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December 31, 2020

Nye’s Crystal Ball: 7 bold predictions for 2021

MontrealAlouettes.com

Here we go again…

It’s another year and another crystal ball.

Let me be honest, when the crew at CFL.ca asked for another one of these, my first thought was ‘ARE YOU KIDDING ME???’

How do you predict anything without watching anybody play football for 13+ months?

But then I remembered… how do you predict anything in January for kickoff in June anyway, and nobody could have predicted what happened in 2020, so let’s look forward to a CFL season and what could be. Even if these are all terribly wrong.

My predictions for 2020, included Paul LaPolice being coach of the year, a rookie RB taking home the rushing crown, the Riders, Bombers, and Alouettes having a set back and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats winning the Grey Cup.

Let’s start there.

HOME TOWN WIN IN THE HAMMER

Usually I end with the Grey Cup prediction but this is where I’ll start. It sets the tone for a lot of what I’m about to write about. I think expect the unexpected is a likely scenario but there has to be room for consistency being a benefit early.

With so much time away, I think teams with consistency at head coach, quarterback, offensive and defensive coordinators will benefit.

And the Hamilton Tiger-Cats were so close in 2019 to a win and they’ll have a very similar and talented roster heading into 2021.

Now, imagine the party in Hamilton if the Tiger-Cats are in the big game?

MILANOVICH / HARRIS A PERFECT MATCH

Trevor Harris will finally be able to work with Scott Milanovich in person in 2021 (Dominick Gravel/CFL.ca)

Scott Milanovich and Trevor Harris are extremely hard working and highly motivated and with an extra year for the two to really dig into the playbook and go to school, this is where my theory of consistency doesn’t match up.

I thought 2020 would be a great year for the duo anyway but with more time to get acquainted, even though that may have been virtually, I think it’ll pay off in the end.

Here’s my dual prediction, the Coach of the Year and Most Outstanding Player of the CFL will be both with the new named EE Football Team.

THE WEST GOES THROUGH ALBERTA

The consistency is there down the QE2 in Alberta and Bo Levi Mitchell finally has time to heal a shoulder that has been extremely difficult for him.

The Stampeders will rebound from a disappointing Western Semi-Final exit in 2019. What about Kamar Jorden getting more time to rehab as well?

This is once again a powerful Stampeder offence that’ll be hard to stop and it’ll be a renewed Battle of Alberta with these games increasingly important to decide which team hosts the Western Final.

STANBACK RUNS TO THE TOP

Andrew Harris has lead the league in rushing for three straight seasons and of course he’ll be a big part of the Bombers offence again in 2021.

However, William Stanback‘s return to the Alouettes is a huge boost to that offence and Stanback will be able to help the Als remain balanced and give Vernon Adams Jr. a reliable run game that will open up so much in play action.

A run average of over six yards per carry will help Stanback rise to the top of the CFL rushing leaders in what could be a great battle between he and the reigning champ.

ANOTHER HUGE YEAR FOR HUGHES

Will Charleston Hughes have a big year in 2021? (Matt Smith/CFL.ca)

Charleston Hughes is a dedicated professional and with news that he and the Riders could be close to signing a new deal, Hughes will get to the quarterbacks again in 2021.

Hughes’ birth certificate is pointless to look at. Hughes has continued to advance his off-season workouts to be able to continue to push his 37-year-old body to compete with guys 10 years his junior.

14, 15, 16 sacks is in the picture again for Charleston who was banged up late last year and still was the top sack man in the CFL.

He’s going for five straight, and he’ll be there again.

LEVELING THE PLAYING FIELD

Hughes will likely not like the fact another season will mean another ‘snub’ for Most Outstanding Defensive Player.

But I’m really looking forward to the playmaker of Patrick Levels being added to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats defence.

The pass rush in Hamilton is superior to the Alouettes and it will allow for more turnovers from players like Levels in Hamilton.

With five sacks and 86 tackles in 2019, I think Levels can find another gear and be given some hardware in Hamilton during awards night.

Yes, this all depends on Levels signing an extension in Hamilton.

SCHEDULE CHANGE = NO CROSSOVER

I’ve made this prediction before. So eventually I have to get this right.

But this time I have a bigger reason, with more divisional games this season, I believe it’ll make a big difference in how the playoff picture sets up.

It’s five games more in each division but it’s five games for both divisions which could bump some teams down in the West and up in the East.

I also think Ottawa and Toronto will be far better and compete with some of the Western teams. I think it’ll take nine wins in the West to make the crossover because eight will tie you with third in the East. I don’t think that happens this year with Saskatchewan, Winnipeg taking a step back and BC being unable to take a big jump.

So, now time to burn this article so there is no proof it ever existed.

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