The Montreal Alouettes on Sunday will host their first playoff game in five years when they take on the Edmonton Eskimos in the East Division semifinal. The Alouettes improved their win total by five games over the previous year en route to finishing the regular season with a winning record for the first time since 2012, and hope that star quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. - 10-5 as the starter in 2019 - can conjure up some more magic to help punch Montreal's ticket to the Eastern final.
"We hit two of our goals and now we need to hit this last one," Adams told reporters. "This time last year we were having exit meetings and going home so we can't take this for granted." Edmonton limps into the postseason losers of seven of its last nine games following a 23-13 defeat to the Saskatchewan. The Eskimos staved off a late challenge from the BC Lions to clinch the crossover playoff spot despite finishing two games under .500, and hope that a healthy Trevor Harris, who has missed five of the team's previous six games, can guide the squad to their fifth division final appearance in the last six years. "I feel great and feel better than I have the entire year," Harris told reporters. "These are the games you live for so it will be a lot of fun."
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ABOUT THE ESKIMOS (8-10): Harris missed four games with an injury to his throwing hand before coming back to pass for 321 yards and a touchdown in the 27-24 loss to Saskatchewan on Oct. 26, but was rested in the regular-season finale. C.J. Gable, who led Edmonton with 1,001 rushing yards, returned to practice after missing the last three games with a knee injury and is likely to play Sunday. Edmonton signed six players to its practice roster, including defensive end Jake Ceresna and offensive lineman Josiah St. John, who was the first overall pick in the 2016 CFL Draft, to add depth for a potential postseason run.
ABOUT THE ALOUETTES (10-8): Adams, who will be making his first playoff start, threw for 126 yards and a pair of touchdowns before he was rested in the second half of the 42-32 win over the Ottawa Redblacks. Starting cornerback Tommie Campbell is questionable after missing the last two games with an unspecified ailment while wide receiver Jake Wieneke (lower body) and linebacker Chris Ackie (ankle) are expected to recover from their respective injuries sustained against the Redblacks. DeVier Posey, who was the MVP of the 2017 Grey Cup, will be a game-time decision after sitting out the last two games with a thigh issue while fellow wide receiver Quan Bray is questionable.
1. Adams leads the CFL in total touchdowns (36).
2. Harris has thrown for 1,102 yards and nine touchdowns in his last three playoff games, including the Grey Cup.
3. The winner will visit the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Nov. 17 in the East Division final.