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CFL Week 10: Toronto Argonauts @ Hamilton Tiger-Cats Preview/Prediction

Week 10 of the CFL season sees the 2-6 Hamilton Tiger-Cats and 4-3 Toronto Argonauts square off in the second of four head-to-head clashes in five weeks.

Part one of the 2022 Battle of the QEW saw the Boatmen storm back down two scores to sail past the Ticats 34-20. On Friday night, an ornery Tiger-Cats team returns to the Hammer and will look to scratch and claw their way back into the Eastern race.

CFL Week 10: Toronto Argonauts @ Hamilton Tiger-Cats Preview

  • Location: Tim Hortons Field, Hamilton, Ontario
  • DateFriday, August 12th, 2022
  • Kickoff7:30 p.m. ET
  • Spread: Tiger-Cats favored by 2.5 points. Over/Under: 46
  • Weather: Clear skies. Low 54F. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph

Including the regular season and playoffs, the Toronto Argonauts have only won two games ever at Hamilton since Tim Horton’s Field opened in 2014. The Boatmen were 1-9 all-time before beating the Ticats 24-23 in the Hammer last October when Nik Lewis’s favorite kicker Boris Bede delivered a 51-yard field goal on the game’s final play.

The Argonauts have a real chance to kick the Tiger-Cats when they are down this week. A loss to Toronto at home would severely damage Hamilton’s hopes in 2022. In that doomsday scenario for the black and gold, the Tiger-Cats would not only fall behind 0-2 in their four-game regular season series with their hated rivals. But it would also send the Ticats tumbling down to 2-7 at the midway point of the season and set them three and a half games behind Toronto with only nine games left to play in their season.

Every time these two provincial rivals meet, it has a must-win feel for both sides. But Friday’s result could have severe ramifications for who emerges as the East’s front-runner this season.

Toronto Argonauts Week 10 Depth Chart

The Argos have penciled OT Dejon Allen into their starting lineup. He is listed as a game-time decision to start at right tackle. Philip Blake will remain at left tackle.

A week after returning to the Argonauts after missing the team’s first six games. Eric Rogers is immediately back on the shelf with a quad injury. Rogers has been placed on the six-game injured list for a second time. Juwan Brescasin, who has not played a down this year, will sit another game out. Brandon Banks is back in the starting lineup against his former team.

Defensively, Toronto will be without standout defensive back Shaq Richardson, and he has been placed on the team’s six-game injured list due to a groin injury suffered in Week 9. Robert Priester, who dealt with a hamstring injury all week, will replace Richardson at the boundary halfback position. Josh Hagerty is back in the lineup to provide depth. And the returning Maurice Carnell IV, who was signed earlier this week.

LS Jake Reinhart is out for six weeks with an elbow injury. Max Latour takes his place.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats Week 10 Depth Chart

The big story coming out of Hamilton this week is Dane Evans’s shoulder injury. Evans has been placed on the one-game injured list. An indication that his MRI results came back positive and that the injury may not be long-term. Matthew Shiltz will take Evans’s place at quarterback. The fifth-year CFL player, Shiltz, has only a handful of career starts but has seen plenty of action this season, rotating with Evans in the lineup. American QB Jamie Newman will back up Shiltz.

Ticat Receivers Bralon Addison (Achilles), Papi White (back/knee), and offensive lineman Chris Van Zeyl (hip) are out for Friday’s tilt with Toronto. Look for 2022 CFL Draft pick Kiondre Smith to see extended playing time with Addison out of the Ticats lineup.

CFL Week 10: Argonauts @ Tiger-Cats Keys

Last week’s final score, 34-20, was very misleading. The Argos and Tiger-Cats combined to score only two offensive touchdowns. Both teams have seen their offenses go through dry spells weekly while their defenses have kept them in games.

 A week ago, the Ticats couldn’t capitalize in the red zone, only scoring once in five opportunities inside Toronto’s 25-yard line. It was the difference in the game. Hamilton had ample opportunities to put Toronto away early, but their inefficiencies in the scoring area and Toronto’s tight defense kept the Boatmen from sinking.

The Tiger-Cats have also struggled in the fourth quarter of games this season, and they have been outscored 95-29 in the final period. Closing drives and games have been Hamilton’s Achilles heel in 2022.

Perhaps Matthew Shiltz could provide Hamilton with a spark this week. He’s already had success against Toronto in the recent past. See last year’s Alouettes 37-16 romp over the Argos in Montreal. In his second career start, Shiltz completed 12-of-18 passes for 212 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Shiltz is playing for a different team now, and Toronto is sporting a different defense than they did in 2021. However, the Argos have had issues against mobile quarterbacks this season. See Caleb Evans and leading 2022 MOP candidate Nathan Rourke.

Toronto’s defense will look to keep Shiltz from escaping the pocket, and they will look to bring more pressure than they did a week ago when they failed to register a sack against Hamilton. The Tiger-Cats had a few opportunities to hit big plays in the passing game last week, but thanks to the wind at BMO Field, they barely missed the mark.

There’s no doubt that Hamilton has studied extensively what should and could work against the Argos’ pass defense on Friday night. And with Shaq Richardson out of the lineup, Shiltz could challenge his replacements by taking shots down the field.

Look for Don Jackson to become more of a focal point in the Ticats offense moving forward. Especially with Bralon Addison out of the lineup. Against Toronto last week, Jackson touched the ball 18 times and had 114 yards and a touchdown. The Argos would love to neutralize Jackson and force Shiltz into second and long situations.

Although, it’s a tiny sample size for second-year head coach Ryan Dinwiddie. He is 3-0 in back-to-back games against the same opponent. However, his game-planning success in rematch games will be tested against Mark Washington’s formidable defense on the road.

Toronto’s run game has been stuck in quicksand their last two games. Opposing teams have figured out the formula to counter Andrew Harris and the Argos ground attack. The Boatmen haven’t been able to make teams pay for their over-commitment on defense.

McLeod Bethel-Thompson avoided some near turnovers against Hamilton last week and played error-free. But the Argos’ offense only produced one touchdown drive against the Ticats defense a week ago. And that drive was aided by a busted coverage by Hamilton that saw Cam Phillips pick up 49 yards.

Toronto’s offensive line has to play better than they did a week ago. And they will need to put forth a better effort than they did a week ago in the passing game when key targets like Kurleigh Gittens were largely invisible.

Mickey Donovan’s special teams were the deciding factor last week against Craig Butler’s Ticats unit. A well-placed punt and a blocked punt led to the trailing Argos scoring nine crucial points to help overtake the game. All totaled, Toronto’s special teams accounted for 19 of the team’s 34 points. Repeating that same effort two weeks in a row can’t be expected.

But in a game where both teams are evenly matched and very similar. Special teams’ play could be the tipping point.

CFL Week 10: Toronto Argonauts @ Hamilton Tiger-Cats Prediction

The Toronto Argonauts have been an up and down team all season long. And sometimes, their down efforts have produced a positive result. See the Montreal game and at Saskatchewan. But to beat Hamilton two weeks in a row, they will need to produce their best effort of the season.

On paper, beating a 2-6 team doesn’t seem too challenging, but it is. Winning back-to-back games in the CFL is exceedingly difficult, especially with the second game being on the road. And the Argos are facing a desperate football team. The last time Toronto faced the same situation, they faltered to winless Ottawa.

Hamilton’s hopes of winning the East division in 2022 are on the line Friday night. That may seem like hyperbole, but the Ti-Cats can’t afford to fall four steps behind Toronto at the mid-season point.

The Ticats have been finding unique ways to lose all season long. But I think they avoid the proverbial nail in the coffin by finding a way to win and beating Toronto in the Hammer.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats 26 Toronto Argonauts 20

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Mike Mitchell Reporter
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