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CFL 2023: Hamilton Tiger-Cats (6-7) @ Toronto Argonauts (11-1) Week 16 Preview/Prediction

Week 16 of the CFL 2023 regular season concludes Saturday night at BMO Field with a playoff-hungry Hamilton Tiger-Cats looking to avoid being swept by their archrival Toronto Argonauts.

CFL Week 16: Hamilton Tiger-Cats (6-7) @ Toronto Argonauts (11-1), Saturday, September 23, BMO Field, 7 PM ET, TSN/CFL+

Point Spread: Argonauts favored by 9.5

Over/Under: 49

Weather Forecast: Partly cloudy skies. Low around 15C. Winds NE at 15 to 25 km/h.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats Week 16 Depth Chart/Injury Report

For Hamilton, running back James Butler (ankle) and defensive back Richard Leonard (head) were on the injury report leading into Week 16 but will be available for the game. Four players won’t be available for the Ticats, including defensive linemen Mohamed Diallo (knee) and Anthony Federico (knee), alongside offensive lineman Joel Figueroa (shoulder).

Former Argos SAM backer Chris Edwards (knee) was listed as questionable but is suited up against his former team.

Toronto Argonauts Week 16 Depth Chart/Injury Report

For Toronto, the list of unavailable players after clinching everything has expanded, but mostly on the offensive side of the ball.

Running backs Andrew Harris (knee) and AJ Ouellette (healthy scratch) are out for Saturday. Harris has been placed on the six-game list and will likely not be available until the playoffs. Other offensive players on the shelf include wide receiver Cam Phillips (groin) and offensive lineman Isiah Cage (hamstring).

RB’s Daniel Adeboboye, Deonta McMahon, and Javon Leake will have extended roles in the backfield with Ouellette and Harris down. Trevon Tate returns to the starting lineup at LT for Cage, while the Argos continue to roll with a Canadian-heavy lineup in their receiving corps with Kurleigh Gittens out for the rest of the regular season. WR Rajae Johnson gets a look in the starting lineup at slotback. Brandon Calver gets the call at fullback.

Defensive back Jamal Peters (groin) was listed as questionable, and defensive lineman Dewayne Hendrix (leg) will surprisingly both be available. It remains to be seen how long both players play.

CFL Week 16 Toronto Argonauts-Hamilton Tiger-Cats Prediction

It’s challenging to break down this game in a normal fashion because of the unique circumstances surrounding it. Essentially, what this boils down to is one team playing not to get injured while the other is playing to win.

Make no mistake: Anytime the Argos and Ti-Cats square off, it always has meaning. But the motivations are much different for both squads heading into Saturday night.

Toronto’s test this week goes beyond squaring off with a Hamilton team that is building momentum for not only a playoff push but for a potential home game in the postseason.

The Argos would love to sweep their regular season series against the Cats at home. And do some damage to Hamilton’s playoff hopes. It would be the proverbial cherry on top for what has been a terrific follow-up season after winning last year’s Grey Cup.

However, beyond one-upping their eternal rival again this season. Toronto doesn’t have the same level of desperation or motivation that Hamilton does at the moment.

This isn’t a must-win scenario for the Argonauts. And while they are saying the right things and will put their best foot forward, in an attempt to not go into complete cruise control until the Eastern Final in November. Toronto’s lineup this week suggests that they are entering the first of what will be a six-game experimental phase before the games count again for them.

The Tiger-Cats are playing good football right now. Quarterback Taylor Powell, who leads the league in completion percentage, has found his groove. From top to bottom, Hamilton has one of the league’s better rosters, and they have proved that with recent wins over Winnipeg and British Columbia.

Quite frankly, I am surprised that the oddsmakers have Toronto as a heavy favourite on Saturday night. I think the Argos, because of Chad Kelly, if he plays four quarters, will have a shot to win. But I believe that beating a team four times is difficult, especially if it’s not a game where you are at full strength in your lineup or, more importantly, mentally.

CFL Week 16 Prediction: Hamilton Tiger-Cats 27 Toronto Argonauts 23

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Mike Mitchell Reporter
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