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Berg vs. Ferg is back for 2019 as columnists Pat Steinberg and Marshall Ferguson debate over some of the league’s most contentious storylines. This week’s question: Which team is peaking at the right time?
TORONTO — Many times, winning a Grey Cup isn’t about who’s best. It’s about who’s hot at the right time.
The Toronto Argonauts and Ottawa REDBLACKS are recent champions that can attest to that, catching fire in November and running the table despite failing to win more than half of their regular season games.
Last year the Calgary Stampeders went through a lull in October, losing three straight games from Oct. 13-26. Then, when November arrived, they didn’t lose again.
Through the highs and lows of a six-month season, what happens between June and September can often have little consequence outside of playoff races. Many call it ‘peaking at the right time’, progressing week to week as the season goes on.
For the Stamps and Ticats, the stars appear to be aligning. Calgary has its franchise quarterback in the lineup and has won four straight, with plenty of room to grow. Hamilton, meanwhile, is getting improved play from Dane Evans, with the hope of some reinforcements (Delvin Breaux, Luke Tasker?) down the road.
Which team is crescendoing towards a deep run in November? Steinberg and Ferguson debate in the latest Berg vs. Ferg.
|BERG VS. FERG: LAST TIME’S RESULTS
Last time, Berg and Ferg debated over Jon Jennings and James Franklin.
Poll Result: Is the crossover an easier path to the Grey Cup?
Last Week’s Poll:
Steinberg: No (61%)
Ferguson: Yes (39%)
Damn, that Ka’Deem Carey news hurts, but not nearly as bad when you consider who the Calgary Stampeders have back in the lineup and prepared to make a run towards a home Grey Cup appearance.
If you put Bo Levi Mitchell on any team in the CFL I believe they instantly become better because – like the best quarterbacks – Bo has the ability to make those around him better when placed in the right surroundings.
Put Bo on the reigning Grey Cup Champions rested and motivated following a frustrating stint on the injured list for the first meaningful period of his CFL life and you quarterback ready to light the CFL’s West on fire.
I’ll admit, it’s been a slow and steady awakening for the Stampeders offence since Nick Arbuckle returned to the bench, but this question is all about peaking at the right time and the Stampeders know how to do this.
Of all the seasons they’ve had, this group is arguably the most primed and mentally prepared to take a run at the end goal after an up and down regular season which saw a home loss in Week 1 to Ottawa, a stunning overtime loss to the Alouettes and a near season sweep at the hands of the Tiger-Cats. That’s the past, this is the present and the new reality is that Bo is back and ready to make a move on the 2019 Grey Cup, his first chance to win one at home after years of frustration playing the game’s final matchup out East.
It would elevate his status to a new height in Calgary. He knows it, we know it. Buckle up.
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have been one of the CFL’s best teams all season long, but that doesn’t mean they’re not getting better. In fact, the way things are trending right now, it’s fair to say the Ticats are playing their best football at the most important time of year. If that trend continues, an appearance in the Grey Cup for the first time in five years could very much be in the cards.
No one wanted to see reigning East Division Most Outstanding Player Jeremiah Masoli go down with a major injury. But Dane Evans has stepped in and gotten the job done in admirable fashion since taking over full-time from Week 8. What’s really promising is what we’ve seen from Evans of late, because he’s playing at a level far above just an understudy.
Because of so many injuries at running back, this Tiger-Cats’ offence relies heavily on the aerial attack. That’s allowed Evans to get a ton of passing reps in recent weeks, and he’s started to really dial in. Evans has 30 or more attempts in six straight starts and has gone over 300 yards passing in four of his last five. With Brandon Banks and Bralon Addison firmly entrenched as elite receivers, this Hamilton passing game looks to be hitting peak form.
Also encouraging is Hamilton’s health situation. Out since Week 8, elite lockdown corner Delvin Breaux has returned to practice, which should give a boost to an already impressive defensive unit. On the offensive side of the ball, the Ticats expect to have receiver Luke Tasker back in the fold at some point before the end of the year, too. The addition of Tasker gives the aforementioned Evans another extremely reliable weapon.
Finally, it’s not like Hamilton has a cupcake schedule to finish the regular season. Between now and Week 21, the Tiger-Cats have tough matchups against Winnipeg and Montreal on the road to go along with a home date vs. Edmonton. With this team really hitting top gear, they’ve got some tough, competitive games down the stretch to keep them sharp. All things considered, Hamilton looks to be playing the type of football needed to go on a deep playoff run.
While both sides are pretty convincing, someone’s got to take it. Whose argument convinced you the most?
The winner will be revealed in the following week’s Berg vs. Ferg.