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CFL Week 3: Montreal Alouettes (1-0) Player Thoughts, Odds, Injuries, Preview, Depth Chart, Prediction

The Montreal Alouettes are 1-0 coming off their bye week to visit the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. David Cote and Najee Murray shared their thoughts ahead of the game.

Montreal Alouettes (1-0): The Montreal Alouettes won their season opener 19-12 over the Ottawa Redblacks. Cody Fajardo had the 2nd highest QBR in week 1 to begin his career as an Alouette as he completed 14 of his 21 passes for 261 yards. It was a game in which both teams were showcasing good run stopping as Montreal limited Ottawa’s starting running back, Davonte Williams to 36 yards on 11 carries (3.3 average).

Hamilton Tiger-Cats (2-0): Hamilton had a tough schedule as far as the strength of their opponents. In week 1 they visit Winnipeg which has been the hardest place to win on the road these past few seasons, then in week 2, they play Toronto who won the Grey Cup for their home opener. 

Cote’s Corner

Thoughts from Montreal Kicker David Cote. 

Looking back on the win against Ottawa and reflecting on the fact that he outscored Ottawa’s total point production with his 4 field goals.

“I was feeling great, there is no better way to start the season! It wasn’t perfect but we found a way to get the W! That’s not something I realized that I scored more points, but I don’t play for those stats. I go on the field when my name is called, some nights it’s more often like during that game, sometimes it’s less! Honestly, I’m just happy I contributed to the win. The goal is to be 1-0 every week and that’s what we did last week.”

Thoughts on playing Hamilton in Tim Horton’s Field with its reputation as a wind tunnel:

“We might change our game plan a little bit again Hamilton this week, but it’s gonna be minor changes. We played well on special teams and we want to continue that way. It’s always a challenge to play over there because of the wind. Whenever I play a wind game, I just focus on my technique which I can control! Wind is also for both teams so you just have to deal with it!”

Najee’s Notes

Thoughts from Montreal defensive back, Najee Murray.

Najee Murray was named to Pro Football Focus’s Week 1 Team of The Week. Here are his thoughts reflecting on this honor:

“PFF has been around for such a long time even back when I was in college and I’ve been following it since then. It’s going to increase the competition and give kudos to players who deserve it every week. It feels good to be featured on PFF, especially in week one & obviously competing against a great group of players.“

Thoughts looking forward to the road game against Hamilton:

“The team and myself are feeling ready to play at Hamilton in their home opener especially having this week off to fine-tune our skills from week 1 and come out hot again. The biggest thing this season is going to be consistency. Can we show up every week and continue to become a little bit better each week. I think it will be a great test on the road in that atmosphere.”

Game Details:

Date/Location: Friday, June 23 / Tim Hortons Field, Hamilton, ON
Kickoff Time: 7:30 PM ET, 4:30 PM PT
Channel: TSN (Canada), CBS Sports (USA) CFL+(International)
Odds: 

Spread: Montreal +2.5 (-110), Hamilton -2.5 (-110)

Moneyline: Montreal +115, Hamilton -135

Over/Under: 44.5 (Over -105, Under -115)

Montreal Alouettes @ Hamilton Tiger-Cats Breakdown

Looking ahead early in the season one of the storylines was the quarterback battle between Cody Fajardo and Bo Levi Mitchell. Both quarterbacks have recently left teams in the West Division and now play for East Division teams. Cody Fajardo for Montreal was the West Division All-Star in 2019 and Bo Levi Mitchell was given the same honor in 2018. Bo Levi Mitchell is not starting for Hamilton due to injury. Instead, Matthew Shiltz will be playing under center for Hamilton. In week 1 Shiltz came in the game with under 6 minutes left and completed 13 of his 14 passes for 115 yards and a touchdown.

Montreal has a very different-looking receiving room than last year’s. It will be interesting to see who becomes Cody Fajardo’s favorite target for Montreal. Montreal has 2 rookies in Austin Mack and Keshunn Abram. Cole Spieker’s first CFL season was last year and Friday’s game will be his 4th career start. Kaion Julien-Grant started every game last year for Montreal while Hergy Mayala started all but 1 game which was missed due to injury.

James Butler is also a new member of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats after a terrific year with the BC Lions. On the season thus far, Butler has 27 carries for 126 yards (4.7 average) and also has added 9 receptions for 60 yards.

Montreal’s runningback William Stanback was a CFL All-Star in 2021 and 2019 and has had 2 weeks to prepare for a bounce-back game after averaging just 2.7 yards per carry in week 1 which was the lowest among starting runningbacks in that week. He carried the ball 16 for 43 yards. This did look to be more so a case of Ottawa playing well rather than Stanbackk playing poorly but Montreal fans will want to see more production regardless.

Montreal had a good defensive performance in week 1 limiting Nick Arbuckle to completing 19 of his 35 passes for 177 yards and 3 interceptions. They also held Ottawa to just 40 yards rushing from their running backs. The Alouettes had the highest PFF defensive grade in week 1. Nick Arbuckle struggled in both of his games this season so the Al’s defense will be aiming to prove that their success led to his struggles in their upcoming games rather than the other way around.

Montreal has great skill players on their special teams as well and saw their kicker, David Cote, punter Joseph Zema, and returner Chandler Worthy be the 3 special teams players named to the Pro Football Focus Team of the Week in week 1.

Montreal Players to Watch:

#31 William Stanback, RB

Stanback is one of the best running backs in the CFL. He’s had 2 weeks to think about his 2.6 yards per carry in week 1. He could be playing with some real fire as a result of this.

#81 Austin Mack, WR

Mack’s first CFL reception was a 61-yarder. The Ohio State product caught 4 of his 6 targets for 120 yards in week 1. His performance had him named to the Week 1 PFF Team of the Week in week 1.

#17 Cole Spieker, WR

Spieker was not targeted in week 1. The Alouettes did not attempt many passes in week 1 so there were few targets to go around. Spieker had 10 catches for 171 yards in 2 starts last year.

#2 Avery Williams, LB

Was named to the Pro Football Focus Honor Roll in week 1 during which he led the team in tackles with 8 and also added a special teams tackle.

#4 Ciante Evans, DB

Evans had 2 interceptions, 2 tackles, 1 tackle for a loss, and a pass knockdown in week 1. His performance earned him the highest Pro Football Focus player grade in week 1 at 85.7 and he was named to the PFF Honor Roll.

#12 Najee Murray, LB

Murray had the second most tackles on the team with 7 and 1 tackle for a loss in week 1. He was a big part of Montreal’s big defensive performance and as a result, was named to the Pro Football Focus Team of the Week.

#95 Israel Antwine, DT

Antwine was the only player to have 2 sacks in a single preseason game this preseason. He is listed as a second-string defensive tackle for this game. At some point, the ex-Jacksonville Jaguar is going to be making some big plays when called upon.

Montreal Alouettes Injury Report/Game Status:

Nafees Lyon is the only player with an injury designation on the injury report. He is listed as questionable due to a knee injury. He has now been placed on the 6-game injured list on June 22.

Montreal’s depth chart is the exact same as it was in week 1.

Depth Charts:

Score Prediction:

Montreal has had 2 weeks to prepare for this game after a big home opener against Ottawa. I expect Hamilton to put up a good fight and expect Matthew Shiltz to play well for them at quarterback as he has demonstrated very good quarterback play in week 2 and in the preseason. I do expect Montreal to win this game. Montreal’s offense should just keep getting better as its new receivers get more familiar with their new quarterback. 

I predict Montreal to win 23-17.

author avatar
Jonathan Clink Reporter
Jonathan Clink joined CFL News Hub in early April of 2023. His primary responsibilities are covering the BC Lions and Montreal Alouettes. He self awarded himself the CFL Rookie Journalist of the Year in 2023 following the 2023 CFL season. He also proclaims himself to be a "really cool guy". He was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and lived a large portion of his childhood in Northwest Ontario. He currently lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan and misses being being able to have 4 months of skating every winter. Clink has written over 240 articles for CFL News Hub. He was the publication's boots on the ground at the 2023 Grey Cup in Hamilton. Clink has always had an obsession for sport and has a background in other sports as well having played hockey all his life and soccer, basketball, and lacrosse in high school. As a young child he used to log his hockey statistics after every game which is either an indication that he was destined for the role or perhaps and indication that he is rather strange.
2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Davey Keon

    June 23, 2023 at 11:30 am

    Sounds about right,but you never even mentioned Ellingson or Philpot . Mack was great for sure

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