Now it hasn’t been the best of seasons for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Their nine wins in 14 games is okay and will merit a playoff berth, so it is by no means a disaster but it is hardly awe inspiring. So can the defending champions win their 5th Grey Cup or will it be playoff disappointment?
In the betting markets the Riders are one of the favourites. Bookmakers bet365 rightly have the Calgary Stampeders instilled as favourites, it’s hard not to - the Stampeders have been superb this season. However, from the odds, the Riders certainly have a succinct chance of winning.
Here’s why they will win a fifth Grey Cup
· Darian Durant
o The South Carolina native is one of the best quarterbacks outside of America. Last season he was impeccable, throwing 31 TDs in 18 games.
§ This season he has been blighted by injury but the franchise are optimistic that the former Baltimore Ravens man will be back sooner rather than later. The Edmonton Eskimos game has been pencilled in for his return.
§ Durant is a general on the pitch. He laughs in the face of adversity. If he is fully fit for the playoffs then the Riders are a completely different side.
· Corey Chamblin
o Just as important as the QB is the coach and in Corey Chamblin the Riders have an impeccable coach. He has taken the Riders to the playoffs every season and turned them into one of the most dominant forces in Canada.
§ His years as a defensive coordinator come in handy for the Riders. He has installed in his side a defensive acumen that makes them near impossible to break down.
· If they do get beat it is never easily. To beat the Riders you’re going to have to bleed.
§ A side that is hard to beat certainly has a good chance of victory.
Here’s why they won’t win a fifth Grey Cup
· Calgary Stampeders
o The Stampeders have been absolutely sensational this season, winning 12 of their 14 games.
§ Form breeds confidence and right now the Stampeders are incredibly confident. Now this confidence does not border on cockiness, the Stampeders are better than that. However, they do believe that they are capable of winning every game and will enter the field in this manner.
§ What’s more, is their awesome offence this season. Their 392 points is the highest in the league. On average, they are scoring 28 points a game, which is a darn good total.
o The Stampeders are most definitely the team to beat and sadly it is hard to imagine the Riders beating them.
§ That said, who saw the Riders beating them last year?
· Darian Durant
o The other side to the Durant coin. If he doesn’t fully recover from injury then the Riders are without a top-class QB, you cannot win the Grey Cup with a dud QB.
§ The Riders have had to bring Kerry Joseph out of retirement, that’s how depleted they are at QB. Nothing against the 41-year-old but surely he is too old to offer anything?
It is going to be a stretch for the Riders to make it two consecutive Grey Cups. If Durant is fit then they have a chance, and that is still requiring Chamblin to be at his managerial best. If Durant is not fit then we may as well go home now.