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Grey Cup Predictions...

Guest long keel

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Guest long keel

Now that the Rider's fans have stopped sobbing perhaps its time to start making predictions on Sundays big match.

My guess/hope is the Argo's will win but I doubt the margin will be greater than 3 pts. Special teams will deliver the win.


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Guest long keel

OTTAWA (CP) - It's easy to overlook B.C.'s Antonio Warren.

For one, Warren is a running back in an offence that sports two star quarterbacks and the CFL's top-rated passing attack. And at five foot 10 and 205 pounds, he's considered somewhat small in the world of pro football. But Warren could play a big part in deciding Sunday's Grey Cup game against the Toronto Argonauts ( 6 p.m. EST).

Warren is a dangerous runner. And the Argos have had problems stopping the run.

B.C. was second in the CFL in rushing behind Saskatchewan (139.1 yards per game), averaging 110.3 yards. Warren ran for a team-high 1,136 yards (5.2-yard average per carry) and finished fifth overall in the league.

Toronto was last overall in rushing defence, surrendering a whopping 139.9 yards per game - almost 30 yards more than its closest rival.

The Argos were tough to score against, giving up 21.4 points per game. But with the team's offence struggling so badly (Toronto averaged just 19.3 points per game), rival teams knew good things would happen against a tired Argo defence if they could control the clock.

Warren is a quick slashing runner who doesn't need much of a hole to turn a two-yard run into a 12-yard gain.

What makes him even more dangerous is his ability to catch passes, a big reason why the Lions opted to release Kelvin Anderson - a perennial 1,000-yard runner - in the off-season and replace him with Warren.

Traditionally the run is an afterthought in the pass-happy CFL. But being able to rush effectively becomes important in the playoffs when the weather turns cold and passing is difficult. Rain is in the forecast for Sunday's game, which would add further significance to the ground game.

Despite its rushing success, the Lions are regarded as a passing team because its aerial attack was instrumental in B.C. leading the league in points scored (30.2 per game), touchdowns (63), TDs passing (45), total offence (429.2 yards) and yards passing (351.9 yards per game).

Much of the focus offensively is on quarterback, either sophomore Casey Printers and veteran Dave Dickenson. Dickenson began the year as the starter, but gave way to Printers in July when he underwent knee surgery - his third operation since December. Printers stepped in and immediately took charge, passing for 5,088 yards and a CFL-high 35 touchdowns in leading B.C. to top spot in the West Division.

Slotbacks Geroy Simon and Jason Clermont emerged as the team's top receivers. Simon led the league with 103 catches for 1,750 yards and 14 touchdowns while Clermont was third overall with 83 receptions for 1,220 yards and seven TDs. Both Printers (outstanding player) and Clermont (top Canadian) were nominated for CFL individual awards.

Toronto's defence is very sound against the pass, standing third overall (266.9 yards). The secondary, anchored by veterans Adrion Smith, Orlondo Steinauer and Clifford Ivory, is smart and athletic. Tackle Noah Cantor (10 sacks) is a force up front, as is defensive end Eric England, whose sack of Anthony Calvillo last week knocked the Alouettes quarterback out of Toronto's 26-18 East Division upset win last weekend.

But Montreal made a huge error in judgement when it decided to rely on little-used backup Ted White's right arm rather than attack Toronto's weakness against the run. When asked about his decision afterwards, Alouettes head coach Don Matthews defiantly said his team hadn't been a running team all year and wasn't about to start in the second half of the division final.

But B.C. is a running team and a good one.

And if Printers (who is expected to start) is hurt or struggles against Toronto, then there is no drop-off with Dickenson in the game.

Those factors give the Lions a big edge in what should be a close game.

Prediction: B.C. 28, Toronto 24.

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