The BC Lions travel to Hamilton for their final road game of the regular season. The Lions are coming off a 26-34 loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in overtime.
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Date/Location: Friday, October 6 /BC Place, Vancouver, BC
Kickoff Time: 10:00 PM ET, 7:00 PM PT
Channel: TSN (Canada), CFL+ (USA, International)
Spread: BC -1.5 (-120), Winnipeg +1.5 (+100)
Moneyline: BC -120, Winnipeg +100
Over/Under: 51.5 (Over -110, Under -110)
BC Lions (11-5): The BC Lions lost an overtime thriller last week at home to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. BC currently sits in 2nd place in the West 1 game behind Winnipeg. With Winnipeg now having the tiebreaker due to winning 2 of the 3 head to head matches between the teams the only way for BC to win the Division would be if BC wins both of their final 2 games and Winnipeg loses both of theirs. BC is 5 games ahead of Saskatchewan and has clinched home field in the West Semi-Final should they not win the Division.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats (8-8): The Tiger-Cats are playing their final home game of the regular season and likely will not play at home these playoffs. Hamilton currently sits in third place in the East and is 1 game behind Montreal in 2nd place. Unless Hamilton wins both of their final 2 games of the season and Montreal loses both of theirs Hamilton will be playing on the road in Montreal for the East Division Semi-Final. Should Hamilton win this week and Montreal lose, Hamilton will control their destiny regarding home field in the East Division Semi-Final as their final game of the season is against Montreal.
Lions Keys to the Game
Exceptional Route Running
Last week the Hamilton Tiger-Cats allowed only 179 yards passing in their win over the Roughriders. They had a very high coverage grade against Saskatchewan according to Pro Football Focus. This is a great opportunity for BC’s passing unit to face a strong test in a meaningful game in what is Dominique Rhymes’s 3rd game back after spending 6 games on the injured list.
Protect Vernon Adams Jr.
Vernon Adams Jr. has thrown for over 300 yards in 8 of his last 9 games. He leads the league in passing yards at 4,357 and 29 touchdowns with 16 interceptions. With the playoffs just around the corner keeping the Lions’ starting QB healthy is more essential to their Grey Cup chances than winning either of the last 2 games would be.
Pound the Rock
One concern I have with the BC Lions has been the lack of a ground game. The Lions have the least rushing yards in the CFL in large part due to the fact they have run the ball less than any other team. The Lions also have the 2nd fewest yards per rush in the CFL. It is difficult for a running back to get going at times if he’s not being given the rock. Taquan Mizzell is out this week due to a rib injury so JaQuan Hardy will get the start at running back.
The CFL West Final is likely going to be played in Winnipeg which falls on November 11 and the Grey Cup will be in Hamilton on November 19. The weather can get a little dicey at those times of the year and could result in the passing game being limited by the elements. If that’s the case it’s going to be very important to be able to pound the rock.
Butler’s Revenge (Part II)
The last time these two teams played was on August 26 in BC Place. It was James Butler’s first match against the Lions after leaving them to join Hamilton in the previous off-season. Butler was quite effective rushing 21 times for 118 yards (5.6 average) and a touchdown and also had 3 receptions for 36 yards and a touchdown. Butler may be fired up to play his old team for a 2nd time. This will be a strong test for the Lions’ run defence. It is expected by many that for BC to win the Grey Cup they will likely need to beat both Winnipeg and Toronto who have been exceptional teams at running the football.
Tiger-Cats to Watch
QB Bo Levi Mitchell
Mitchell played his first game last week after spending much time on the injured list. He completed 4 of his 6 passes for 129 yards and a touchdown before Matthew Shiltz took over for the rest of the game.
RB James Butler
Butler is 2nd in the league in rushing yards with 220 rushes for 1,049 yards (4.8 average) and 7 touchdowns. Butler also has 56 receptions for 480 yards and a touchdown.
WR Tim White
White is 2nd in the league in rushing yards with 68 receptions for 1,157 yards and 6 touchdowns.
WR Terry Godwin II
Has 59 receptions for 744 yards and 5 touchdowns this season.
WR Nic Demski
Demski has 963 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns. If Demski crosses the 1,000-yard threshold it will be the first time a CFL team has had a Canadian reach 1,000 yards rushing and a Canadian reach 1,000 yards receiving in the same season.
CB Demerio Houston
Leads the league in interceptions with 7. He also has 48 tackles, 4 passes defended, and a touchdown this season. Houston is listed as questionable on the injury report due to a knee injury and did not practice on Tuesday or Wednesday.
S Stavros Katsantonis
Katsantonis had the highest coverage grade from PFF last week among defensive backs and also got his 5th interception of the season last week.
CB Richard Leonard
Leonard was the 7th highest graded defensive back last week in PFF’s cover grade. He has 3 interceptions and 7 passes defended this season.
DT Casey Sayles
Sayles has 47 tackles and 5 sacks this season. Sayles generates pressure against the pass that is exceptional among defensive tackles.
Last Week’s Depth Chart:
The last time these two met Hamilton shocked the Lions in week 12 defeating them 30-13 in BC Place. I expect BC to be out for some revenge and to win this game by a score of 30-18.
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