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Breaking Down the Tiger-Cats vs. Roughriders Matchup in Week 2

Tiger-Cats Game #2

Location: Tim Hortons Field, Hamilton, Ontario

Game Date: Sunday, June 16th, 2024

Time: 7:00 PM EDT

Where to Watch: TSN in Canada, CBS Sports Network in US, CFL+ for International viewers

DraftKings Betting Odds: Saskatchewan Roughriders (+1.5), Hamilton Tiger-Cats (-1.5), O/U 48 points

The Tiger-Cats’ Week 1 was a promising showcase of the changes made in the off-season, particularly the addition of Scott Milanovich. The team demonstrated significant improvements over the 2023 season, with Bo Levi Mitchell throwing for an impressive 300 yards and a touchdown pass, and James Butler rushing for a solid 100 yards. Despite these positive strides, Hamilton fell short to the Calgary Stampeders with a score of 24 to 32.

Last week’s performance was a reminder that success in the CFL is not necessarily about plays that a team can make, but it is more about the plays that teams do not make that determine the game’s outcome. Offensively, the Tiger-Cats missed several opportunities by dropping several passes, including a couple in the end zone, and would have put the Tiger-Cats in a position to win the game. For Hamilton to succeed this week, they will need to continue looking for ways to make plays, but they will also need to take the next step and become a consistent team that avoids self-defeating outcomes.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders enter Hamilton with the momentum of a remarkable 4th quarter comeback against the Edmonton Elks in Week 1. Like Hamilton, the Roughriders faced a slow start on the offensive side, largely due to their struggle to establish a consistent running game. However, their resilience shone through as quarterback Trevor Harris overcame a pair of interceptions to throw for an impressive 305 yards and three touchdowns, leading the Roughriders to a 29 to 21 win on the road to kick off the 2024 season.

Week 2 is an opportunity for the Tiger-Cats and the Roughriders to improve and play a more complete game. For the Roughriders, that means establishing a running game, finding balance in their offence, and maintaining a solid performance on the defensive side of the ball. The Tiger-Cats need their wide receivers to step up and catch more football, especially in the red zone. Defensively, Hamilton needs to find more cohesion and leverage the football to make their opponents’ offence work harder to get into the endzone. This week is also a significant opportunity to pick an early season win at home and win their home opener.

Let’s look at what each team must do this week to pick up a win in Week 2 of the 2024 CFL regular season.

Keys to Victory

Key to Victory #1:  Tiger-Cats Wide Receivers Need to Step Up and Become Consistent Playmakers

During the Tiger-Cat’s offense performance in Calgary, dropped passes neutralized several positive things that Hamilton was able to do offensively. Tim White has established himself as a consistent playmaker for The Tiger-Cats, and he caught six passes for 55 yards, but the passes he did not see significantly impacted the game. Shemar Brides is another receiver who showed the ability to get open but could not finish plays by making important catches in crucial situations.

The Roughrider’s defensive backfield struggled to slow down the Edmonton Elks’ passing game in Week 1, and turnovers by the Elks bailed Saskatchewan out of a slow start. If the Hamilton wide receivers can consistently catch passes, then the Tiger-Cats could get an early lead and have a chance to pick up their first win of the season. The ability of the Tiger-Cats to take what the Roughriders will give them will be their most important area of improvement this week.

Key to Victory #2:  The Hamilton Defensive Front Seven, including our new addition Benoit Martin, is crucial in putting pressure on Trevor Harris. Your performance will be instrumental in our success.

Coming into the 2024 season, the Tiger-Cats focused on completely rebuilding their defensive front seven with younger players with significant upside. Outside of the consistent performance of returning defensive lineman Casey Sayles, the Tiger-Cats’ defensive front needed more chemistry. This week, the defensive line’s top priority will be applying pressure to Roughriders quarterback Trevor Harris.

Given time to get comfortable, Harris has shown that he can get the ball to his playmakers on offense, including Shawn Bane Jr., who had 125 yards receiving and three touchdowns to help the Roughriders overcome a slow start. It may be easier for the Tiger-Cats to shut down Bane Jr. if Harris allowed time to get in a rhythm and get the ball to his playmaker. The Tiger-Cats, including new defensive line addition Benoit Martin, need to find another gear and put pressure on the Roughriders to make plays under duress.

Key to Victory #3: The Game Will Be Won By The Team That Makes The Least Mistakes

In Week 1, the Roughriders and Tiger-Cats were both limited by early mistakes on the offensive side of the ball. The Roughriders were able to overcome those early struggles with some help from Edmonton, which provided them opportunities to make key plays in the second half. Hamilton also had a slow start, but they continued to drop passes throughout the game that would have helped them pull ahead of the Stampeders.

This week, the team that can continue getting the ball to their playmakers while avoiding critical errors will pick up a big early season win. For the Tiger-Cats, Hamilton’s defence plays a crucial role. They need to force the Roughriders into making errors, and they need to make them pay for them on the scoreboard. Saskatchewan needs to find consistency rather than starting slow and depending on their opponent’s mistakes to allow them to get back into the game after getting down early.

Game Analysis and Prediction

The Tiger-Cats need to make a statement by jumping out to a lead early in this game, a crucial move to shake off their early game struggles in Week 1 against the Stampeders. Saskatchewan found their stride against the Elks in Week 1 in the second half, and if they continue that momentum early in this game they will put significant pressure on the Tiger-Cats to make plays. The best case scenario is that the offence of both teams comes out firing on all cylinders allowing for an offensive driven shootout. If each offence can perform at a high level, then the defence that can pressure the opposing quarterback and produce turnovers will be the difference in this game.

Game Prediction: Hamilton Tiger-Cats 28, Saskatchewan Roughriders 27

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Aaron Sauter Reporter
Aaron Sauter is a 23-veteran high school football coach that is also an fan of all levels of football. He is especially interested in alternative football leagues like the CFL, UFL, and IFL. Aaron enjoys analyzing innovative schemes on offense and defense during his free time.
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