Mon 08/06/2015 - 01:49 EDT

2015 CFL Team Previews: Edmonton Eskimos - Eskimos Primed For West Division Title

2015 CFL Team Previews: Edmonton Eskimos - Eskimos Primed For West Division Title

The Edmonton Eskimos finished second in the West Division last season, but were crushed in the West finals by the Calgary Stampeders, who will be their main nemesis once again this season.

Edmonton Eskimos Futures
Odds To Win Grey Cup: +510
Regular Season Win Total: O/U 10 wins

Most Significant Offseason Changes

Quarterback Justin Goltz was signed after playing last year when Mike Reilly went down late in the season and three wide receivers were also added to a loaded corps. On defense the biggest signing was Torrey Davis, who played for Calgary and Hamilton in the last four seasons.

They’ll Be Successful If…

They can have a solid offense to keep up with their defense, which was awesome last season. The Eskimos had the league’s No. 1 defense last season, but they did not have a solid game on that side of the ball in the West Division final losing 43-10 to Calgary. They ranked No. 1 in the league in fewest points allowed, fewest yards allowed, and fewest passing yards allowed.

The big question is can Edmonton beat Calgary? They lost to them four times last season and they have to get that monkey off their back this season, as Calgary are the defending champions and loaded again. Reilly is not the most athletic signal caller and did not put up eye popping numbers last season, but he is the team leader and tougher than tough. Wide receiver Adarius Bowman led the CFL last season in receiving yards and running back John White is back to lead the rushing attack.

They’ll Be Unsuccessful If…

The Eskimos cannot find a way to beat Calgary and their defense digresses. If these two things happen Edmonton will not be playing in a Grey Cup final. Calgary had the Eskimos’ number last season and the games facing them this season will be THE big ones in the West. Bowman has to have another solid season, as Reilly cannot simply carry the team with his arm. Dexter McCoil, who was tied for the league lead in interceptions, and Odell Willis, who ranked third in the league in sacks, have to lead a defense that must be solid again to challenge for the Grey Cup.

2015 Draft Tracker

1. OL Danny Groulx – Laval
2. OL David Beard - University of Alberta
3. LB Adam Konar - University of Calgary
4. WR Andrew Johnson - Fort Lewis College
5. LB Blair Smith - Angelo State University

Outlook

Long time CFL defensive coordinator Chris Jones had a great first season as the head coach in Edmonton and he will have even more success this season. The second year man on the sidelines is a great talent evaluator on the defensive side of the football and that will be the strength of the Eskimos again. Reilly will stay healthy this season and that is also a big key, as Edmonton will take the next step and finally surpass Calgary being the best team in the West Division.

Prediction: First In West Division

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