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Hamilton Tiger-Cats 2023 Week 1: Game Preview, Depth Chart, and Prediction

Hamilton Tiger-Cats 2023 Week 1

Visiting Team: Hamilton Tiger-Cats (0-0)

Home Team: Winnipeg Blue Bombers (0-0)

Location: IG Field, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Date and Time: Friday, June 9th at 8:30 pm EDT

Where to Watch: TSN in Canada, CFL + on outside of Canada

Expected Weather: Sunny, 20% Chance of Rain, Winds of 20 to 25 km/h

Draft Kings Betting Line: Winnipeg Blue Bombers -4.5 Over/Under 47.5 points

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats start their 2023 season on the road against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Many CFL experts predict that this Week 1 game will be a preview for the Grey Cup 110 championship game. The Tiger-Cats have rebuilt their roster over the offseason, and there will be many new names on the field for Hamilton. Orlondo Steinauer addressed the changes made in the Tiger-Cats lineup, “They are different faces; some of the new faces are inexperienced faces, but we have also added some experienced faces that are new faces.”

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have established themselves as a CFL power annually. The Tiger-Cats expect Winnipeg to come out playing good football, and they expect the Blue Bombers to come out ready to win the game. Steinauer mentioned, “History has said that they will be well-prepared, and we are gonna expect the unexpected.” He also wants his team to focus on their execution and attention to detail rather than focus solely on Winnipeg. Steinauer’s message this week has been, “We have to focus on ourselves and make in-game adjustments.”

Let’s examine five aspects of this game that will determine whether or not the Tiger-Cats can start the 2023 season with a critical win on the road.

Efficiency On Offence

The expectations for the Tiger-Cats offence are high, led by quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell. Hamilton’s starting offence had limited reps in the pre-season, so Mitchell and his receivers need to hit the ground running and play well together. Bo Levi Mitchell stated in an interview, “I see a talented team, but talent does not mean anything without execution.

In Week 1, execution means dealing with one of the best defensive units in the CFL, focusing on everyone doing their job, and making the available plays. Recently, turnovers have been a problem for the Hamilton offence, and ball security, will be critical against the Winnipeg defence. Mitchell stated that the Tiger-Cats offense looks forward to taking on the challenge presented by the Blue Bombers’ defence, “The best challenge that we have is exactly the one that is in front of us.

Tiger-Cat’s Offensive Line Need To Dominate

During the last several seasons, it has been popular to criticize the Tiger-Cat’s offensive line. Hamilton addressed these issues during the off-season and attempted to load their offensive lineup with the best talent available. Veteran offensive lineman Brandon Revenberg is confident that the Tiger-Cats offensive line can find success; he said: “It’s a new year. That is all it is; we are looking at this season’s first game and getting a win.” This week will allow the Hamilton offensive line to show how much they have improved during this off-season.

Apply Pressure To Winnipeg Quarterback Zach Collaros

For the Tiger-Cats to have a chance to get a win in Winnipeg, their defensive units will have to find ways to apply pressure on Zach Collaros. Observers and analysts of the CFL consider Collaros to be the best quarterback in the CFL. If Hamilton cannot pressure Collaros, it could be a long game for an overhauled defensive back unit. During a post-practice interview this week, defensive back Tunde Adeleke discussed this challenge: “Zach is one of the best quarterbacks in this league; he is good on his feet and making almost all the plays on the football field.”

The Tiger-Cats defensive line has added several new players this season, including Jonathon Kongbo this week, and they will need to put pressure on the Winnipeg quarterback. The Tiger-Cats defence will need to play complementary football to get the Blue Bombers off schedule during the game. Most quarterbacks can make plays when comfortable, but an excellent defensive unit can force him into making errors if he is on the run.

Takeaways And Ball Security

If the Tiger-Cats are going to win this game, they will need to protect the ball when they are on offence and get the ball back when they are playing on defence. The Hamilton offence will need to move the ball down the field, but they will also need to minimize risk and not turn it over, especially on their end. Also, if the Tiger-Cat’s defence can force multiple turnovers, then Hamilton’s margin for error increases dramatically.

Injury Situations On The Offensive Line

During this week of preparation, the Tiger-Cats have had to manage a few injury situations. Several players were limited in practice, but most were available for this game. Offensive lineman Joel Figueroa is dealing with a knee injury, but he is listed as questionable and should be able to play at Winnipeg. Two other offensive linemen will be out for this week. Veteran offensive lineman Chris Van Zeyl is managing hip issues, and offensive lineman Alex Fontana is out with a knee injury suffered in Montreal in the second pre-season game.

Game Prediction

Penalties and turnovers tend to come with the first game of the season, so the team that can play well together and minimizes mistakes will have the best chance to start the season with a win. The matchup between Winnipeg and Hamilton will likely be a close game determined by the team that protects the ball. It is also important to note that getting a win on the road in the CFL can be challenging, so Hamilton will need to play fundamentally sound football for four quarters.

Prediction: Winnipeg 24 Hamilton 20

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Aaron Sauter Reporter
Aaron Sauter is a 23-veteran high school football coach that is also an fan of all levels of football. He is especially interested in alternative football leagues like the CFL, UFL, and IFL. Aaron enjoys analyzing innovative schemes on offense and defense during his free time.
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