one game. When the Eskimos play to their potential, they are a very dangerous team; they could, and in some regards, should win this game.
I think it’s undeniable at this point that Alouettes HC Khari Jones is the main driver behind their recent rise from the ashes. “Players make coaches”, I hear that a lot from former players and I’ve witnessed plenty of evidence over the years to make me want to believe it. Montreal has talent, but that's why they win, they have schemes that work, but that's not why they win, they win because they have a fanatical love, trust, and belief in their Head Coach, and mark my words, you will see Montreal win on Sunday or die trying.
The weather in Canada right now is changing rapidly into winter in most parts of the country, Montreal is close to the arctic air mass, but not in it yet, as of this article the conditions on Sunday are expected to be cold and rainy with some light winds. Still, if that air mass sinks a little bit further South, conditions could deteriorate quickly.
The way injuries have been reported by CFL teams this season; has been less than by the book. I have a feeling the league is going to crack down on the shenanigans next year. Having said that, the most notable, reliable, and potentially impactful injury I can report is Edmonton O-lineman Travis Bond being transferred to the 1-game injured list. Bond is an experienced big body that can pass and run block without taking many penalties, Edmonton is weaker without him out front.
Eskimos at Alouttes Prediction 11/10/19
“Morale is to the physical as three is to one", do you know who said? Napoleon Bonaparte, and there is a lot of truth to that in life, war and football. Montreal has a superior leader in Khari Jones over Edmonton's Jason Mass, and I think even some players on the Eskimos' side realize that. I rarely ever see a team back into the playoffs like Edmonton has and win a big game. The sloppy field conditions favor the "run-and-gun" style of the Als, and everybody “knows” Jason Maas is likely to be fired at season end. Edmonton players don't believe they'll go through the motions on Sunday, but they're waiting for next year. This game, this pick, isn't about scheme, talent, and tactics. It's all about heart, and that's why even though Edmonton is a dangerous team, especially on paper, they won't win the day. Montreal will win this one quite handily, lay the -2 points on the Khari kids.