The Montreal Alouettes come off of the bye week to play another 2-win team in the Stampeders. Both teams have reason to believe they are better than their records.
Montreal Alouettes (2-3): After winning their first 2 games against Ottawa and Hamilton, the Alouettes lost 3 games before their bye week against Winnipeg, BC, and Toronto. Every team the Alouettes lost against currently has won 5 games.
Calgary Stampeders (2-4): The Calgary Stampeders are coming off of a game in which they lost in overtime to Ottawa 43-41.
CFL First Period All-Star Team (Weeks 1-7)
Date/Location: Sunday, July 30 /Percival Molson Memorial Stadium, Montreal, QC
Kickoff Time: 7:30 PM ET, 4:30 PM PT
Channel: TSN (Canada), CFL+(USA, International)
Spread: Montreal -2.5 (-110), Calgary +2.5 (-110)
Moneyline: Montreal +-140, Calgary +120
Over/Under: 47.5 (Over -110, Under -110)
The Visiting Stampeders
Limit Turnovers in the Passing Game
Calgary’s quarterback Jake Maier is 2nd in passing yards in the CFL but he also has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns as he has thrown 8 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. He also has 2 fumbles, 1 of which was lost.
Calgary’s receiving room has numerous contributors who have stepped up into bigger roles since the injury to Malik Henry early in the season. Reggie Begelton has been especially good and has been Jake Maier’s primary target since Henry’s injury. Tre Odoms-Dukes has frequently been his 2nd most targetted receiver. Last week Clark Barnes and Marken Michel both scored touchdowns for Calgary against Ottawa.
Pound the Rock
Dedrick Mills has been very good for Calgary at running back in the absence of Ka’Deem Carey just as he was last year. So far this season he has 330 yards on his 64 carries (5.2 average) and 3 touchdowns. Calgary went away from the run game last week only giving Mills 6 carries.
Mike Rose is coming off a week in which he had the highest Pro Football Focus Pass Rush Grade who leads the team with 5 sacks. Last week Cameron Judge, Mike Rose, Isaac Adeyemi-Berglund, Julian Howsare, T.J. Rayam all had a sack for Calgary.
The Birds Nest
Dangerous Receivers, Return of Tyson Philpot
Tyson Philpot will be playing his first game of the season for the Alouettes. Philpot was a 1st round pick for Montreal in 2022. He showed great development over the season and started the last 3 games of the regular season and 2 playoff games. In Montreal’s playoff loss to Toronto, he had 8 catches for 127 yards and a touchdown.
Austin Mack is 2nd in receiving yards, and Kaion Julien-Grant is 5th in the league. In Montreal’s last game, Tyler Snead had 3 receiving touchdowns. Hergy Mayala is also talented but has rarely been targeted so far this season.
Establish the Run and Stick to It
In week 6, Montreal gave running back William Stanback 10 carries in the first quarter and 12 in the entire game with Jeshrunn Antwi having 4 carries through the game. Montreal only ran 4 rushing plays in the third quarter of that game and 2 in the 4th quarter. In week 5 Stanback was only given 6 carries.
The problem with this is that it creates a very predictable play-calling strategy in which defenses do not need to scheme against the run. This puts more pressure on the quarterback when there is no run support.
Give Up Fewer Sacks
Montreal has given up 5.2 sacks per game so far this season. Last year it was 2.6 sacks per game with mostly the same personnel group at offensive line. Last week when Montreal was committing to the run there were 0 sacks allowed. Montreal then ran 6 passing plays in a row before giving up their first sack of the game. Montreal allowed 4 sacks in the final 31 minutes of the game during which they had abandoned the running game.
Tough Defensive Secondary
The Alouettes’ secondary is going to need to be excellent against the dangerous Calgary passing game. In their last game, Montreal was extremely physical against the Toronto receivers right from the start. With so many receiving weapons for Calgary, the Alouettes’ seconday will need to be sharp. Marc-Antoine Dequoy has been named to the PFF team of the week 3 separate times. Dionte Ruffin has been recognized for this once as well.
All 3 of Montreal’s linebackers Tyrice Beverette, Avery Williams, and Najee Murray have been named to the PFF team of the week at least once.
Welcome to Montreal Shawn Lemon
Shawn Lemon will be making his first start as an Alouette after being recently signed to the team. Lemon was a CFL All-Star last season as he had 102 tackles and 13 sacks in 17 regular season games. Lemon is 13th all-time in sacks in the CFL with 92.
Mustafa Johnson is the current sack leader for Montreal with 3.
Depth Chart Changes From Last Week:
Tyson Philpot will play his first game of the season after spending the first portion of the season on the 6-game injured list due to a leg injury. Quartney Davis, who started the last 2 games at receiver is moved to the practice roster.
Landon Rice, who started each game at right tackle will miss the game due to a hip injury. Jama McGloster will play at right tackle in his place.
Chianti Evans will miss this game due to a leg injury after playing halfback last week. Dionte Ruffin will move from cornerback to halfback for this game and Kordell Rodgers will play at cornerback coming off the practice roster.
Israel Antwine is moved to the practice roster after playing 2nd string defensive tackle last week. Bryce Notree is brought into the lineup to add depth at linebacker.
2022 CFL All-Star, Shawn Lemon is getting the start at the defensive end. Nick Usher has been released who started at the position last week.
I expect this to be an exciting game in which Montreal wins by 1 score. I predict Montreal to win by 35-27.
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