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CFL East Division: The land of opportunity for the Tiger-Cats

It would be easy for the Tiger-Cats and their fans to be frustrated with their 2022 season so far. They are currently 0-4, two of those losses were the result of blown leads in the 2nd half against the Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Elks.

Usually, when a team starts with 4 straight losses it is common to write that team off and start thinking about building for the future. But the Tiger-Cats play in the East division of the CFL and the reality is that their future is the present. At this point in the season, the 4 teams in the East have won a total of 2 games. Each team has issues that it must overcome to have a chance to win the division, and any of the 4 teams could be the team that rises and takes control. Let’s take a look at the teams in the East division so far.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats

The Tiger-Cats are currently 0-4, but they have competed well in every game that they played this season. They had commanding leads in home games in Week 2 and 4 but made 4th quarter turnovers that allowed the visiting team’s defence to score and led to their demise. In Weeks 1 and 3, the Tiger-Cats played at Saskatchewan and Winnipeg respectively.

While both the Riders and Bombers pulled away in the 4th quarter the Tiger-Cats competed and had a chance to take control of both of those games. After 4 weeks, the Tiger-Cats have been their own worst enemy. If they can protect the ball, and play fundamentally sound football they have a chance to find success in the next several weeks.

Toronto Argonauts

The Argonauts are currently 1-2 and are coming off their 2nd of 2 bye weeks to start the 2022 season. On paper, the Argonauts are one of the most talented teams in the East division. But so far the talent that they have acquired has been unable to find chemistry to allow themselves to be an elite team in the CFL. Argos quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson has been inconsistent and has 3 touchdown passes and 4 interceptions. He currently has a quarterback rating of 90.1, but the turnovers are a problem if they plan on consistently winning games. With Andrew Harris at running back and Brandon Banks at receiver, the Argos have talent, but they have not shown the ability to take control of the division at this point.

Montreal Alouettes

During the 1st 4 games of the 2022 season, the Alouettes have played the best football in the East division. They are currently 1-3 but that includes a 1-point loss to the Argonauts after the Alouettes missed a short game-winning field goal. Montreal was able to blow out Saskatchewan in Montreal but took a loss from the Roughriders in Regina. Even when the Alouettes did not play well they still were fundamentally sound, and they have 2 solid quarterbacks in Vernon Adams Jr. and Trevor Harris. But in an unexpected move this week the Alouettes decided to fire head coach Khari Jones and defensive coordinator, Baron Miles. The Alouettes GM Danny Maciocia named himself as the head coach.

Ottawa Redblacks

Like the Tiger-Cats the Redblacks are 0-4 for the 2022 season. They have played well at times against high-quality competition including Winnipeg twice, the red-hot BC Lions, and a road game at Saskatchewan. But they have failed to put together a good enough performance to get a win. Ottawa may also be dealing with the loss of starting quarterback Jeremiah Masoli after he suffered a lower leg injury after a controversial hit by a Roughriders defensive lineman Garrett Marino. If the Redblacks end up losing Masoli, their offence will have to make significant adjustments going forward.

So far the 2022 season has been a series of disappointments for the Tiger-Cats, but it has also been a disappointing season for the entire East division. If the Tiger-Cats can come into Week 6 focused on the present, and with the ability to execute a sound game plan then they have as good a chance as any other East division team to win the top spot in the division. The Tiger-Cats seem to be a microcosm of the entire division. They have the potential to be very good but have been unable to display the leadership and consistency required to be considered to be a successful professional football team. After this bye week, the race is on in the East to see which team can make the decisions and adjustments to rising above the rest in the East division.

Follow me on Twitter: @AaronSauter7

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