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CFL Week 7 Preview: Toronto Argonauts (4-0) At Hamilton Tiger-Cats (2-3) Game Notes, Depth Charts, Prediction

Week 7 in the CFL sees the defending Grey Cup Champion Toronto Argonauts looking to go 5-0 for the first time since 1960. However, they are heading to Hamilton to face a Tiger-Cats team who has won two straight games to course-correct their season.

CFL Week 7 Preview: Toronto Argonauts (4-0) vs. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (2-3), Friday, July 21, 7:30 pm ET, Tim Hortons Field, TSN, CFL+ (U.S./International)/TSN1050 Toronto

Point Spread: The Toronto Argonauts are 7-point road favorites. Over/Under: 49

Projected Weather Forecast: A mostly clear sky. Winds NW at 10 to 15 mph. Low 25°C

Toronto Argonauts-Hamilton Tiger-Cats Week 7 Injury Report

The Argos will go into Friday’s game with some notable absences on their defensive line. Thomas Costigan (ankle), Shawn Oakman (undisclosed), and Benoit Marion (thigh) are out. Edge rusher Folarin Orimolade (knee) is available for Friday night’s contest. But Toronto is awfully thin up front. They are dressing only six defensive linemen.

Offensive tackle Isiah Cage (thigh) will miss another game for the Argos, while middle linebacker Jordan Williams (knee) is also inactive despite getting some limited work this week in practice. Jonathan Jones will start again at MLB.

The Ti-Cats will be without receiver Tyler Ternowski (ankle). Hamilton will also be without for another week. Offensive lineman Alex Fontana (knee), running back Sean Thomas-Erlington (hamstring), and defensive lineman Dylan Wynn (knee). All three were eligible to come off the injured list but will sit another game.

Hamilton Offensive lineman Chris Van Zeyl (non-football related) and defensive lineman Jarrod Hewitt (knee) are questionable and game-time decisions.

Quarterback Matthew Shiltz (hip) has been placed on the six-game injured list after suffering an injury in the team’s win against the Edmonton Elks in Week 6. The Tiger-Cats will start Taylor Powell in his place.

Star DB Tunde Adeleke (hamstring) has practiced in full this week and is good to go.

Toronto Argonauts Week 7 Depth Chart

Offensively, the Argos offence is unchanged from Week 6. The same can’t be stated for the defence which has Thomas Costigan and Shawn Oakman out this week.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats Week 7 Depth Chart

CFL Week 7: Argonauts-Ti-Cats Game Notes (Courtesy of CFLPR)

  • Toronto will meet Hamilton for the 246th time since 1950. The Ticats lead 140-103-2 in the rivalry. Since 2018, the Tiger-Cats are 5-2 vs. the Argos at Tim Hortons Field, but Toronto has won seven of their past eight meetings overall.
  • The Tiger-Cats and Argos have met twice this year. Once in the preseason on May 27th with Hamilton winning 27-22. And in Week 2, Toronto won their home opener 32-14 over the Cats. After Friday, the two eternal rivals meet twice more in the regular season, on Labour Day in Hamilton and then in Week 16 in Toronto.
  • Andrew Harris (10,237) needs 48 rushing yards to catch Charles Roberts (10,285) and enter the Top-5 all-time.
  • Chad Kelly recorded his first 300+ yard passing game (351) last week. He also set a career-high in TD passes (three).
  • Hamilton’s James Butler accumulated 167 yards from scrimmage last week, including 127 rushing yards. It was his fifth time eclipsing the 100-yard mark and his first with the Ticats.

Keys To The Game For Hamilton

HAMILTON CANADA MAY 27 Taylor Powell 0 of the Hamilton Tiger Cats sets up to pass against the Toronto Argonauts at Tim Hortons Field on May 27 2023 in Hamilton Canada Photo by John E SokolowskiGetty Images

Ti-Cats offensive coordinator Tommy Condell needs to find a way to make life simpler for Taylor Powell in his first-ever CFL start. Going to school on how the Alouettes countered the Argos’ aggressive blitzing scheme last week would be a favorable approach.

Powell had some success coming off the bench last week against Edmonton, and he played very well against the Argos in the preseason. The Eastern Michigan Alumni completed 20 of 26 (76.9%) passes for 298 yards and two touchdowns against Toronto. However, in that scenario, Powell faced off against mostly backups playing a vanilla scheme.

On Friday night, Powell will have the kitchen sink thrown at him by Corey Mace’s defence. Therefore, it’s imperative that Hamilton gives their neophyte pivot simplistic and quick blitz-beater passing options. Cody Fajardo and the Alouettes screened the Argonauts to death to camouflage their pass-blocking inefficiencies and to offset Toronto’s aggressiveness.

Hamilton needs to find a way to continuously get the ball in the hands of their two best playmakers, RB James Butler and WR Tim White. The dynamic duo’s effectiveness could open things up for the Ti-Cats’ other weapons.

With Toronto thin upfront down three defensive linemen, Hamilton needs to stay patient with their ground attack and try to wear the Argos down, and in turn, keep their defence honest.

Defensively, the Cats need to slow down the Argos’ ground game for four quarters. Opposing teams have struggled to tame Toronto’s rushing attack for a full game.

Hamilton’s elite defensive playmakers, Jameer Thurman, Simoni Lawrence, and former Argo Chris Edwards, need to be on top of their game as game wreckers. Forcing an ultra-confident Chad Kelly into mistakes would be the recipe for success.

Keys To The Game For Toronto

Part of what has made Toronto so deadly this season is their aggressive nature on both sides of the ball. But the byproduct of that, at times, is a propensity to play undisciplined.

The Argos lead the CFL in penalties and have a quarterback in Swag Kelly, who is fearless in running and throwing the football. A week ago, Kelly was nearly flawless, but his one flaw, which has shown up a few times this season, is trying to play hero ball. In either not sliding when scrambling or throwing across his body, trying to fit throws into coverage that very few others can.

When playing on the road in Hamilton, you must avoid mental lapses that can shift momentum. The Boatmen’s overconfidence can backfire against them.

Against Hamilton’s offence, the Argonauts need to slow down James Butler and make the Ti-Cats one-handed. Corey Mace’s group has to make Taylor Powell’s life on second downs as complicated as possible.

CFL Week 7: Toronto Argonauts @ Hamilton Tiger-Cats Prediction

At some point, the Argonauts are going to lose this season. They are in the midst of what is, for all intents and purposes, a four-game road stretch.

The Double Blue dropping their first game in Hamilton is a plausible possibility.

Although, the Argos handled Hamilton fairly easily in their 18th banner-raising home opener. The Ti-Cats are a better team now than they were five weeks ago, despite them being down to option C at quarterback. The team is stronger now defensively and, more importantly, on their offensive line than they were when these two teams met in the Six.

Hamilton should have a counterpunch for what they saw from Toronto earlier this year.

What makes the Ti-Cats dangerous is that they do have elite difference-makers who have stepped up greatly in their last two wins.

For all those reasons, I think we get a close game on Friday night in the Hammer.

Prediction: Toronto Argonauts 25 Hamilton Tiger-Cats 23

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Mike Mitchell Reporter
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