Edmonton Eskimos (2015: 14-4 SU, 11-7 ATS, 9-9 O/U)
The Edmonton Eskimos will have a target on their back as they look to repeat as Grey Cup champions following a tremendous 2015 season. It will however be a challenge because the offseason was not particularly kind to the Eskimos. Edmonton saw their very smart and winning head coach Chris Jones depart after he completely turned around this franchise in two seasons. He took the head coach and GM job in Saskatchewan but the Eskimos moved quickly and hired a quality replacement in Jason Maas. Maas, a former CFL quarterback, was the architect of a very prolific Ottawa Redblacks offense as their OC last season. He’ll be installing his familiar up-tempo, no huddle offense which the Eskimos embraced during the preseason. The offense was hard to stop late last season as quarterback Mike Reilly developed into an elite-level player. Edmonton does have some personnel issues to deal with though as Jones managed to woo several of his starters to Saskatchewan including WR Kendial Lawrence, WR Shamawd Chambers, OL Andrew Jones and DB Otha Foster. Meanwhile, two key members of last year’s solid secondary left for the NFL with Dexter McCoil (San Diego Chargers) and Aaron Grymes (Philadelphia Eagles) now gone. In addition, starting DL Willie Jefferson will be in Washington Redskins training camp next month and one of their top corners, John Ojo, was lost to a season-ending injury. On the positive side, Edmonton signed veteran receiver Chris Getzlaf from Saskatchewan to bolster an already solid receiving corps. Their entire offensive line remains intact so there is no reason this team shouldn’t have one of the best offenses in the CFL. Former BC Lions head coach Mike Benevides takes over as defensive coordinator so there could be a learning curve at the onset of the season. And it’ll be very tough to duplicate last year’s defensive production. Coupled with Maas’ new and likely prolific offense, I expect this team to play in a lot of high-scoring affairs.
Be a part of Canadian resident Ian Cameron's 2016 CFL campaign. Action gets underway late June and runs through late November. Ian has been a consistent producer in the CFL with 55% winners since joining Sportsmemo in 2012.