CFL Division Semi-Final Picks

Usually in this space you'll find the Power Rankings. Well, a change for the playoffs as I'll put my neck out there and make my predictions.

West Semi-Final - Calgary @ Edmonton

The Battle of Alberta is once again a part of the playoffs. The last time these two teams went toe to toe in the playoffs was in 2009 when the Stampeders edged out Edmonton 24-21. But this time the game is being played at Commonwealth Stadium and the Eskimos should have the edge, although running back Jerome Messam's availability is in question.

Here's what it really comes down to. Who do you want leading your team into a playoff game; Ricky Ray or Drew Tate, in his fourth career start? I believe everybody is taking the two-time Grey Cup Champion.

If the Stamps are going to win, they will need to have Jon Cornish dominate and control the football. Cornish's success with allow Tate to use the play action and make the Eskimos defence read and react, slowing that defence down.

The Eskimos defence would love to hit Tate early and get the young QB rattled and they have the men do it with Marcus Howard, Rod Davis and Greg Peach (who is expected to return to the line-up).

I'll take the home team led by Ray. Final score: 26-20

East Semi-Final - Hamilton @ Montreal

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have to be a scary opponent if you're the Alouettes. The Tabbies beat the Als twice this season, splitting the season series 2-2. The good news for Montreal is both losses to Hamilton came at Ivor Wynne Stadium.

If I were doing the power rankings, I would still have the Tiger-Cats in the 8th spot. I hate the two QB system. No rhythm, no groove, no consistency is a big problem. They need it all against the Alouettes.

Both teams limp into the playoffs. The Tiger-Cats are 1-5 in their last six and the Als are 2-3. Montreal's 43-1 embarrassment in B.C. in the final week of the season will have them frothing at the mouth to kick the tar out of Hamilton.

Brandon Whitaker is going to be a huge factor in this game. He is a great outlet for Anthony Calvillo and he can really make the Alouettes offense hit another gear like Avon Cobourne did for them the last couple of seasons.

My big concern for the Alouettes is Stevie Baggs and Justin Hickman coming off the edge with no Josh Bourke at left tackle. If they are allowed to rattle Calvillo, there is an upset in the making.

It's just too bad with rotating quarterbacks and intense crowd noise, the defence of Hamilton will be on the field for 2/3 of the game.

I don't bet against Calvillo. Final score: 33-17