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2022 Labour Day Classic: Toronto Argonauts @ Hamilton Tiger-Cats Preview/Prediction

The 2022 Labour Day Classic between the Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats will mark the fourth clash in five weeks between the provincial rivals, with the Argos taking two of the three meetings thus far. The home team has prevailed this season in all three of the previous matchups. Hamilton has dominated the LDC series over Toronto. Winning nine of the previous ten LD classic showdowns.

2022 Labour Day Classic: Toronto Argonauts (5-5) @ Hamilton Tiger-Cats (3-8) Preview

  • Location: Tim Hortons Field, Hamilton, Ontario
  • DateMonday, September 5th, 2022
  • Kickoff1 p.m. ET
  • Spread: Tiger-Cats favored by 1.5 points. Over/Under: 50.5
  • TVTSN/ESPN+
  • Weather: Cloudy skies, slight chance of rain. Winds at 10 to 15 mph

It’s rather fitting that the fourth and final chapter of the Argos-Ticats 2022 regular season series would conclude with the 51st annual Labour Day Classic between the two historic franchises.

The Ticats and Argonauts have seen a lot of each other in recent times. Not counting this year’s preseason contest between the long-time provincial rivals. Toronto has squared off with Hamilton in six of their last fourteen games. Including last year’s 2021 East Final. Nearly half of Double Blue’s recent games have come against the Black and Gold.

A year ago, Toronto and Hamilton went to war five times. There’s a chance that a fifth chapter could be written in 2022. But it would have to arise in the playoffs similar to last season.

A Toronto victory in Hamilton could eliminate that possibility. The Tiger-Cats are in must-win mode on Monday afternoon, and a loss to the Argos would not only give their rivals another divisional victory and a 3-1 series edge. But more importantly, it would push Hamilton four losses behind Toronto with only six games for them left to play.

The Ticats path back to a third straight Grey Cup appearance could be severely limited if they don’t hold serve in this series in front of a sold-out crowd at home.

2022 Labour Day Classic: Toronto Argonauts at Hamilton Tiger-Cats Key Notes (Via CFL Media)

  • This will be the 51st edition of this East Division LDC. It will be the team’s final regular season meeting, concluding a stretch of four head-to-head matchups in the past 30 days.
  • With Toronto winning two of the first three games this season, Hamilton needs to win by at least 25 points to own the tiebreaker.
  • Hamilton holds a 36-13-1 grip on the series.
  • Hamilton won nine of the previous ten LDCs with Toronto last winning on September 3, 2012.
  • The Tiger-Cats have yet to lose an LDC at Tim Hortons Field. Their seven-game winning streak is the most in the series (the teams did not play in 2013).
  • Since the 2002 LDC, they have gone down to the final three minutes on 10 occasions. ​
  • In 17 of the past 19 LDCs (since 2002), the team that won the fourth quarter went on to win the game. The two exceptions came in 2017 (Toronto took the fourth 8-7, but Hamilton emerged with a 24-22 victory) and 2021 (Toronto won the fourth 15-7, but lost 32-19).
  • Of the 50 LDCs in the series, 26 have been decided in the final three minutes.

Key Injuries/Depth Charts

Tiger-Cats: Matthew Shiltz QB (Out), Anthony Johnson WR (Questionable), Dane Evans QB (Probable), Ted Laurent DL (Probable), Chris Van Zeyl OT (Out).

If not for Matthew Shiltz’s 4-6 week wrist injury. Hamilton may have turned the keys to their offence completely to him this week.

Instead the Ticats are surprisingly turning to Jamie Newman for this game, rather than Dane Evans. The latter will start this game on the bench, a familiar position for Evans against the Argos in the past. For what it’s worth, Evans is listed as QB3.

Newman is a very talented young signal-caller who is a dual threat but has limited starting experience.

The Ticats are not getting All-Star linemen Chris Van Zeyl back in the fold. He was slated to come off the team’s six-game injured list. But is not ready to go.

In this pivotal matchup with Toronto. Hamilton will be without key players like Simoni Lawrence, Ciante Evans, and the player who single-handedly killed the Argos the last time these two teams squared off in Hamilton. KR/DB Lawrence Woods.

Argonauts: Javon Leake RB (Out), DB Tarvarus McFadden (Questionable), Robert Priester DB (Doubtful), DeVaris Daniels WR (Doubtful), Declan Cross FB (Doubtful), Joe Carbone FB (Doubtful), Dariusz Bladek (Probable), Caleb Holden DB (Questionable)

The Argos have injuries in several key areas. The team is already missing two starters at receivers. The good news for Toronto is that DaVaris Daniels (thorax) will play despite his injury.

Toronto will go another game without a fullback as both Joe Carbone and Declan Cross are not ready to return. The backfield will also be missing Javon Leake. Rookie Daniel Adebeboye could see more work behind AJ Ouellette. Isiah Wright is up from the practice roster to provide depth in rye return game with Leake out.

One area to watch closely is the defensive backfield. Toronto’s depth at CB and S/HB could be significantly challenged. Maurice Carnell IV has done a phenomenal job filling in for Shaq Richardson and Robert Priester at defensive halfback. And will be back starting there on Monday. Tarvarus McFadden, despite being limited will be active for the LDC.

Keys To A Hamilton Victory

Turnovers killed the Ticats in their 37-20 loss against Toronto in Week 12. Hamilton outgained the Argos 452-301 but couldn’t overcome three interceptions and a lost fumble. This season, the Tiger-Cats two losses to the Argonauts saw them squander two-score leads and wither in the second half.

Dane Evans is surprisingly out of the mix in this one. One would assume. Evans struggled making the correct reads against Toronto’s defence last week. There were two missed opportunities for easy majors against Toronto’s defence last week. One came on a dropped pass by Steven Dunbar in the end zone, and the other was a misread by Evans on a wide-open Kiondre Smith late in the game. The missed opportunity came two plays before a game-sealing pick-six by Argos DB Jamal Peters. It will be up to Jamie Newman to capitalize on any opportunities this week.

Getting back to a balanced attack with a genuine commitment toward running the football could assist Newman. Hamilton rushed for nearly six yards per rush in their first two meetings against Toronto. Newman is a threat to run and could have success in the run-pass option game.

Defensive Coordinator Mark Washington needs to find new wrinkles against Toronto’s offence. Late in last week’s loss, the Argos finally started to crack Hamilton’s code.

Implementing new concepts when facing a team for the fourth time is always challenging. But the Ticats need to find a way to force turnovers against an Argos team that has played error-free in recent weeks.

Keys To A Toronto Victory

The last time Toronto faced Hamilton at Tim Horton’s. The team lost its composure, and the tide turned on the Boatmen quickly.

The Argos have not dealt with prosperity well this season. In Week 10 at Hamilton, they had several opportunities to put the home team away but couldn’t and faltered down the stretch in every phase.

A year ago, McLeod Bethel-Thompson, on the road against the Ticats, threw for over 300 yards in the second half and led the Double Blue to a last-second 24-23 victory in the Hammer. Thanks to Nik Lewis’s favorite kicker Boris Bede nailing a 52-yard field goal at the gun.

MBT has to play at that level for Toronto to have a shot to exorcise their demons on Labour Day against Hamilton.

At some point, The Argos need to form some semblance of a ground attack to keep the Ticats’ pass rush at bay. Toronto has struggled immensely to block Hamilton up front.

Corey Mace’s defence has been playing a bend but don’t break style. And it’s paid off for the most part. But Hamilton missed some wide-open opportunities to score a week ago. There’s no doubt that the Ticats went to school on that in preparation for this game.

Toronto’s defensive attack must produce the same pass rush it did a week ago against Hamilton. Two game-changing plays occurred because of the Argos’ pass rush. The Boatmen must find a way to be more creative in disrupting Hamilton’s passing game by creating optimal situations for their best pass rushers. Getting Jamie Newman to rush his throws could be a recipe for success.

2022 Labour Day Classic Prediction

Despite their 3-8 record, all signs point to a Hamilton victory. After all, they are at home, and recent history has favoured them in the LDC against Toronto.

Also, Toronto hasn’t made a habit of putting together two good games in succession this season. Even their lone back-to-back victory this season in Saskatchewan produced an underwhelming performance.

The sensible thing is to go with the home team. But I am, perhaps, foolishly taking the Argonauts in a close game. If the Boatmen are going to finally snap their LDC losing streak. It will be on Monday.

Toronto Argonauts 26 Hamilton Tiger-Cats 25

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