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Grey Cup preview: All eyes on Ontario as Blue Bombers, Alouettes clash

Having started back on June 8th, the CFL season comes to a conclusion on Sunday, November 19th with the Grey Cup.

Each of the nine teams played 21 weeks of regular season football, before six made their way to the playoffs. Now, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Montreal Alouettes are the two left standing.

They will compete for the 110th Grey Cup, which is taking place at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ontario

As it currently stands, Winnipeg are the favorites, but the Alouettes can’t be counted out given their recent performances.

Here is everything you need to know before the game, as well as a detailed preview.

WhatGrey Cup
WhereTim Hortons Field, Hamilton, Ontario
WhenSunday, November 19th - 18:00 ET
How to watchTSN, RDS, CFL+
Odds (Money Line)WPG Blue Bombers -8.5, MTL Alouettes +325 ML

Click here for all you need to know about the Grey Cup, including its history, past winners, and more.

A surprise championship matchup

When these playoffs began, there were two major favorites to make the Grey Cup. One was the Winnipeg Blue Bombers with their West-leading 14-4 record, while the other was East-leading Toronto Argonauts with a 16-2 record. However, the Alouttes had other plans.

The Alouettes stormed Toronto’s home field, taking over in a 38-17 victory. This was not an expected result, but now the hot streak of seven-straight Montreal wins can not be underestimated.

These teams have faced off twice this season, and the Blue Bombers completely dominated. They won both games, outscoring their opponents 64-20, but their most recent meeting was all the way back in August.

Players to watch in the 2023 Grey Cup

At quarterback, we have an enticing matchup. Winnipeg is led by arguably the best QB in the CFL, Zach Collaros. 

He has excelled all season with pocket leadership, efficiency, and a talented arm. He has been a core piece this season, and is the type of quarterback you would want for a ‘winner-takes-all’ type of game. He led the league in passing touchdowns with 33 and finished second in passing yards with 4,263.

In Montreal, veteran Cody Fajardo has also performed well for his squad. 

One of his main attributes has been his legs, and his rushing stats this season (341 yards and three touchdowns on 57 carries) prove that yet again. While he does not have the arm talent of Collaros - Fajardo threw 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions this season - he controls the huddle and works very well within the system.

For Winnipeg, their star running back Brady Oliveira has been the best back in the CFL, and was a major contributor all season and in the West Division Final. He will be looked heavily upon, along with wide receiver Dalton Schoen if he can suit up after missing the Division Final and the team's first practice of Grey Cup week. 

The Alouettes, meanwhile, spread the ball out offensively, utilizing many guys such as running back William Stanback and wide receiver Tyler Snead. They rely more on their defence, which thrives when making sacks, intercepting passes and causing fumbles. Leading the charge on that end include Marc-Antoine Dequoy, Darnell Sankey, and Reggie Stubblefield.

What to expect

This will be an excellent matchup. Both teams have top-notch defence, but there is a major mismatch on offence. This is likely the best and most well-rounded offence the Alouttes have faced enroute to this Grey Cup appearance, and even if their defence is at full force, Winnipeg may be tough to stop.

Winnipeg can spread the ball around efficiently, they have a ton of skilled players, and they do not make many mistakes, unlike the Argonauts did in the East Division Final. If Winnipeg sticks to a strong and structured game plan, they should overcome what has been an elite defence.

On the other side of the ball, Montreal’s offence will likely have to do most of the brunt work to score their points this time. Two defensive scores as well as a special team score is an unlikely scenario in this Grey Cup, so they will be tested at full capacity. Although, strong defence is something that is built within this Blue Bombers team, so it will be tough sledding.

Winnipeg clearly has the advantages in this game, but whatever happens it will be must-watch action.

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