Week 2 of the 2022 CFL season begins on Thursday night, with the Toronto Argonauts hosting the Montreal Alouettes at BMO Field. This is the season-opener for the Argos, who will take on an Als team looking to bounce back from a hard-fought week one loss to the Calgary Stampeders.
CFL Week 2 Preview: Montreal Alouettes @ Toronto Argonauts
- Location: BMO Field, Toronto, ON
- Date: Thursday, June 16, 2022,
- Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
- TV: TSN/ESPN2
- Betting Line: Toronto Argonauts -3.5, Over/Under: 49.5
- Weather: Thunderstorms earlier in the day to subside by the evening. 82.8 °F 13 MPH Winds
The last meeting between Toronto and Montreal occurred at Molson Stadium on October 22nd, 2021. The Alouettes improved to 6-4 and took control of first place in the East by soundly defeating the Argos 37-16. However, the Als grip on the Eastern division would be short-lived as Montreal would drop three of their last four to fall to 7-7. While Toronto would win the East by finishing the season with nine wins.
The home team in this Eastern rivalry has won 11 of their last 12 meetings, going back to the 2016 season. The lone road conquest came on Aug. 25, 2019, when the Alouettes beat the Argos 28-22 in the Six.
This will be the first of three meetings between Toronto and Montreal during the 2022 regular season. The Argos open and then close their schedule with back-to-back games against the Alouettes in late October.
Toronto Argonauts Week 2 Depth Chart/Injury Report
The Argos are without some key players to start their 2022 campaign.
On offence, Toronto will be without Centre Peter Nicastro, who was placed on the six-game injured list, and Justin Lawrence will start in his stead.
Wide Receivers Eric Rogers, Dejon Brissett, Earnest Edwards, and Juwan Brescasin are also missing in action for the home opener. Second-year CFL receiver Cam Phillips is getting the start at SB. His most important appointment since joining Toronto last summer.
For what it’s worth, the Argos are dressing three quarterbacks. Chad Kelly and Austin Simmons will back up MBT. Simmons is the designated #45th player on the active roster, and CFL teams can use that distinction on a third QB or a second global player.
RB Javon Leake has been called up from the practice roster to provide depth at RB and as a returner. Rookie Dan Adeboboye will team up with Leake behind Andrew Harris as AJ Ouellette sits this one out.
Unfortunately, the injury bug has not escaped LT Isiah Cage after missing most of 2019 and all of last season. Cage is out with a head injury to kick off 2022. But curiously, last year’s starter on the blindside, Dejon Allen, is staying at RT. Trevon Tate is getting the start on the left side instead.
On defence, All-Star SAM Chris Edwards is out serving a six-game suspension. The team will also be without starting cornerback Jamal Peters. Robertson Daniel will get the start at CB opposite Tarvarus McFadden. CFL newcomer Robert Priester draws the unenviable task of replacing Chris Edwards at the pivotal SAM position. Royce Metchie, Shaq Richardson, and Dashaun Amos form a formidable trio on the back end of Toronto’s defence. But they will need to be at their best communicating and aiding the neophytes in the Argos secondary.
Montreal Alouettes Week 2 Depth Chart/Injury Report
There has been some drama at the pivot spot, with some people feeling that Trevor Harris could be breathing down Vernon Adams’s neck if he continues to struggle. For now, VA stays as Montreal’s starting QB.
The last time Toronto played at BMO, they fell victim to a perfect Dane Evans coming off the bench in relief from Jeremiah Masoli. The Boatmen have to prepare for the possibility that their old friend Trevor Harris could be inserted into this game.
Three of Montreal’s week one starters are missing in action. But one of them holds the most significance.
Alouettes running back William Stanback has been placed on the six-game injured list. Jeshrun Antwi will assume starting responsibilities in Stanback’s place after an impressive week one showing off the bench. Newly acquired RB Walter Fletcher will back him up.
Montreal will be without talented WR/KR Mario Alford. Look for former Argo Chandler Worthy to assume some of his duties.
Defensively, the Alouettes will be without defensive backs Greg Reid and Jarnor Jones.
CFL Week 2: Argonauts-Alouettes Game Overview/Analysis
The Alouettes lost arguably their best player last week in William Stanback. The CFL’s league-leading rusher a season ago ran for over 200 yards against the Argonauts late last season. Jeshrun Antwi seems more than capable of respectably filling the void. But Toronto is happy that they are not seeing Stanback in this contest.
Montreal QB Vernon Adams is one of the league’s most polarizing quarterbacks. Pound for pound, many would argue that he is the CFL’s most talented pivot. But his propensity for poor decision-making has recently increased the volume of his doubters.
“Big Play VA” is fully capable of a big game on Thursday night. And truthfully, to ward off the criticism and the job status of himself and maybe head coach Khari Jones, Adams will have to start playing to his immense ability. Big Play VA needs to start becoming Smart Play VA.
The Alouettes have a lot of pressure on them, and many feel that Montreal has underachieved and has not played disciplined football. There could be changes on the horizon forthcoming if the Als don’t start flying right. Team management has already hinted at potential changes if things go south.
The Toronto Argonauts also have a fair amount of pressure on them. The Boatmen are not sailing under the radar to start 2022 like they did a year ago. After winning the East last season, the Argonauts have a target on their back. And Toronto has raised the stakes and their expectations by making a huge splash in the offseason by adding superstar players like Andrew Harris, Brandon Banks, and JaGared Davis.
McLeod Bethel-Thompson is finally entering a CFL season as an unquestioned QB1. But MBT, like Vernon Adams, has his fair share of detractors. A year ago, against Montreal, Bethel-Thompson had his worst game of 2021, throwing zero touchdowns and four interceptions. It’s those types of performances in the past that have the journeyman signal-caller pigeonholed as a stop-gap player rather than a true franchise quarterback. Can MacBeth change his story arc in 2022? He can alter the narrative by starting 2022 on the right note.
Keys To The Game
For Montreal, they need to avoid turnovers and mental mistakes. A tired old cliche, but as it pertains to the Als. It’s been their Achilles heel and what’s kept them grounded as a middle-of-the-pack team.
Vernon Adams could have some opportunities for success against an Argos secondary missing key starters. Players like CFL novices Tarvarus McFadden, Robert Priester, and veteran Robertson Daniel could be tested by the Alouettes’ elite receiving corps headlined by Eugene Lewis and Jake Wieneke.
The last time these two teams met, the Alouettes’ defence flustered the Argos’ passing attack. Defensive coordinator Barron Miles will look to repeat what Montreal did last year to frustrate McLeod Bethel-Thompson and Toronto’s offensive line. Montreal used a variety of different blitzes to confuse the Argos attack. Look for replacement LT Trevon Tate to be tested heavily on the blindside.
For Toronto, a well-rested Andrew Harris likely gets a heavy workload right out the gate. After watching Calgary run effectively against Montreal’s front last week. The Argos could lean on their new superstar runner in his Double Blue debut.
McLeod Bethel Thompson will look to connect with two new targets in Brandon Banks and Markeith Ambles. MBT and Speedy B had timing issues in their first action together in the preseason finale. Kurleigh Gittens and DaVaris Daniels will still be the primary targets in the passing game. But with Eric Rogers out, the new Argos pass catchers need to step up.
First-time defensive coordinator Corey Mace will have a strong challenge ahead of him, matching wits against an accomplished play-caller in Khari Jones. With the secondary missing some key pieces. JaGared Davis, Shawn Oakman, and company will need to bring the heat and force Vernon Adams to take unnecessary risks.
It isn’t easy to pinpoint how Montreal and Toronto will match up on special teams. The Argos’ new special teams coordinator is the Als old one in Mickey Donovan. Does the former Alouette coach have some tricks up his sleeve against his former team?
CFL Week 2: Argonauts-Alouettes Prediction
Toronto is sailing into their home opener under less than ideal circumstances for a team coming off a bye week. Ryan Dinwiddie missed the work week in person due to COVID. The Argonauts also had more injuries than a team would typically have with two weeks to prepare for their first game. The Argos are missing some key players for this contest like Chris Edwards, Jamal Peters, Isiah Cage, Eric Rogers, and Peter Nicastro.
Because of all these factors, Calling for an upset here is tempting. Could a murder be in the cards?
Montreal Alouettes owner Gary Stern has gone on record guaranteeing that his team will “Kill” Toronto on Thursday Night. Toronto losing their home opener would definitely be a buzzkill for the Argos’ lofty hopes in 2022. And while that scenario is certainly a possibility. I think the Boatmen will net a hard-fought victory at BMO Field.