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CFL Playoffs Division Final preview: Last year's division finalists meet again

The CFL Division Finals are here, and it is time to get excited, as the Toronto Argonauts and Winnipeg Blue Bombers return after the bye week they earned as division regular season champions.

Battling them will be the Montreal Alouettes and BC Lions respectively, who won their previous games in the CFL Division Semi-Finals. 

It is time to preview the games and see who is likely to find themselves fighting for the 2023 Grey Cup.

A classic East Division showdown

WhoMontreal Alouettes @ Toronto Argonauts
WhenSaturday, Nov. 11, 2023, at 3:00 PM ET
WhereBMO Field, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
How to watchTSN, RDS
OddsTOR -11.0, MON +475 ML

The first of two games is the East Division Final between the Toronto Argonauts and Montreal Alouettes. The game is taking place at BMO Field in Toronto, and the atmosphere should be electric. 

This is the second straight year of these teams playing each other in the East Division Final, and the fourth time since 2010.

Toronto comes into this game as a major favorite with a -11.0 spread, and rightly so. They finished the regular season with a 16-2 record, leading the CFL, and now they even have the rest advantage on top of home field comfort.

Even against a team as hot as Montreal, it would be considered a collapse if this Argonauts team does not reach the Grey Cup, but it is up to them to continue to prove they belong there.

Montreal will be heavily reliant on their defense, which has been their backbone. 

Since September 15, Montreal has not given up more than 23 points, and have averaged 15 points against per game in that seven-game span. 

If they want a chance at winning, this trend will have to continue, and maybe even further improve.

That is because if Montreal is not clicking offensively, it could be their undoing. Toronto will not make the mistakes to allow a mediocre offense to overpower them, so Montreal must be strong when the ball is in their hands.

Toronto is just such a powerhouse, that it seems likely they will have more time on offense which will wear down a strong defense, resulting in a decent amount of points. 

On the other end, they should have no problems stopping an Alouettes’ offense that scored over 30 points just three times all season.

The battle for the West Division

WhoBC Lions @ Winnipeg Blue Bombers
WhenSaturday, Nov. 11, 2023 at 6:30 PM ET
WhereIG Field, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
How to watchTSN, RDS
OddsWIN -4.5, BC +175 ML

Following what should be a great East Division Final, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and BC Lions meet for the West Division Final. This game will be played at IG Field in Winnipeg. 

These two teams are meeting in the West Division Finals for the second straight year as well, but before that they haven’t met since 1985.

Winnipeg comes into this game as -4.5 point favorites. This game is expected to stay much closer than the early game, but Winnipeg has a chance to cover that with ease.

BC played great this season, but they have been showing some flaws defensively, as they have given up 30+ points in their last four consecutive games. This is a major factor that the Blue Bombers could exploit, as they have a great offense.

The run and gun style of play must be changed into a more structured gameplan for BC, but at this point of the season, it seems unlikely. Winnipeg has the chance to dominate this entire game, as they run a much tighter shift.

The expectations are very high in Winnipeg, and they must keep doing what they’ve done all year. Each of the three games this season against each other had a different ending. 

They included a Blue Bombers win, a Lions win, and a Blue Bombers overtime win. Winnipeg has won two of the three games, as they’ve found ways to get the job done.

It is a complete carbon copy of last year’s CFL Division Finals, but now we get to see if history will repeat itself or if we will see some upsets. It will be a great and dramatic weekend of CFL football, warming us up for what will be an even better Grey Cup.

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