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Canadian Football League: The Edmonton Eskimos were one win away from making it to the Grey Cup a season ago and are expected to be among the contenders once again in 2018. Edmonton finished 12-6 last year, finishing third in the West Division.
They knocked off the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the first round of the playoffs but were knocked out by the Calgary Stampeders in the West Division Finals. Despite that setback, Edmonton returns a lot of talented pieces and could push for both a division title and a deep postseason run.
The 2017 season was a story of streaks for the Eskimos. Edmonton began the year 7-0 but then fell in six straight contests. They got everything straightened out down the stretch, winning five in a row to finish with a healthy overall record.
The Eskimos have one of the best quarterbacks in the CFL in Mike Reilly. He was acquired several years ago from the B.C. Lions and has been solid as the starter. Reilly finished last season throwing for 5,830 yards with 30 touchdowns and 13 interceptions to earn the CFL’s Most Valuable Player Award.. Reilly also led the team in rushing with 390 yards.
His favorite target a season ago was Brandon Zylstra, who hauled in 100 catches for 1,687 yards with five touchdowns. However, Zylstra signed a contract with the Minnesota Vikings of the NFL this offseason so the team lost a good one with his departure.
The Eskimos didn’t have a first-round pick in the 2018 draft but hope some of their later-round choices can contribute. Defensive back Godfrey Onyeka was drafted with the No. 10 overall selection in the second round while defensive back Jordan Beaulieu was selected in the third round.
CFL Odds To Win the Grey Cup at BetCRIS
Calgary Stampeders 2/1
Edmonton Eskimos 6/1
Winnipeg Blue Bombers 13/2
Toronto Argonauts 13/2
Hamilton Tiger-Cats 7/1
Saskatchewan Roughriders 15/2
BC Lions 10/1
Ottawa Redblacks 12/1
Montreal Alouettes 18/1
The Eskimos have the second-best odds at winning the Grey Cup in 2018, though they are bunched closely beside the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Toronto Argonauts, Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Saskatchewan Roughriders on the second tier. The Calgary Stampeders are entering the season as the clear favorites after making the championship a year ago but falling by upset to the Argonauts.
The loss of Zylstra hurts, but Reilly should be able to keep the offense humming, and Matt O’Donnell, the team’s Most Outstanding Canadian in 2017, returns on the offensive line.
Grey Cup Titles
14 -- Edmonton has been a common sight hoisting up the Grey Cup throughout the history of the CFL. The Eskimos have made it to the championship game 23 times and have the second-most titles in history behind only the Argonauts. Edmonton last won the Grey Cup back in 2015 when it knocked off the Ottawa Redblacks by the score of 26-20.
The Eskimos may not be the favorites in 2018 but they have a dominant quarterback, and that always goes a long way in any football league. Look for Edmonton to finish the season with another gaudy record and make a push for the Grey Cup in CFL gambling.
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