One of the most historic trophies in North American sports will be fought for on Sunday, as two of the storied franchises in the Canadian Football League battle it out for professional football immortality. 108th Grey Cup – Winnipeg Blue Bombers vs. Hamilton Tiger Cats (12/12/21) | How to Watch, Start Time
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats, who have been around since the early days of the 20th century, comes into their 22nd Grey Cup, still looking for their first title since 1999, and ninth in the franchise’s history. They had a bumbpy road to get to the final game in 2021, finishing second in the East Division with an 8-6 record. However, after winning four of their last five regular season games, the Ti-Cats continued their momentum in the playoffs, beating the Montreal Alouettes in the division-semis, before beating their hated rivals, the Toronto Argonauts, in the division final to make it to their second consecutive Grey Cup.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are starting to look like the dominant force that they were back in the 1980s and 1960s. The 11-time champions are poised to become the first back-to-back Grey Cup champs since the Alouettes won it all in both 2009 and 2010. The Blue Bombers were the best team in the CFL during the regular season, surging to an 11-3 record, and enter their 25th Grey Cup appearance after outlasting the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the Western Division Final.
Winnipeg is 11-14 in Grey Cup games, with their win last season snapping a six-game losing streak in the championship game. Since the Hamitlon Tigers and Wildcats merged back in 1950, they have gone 8-13 in the Grey Cup, having lost in their last three appearances, including a disappointing loss the Bombers in the last Grey Cup in 2019.
This will be the 10th time the two franchises have met in the Grey Cup, with Winnipeg going 6-3 against Hamilton.
What: 108th Grey Cup (CFL)
Who: Winnipeg Blue Bombers vs. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
When: Sunday, December 12
Time: 6:00 p.m. ET
Where: Tim Hortons Field (Hamilton, Ont.)
The 108th Grey Cup will take place on Sunday, December 12 with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers facing off against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Tim Horton’s Field in Hamilton, Ontario.
This is a rematch of the previous Grey Cup contest in 2019 when the Bombers won 33-12 as 4-point underdogs. This time Winnipeg is the favorite with Grey Cup odds opening with the Ti-Cats as 4.5-point home underdogs before shifting to +3.5.
When these teams met up in the Grey Cup two years ago the Bombers ran away with the title, outgaining the Ti-Cats 408-355, controlling the clock for 11 more minutes, boasting a plus-4 turnover differential, and eventually winning by 21 points. These teams also tangled in the season opener with the Bombers winning 19-6 at home while limiting Hamilton to 297 yards of offense and forcing three turnovers.
This was a bizarre start to the CFL season with so much rust for every team due to time away from the field, so I’d put more stock in their Grey Cup matchup even if it took place more than 24 months ago. Both lineups are virtually identical with Dane Evans even back as the Ti-Cats starting QB after backing up Jeremiah Masoli for much of the season.
Evans replaced Masoli in last weekend’s East Final against the Argos and led Hamilton to a comeback win, completing all 16 of his pass attempts for 249 yards and a score. That come-from-behind victory was emblematic of Hamilton’s season with the Ti-Cats battling through adversity for much of the year and finishing with an 8-6 record before beating the Alouettes 23-12 in the Eastern Semi-finals.
The Ti-Cats had a stingy defense during the regular season, holding opponents to the second-fewest yards per pass attempt (7.3) and fewest yards per rush attempt in the league (4.2). That said, their offense struggled at times with their receivers having a tough time consistently getting open and their offensive line surrendering 40 sacks.
That’s bad news against a Winnipeg pass rush led by a pair of All-Star defensive ends in Willie Jefferson and Jackson Jeffcoat. The Bombers boast one of the best defensive units in CFL history, holding opposing passers to just 6.4 ypa and forcing 27 turnovers while having seven starters named as division All-Stars. Their offense also had seven starters selected as All-Stars and that’s not including 2019 Grey Cup MVP Andrew Harris who missed half the season with injuries but rushed for 136 yards in Sunday’s West Division Final against Saskatchewan.
The Bombers struggled to put away the Riders in that contest, eventually winning 21-17 but failing to cover the 8.5-point spread. However, it was a comedy of errors in the first half for Winnipeg who turned the ball over five times, including twice at the goal line. Bombers QB Zach Collaros who led the league with a 111 passing efficiency during the regular season and threw for 20 touchdowns against just six interceptions, was picked off three times in the opening half — including a perfect touchdown strike to Nic Demski that the normally reliable slotback popped into the air.
The Bombers were nothing short of dominant this year. They went 11-1 SU and 8-4 ATS with an average scoring margin of plus-15.7 points per game until they locked up first place and rested starters for the final two weeks of the regular season. If they hadn’t repeatedly shot themselves in the foot against the Riders they would have blown them out as well and they look like a good bet to cover this spread on Sunday, even with the Ti-Cats playing in front of a home crowd.