Slated to kick off in June, the 2022 CFL season is almost here. In last year’s slate of games, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers were able to win the 108th Grey Cup over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Led by Grey Cup MVP Zach Collaros (who was also the regular season MVP), the 11-3 Blue Bombers cruised to a 33-25 victory over 8-6 Hamilton, thus capturing back-to-back championships (they also won in 2019). With this year’s championship game slated for a showdown at the Mosaic Stadium in Regina, Saskatchewan, the 2022 CFL season will feature a ton of amazing clashes.
For this overview, SBS will go over the top three contenders positioned to win the 109th Grey Cup and who will be the team taking home the top honor in November.
|Favorites to Win The 2022 CFL Grey Cup|
|Winnipeg Blue Bombers||+300|
|Hamilton Tiger Cats||+500|
Winnipeg opens the 2022 season as the favorites to repeat as champions. Collaros returns as the leading signal-caller for the Blue Bombers and is angling for his fourth Grey Cup title (2012, 2019 and 2021). In addition to their MVP quarterback, Winnipeg also features wide receiver Rasheed Bailey who notched 629 yards last season to go along with five receiving scores. With a prolific passing attack, the Blue Bombers also will have the services of running back Nic Demski to rely on. A CFL West All-Star in 2021, the Manitoba University product accrued 654 rushing yards and four scores on the ground last season.
Finishing in second place in the West Division last season with a 9-5 record, the Riders had another great year but fell to Winnipeg in the West Final. That said, they still will feature one of the best quarterbacks in the league next season in gunslinger Cody Fajardo. After an acclaimed career with the University of Nevada Wolf Pack, Fajardo has found a steady home with Saskatchewan. The 2019 CFL West Division Most Outstanding Player, Fajardo is a force through the air and on the ground. Though he regressed some in 2021 (after throwing for over 4,300 yards in 2019), he still is one of the best players in the league. If he can stay away from mistakes, then look for the Riders and their stout defense to make a run next season.
The Riders also feature three veteran NFL players on their suspended list who could provide a boost if they become active this year. This includes wide receiver Sammie Coates, running back Jeremy Langford and offensive lineman Seantreal Henderson. A final player to watch on the Saskatchewan squad is cornerback Nick Marshall who played for Auburn as a quarterback. A strong athlete, Marshall could provide some needed support and depth at multiple areas on the Rider roster.
Though Hamilton will no longer feature quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, they still have a ton of talent on their roster to get back to the Grey Cup in 2022. Running back Don Jackson (another Nevada product) is one to watch this season as one of the veteran stars on the roster. Though the native of Sacramento, Calif. only accrued only 245 yards on the ground last year, he is poised to have a big role in 2022. In addition to Jackson, quarterback Dane Evans should slide into the starting role after losing it to Masoli in 2021. Evans has put up big numbers for Hamilton in the past, he threw for 3,754 yards and 21 scores in 2019, so the Tiger-Cats should not miss a beat this year.
In terms of defense, the Tiger-Cats feature two-time CFL East All-Star cornerback Cariel Brooks in their secondary. In fact, Hamilton’s defensive backfield is one of the best in the league and should be the focal point of their defense. Veteran linebacker Simoni Lawrence is the leader of the unit and is a three-time winner of the James P. McCaffrey Trophy (awarded to the Most Outstanding Player in the East Division).
Prediction: Though Winnipeg is aiming for history this year with a potential three-peat on the horizon, it will be Fajardo and Saskwatchewan who will slay their rivals and win the 109th Grey Cup.
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