Hamilton Tiger-Cats 2023 Week 2
Visiting Team: Hamilton Tiger-Cats (0-1)
Home Team: Toronto Argonauts (0-0)
Location: BMO Field, Toronto, Ontario
Date and Time: Sunday, June 18th, 2023, at 7:00 EDT
Where to Watch: TSN in Canada, CBS Sports Network in the US
Expected Weather: Partly Cloudy, 30% Chance of Rain, 5-10 km/h Winds
Draft Kings Betting Line: Hamilton Tiger-Cats -2.5 O/U 46.5
After starting the 2023 season with a disappointing loss in Winnipeg, the Tiger-Cats prepare to face a familiar opponent in Week 2. In a second straight road game, the Tiger-Cats will face the Toronto Argonauts in an early edition of the QEW Rivalry. This week is the Argonaut’s first game of the 2023 season, and they will be celebrating their Grey Cup championship victory from 2022. Orlondo Steinauer reflected on the Argonauts championship celebration, “They earned it, they can do what they want, and enjoy it.”
Both the Argonauts and Tiger-Cats have significantly different rosters from the 2022 season. Hamilton’s roster includes former Argonauts defenders Ja’Gared Davis and Chris Edwards, and both teams have new starting quarterbacks. The Tiger-Cats have the advantage of playing a game in Week 1, while Toronto had a bye week.
In the Tiger-Cat’s first game of the 2023 season, they came out slow and appeared to need more chemistry to be considered a championship team in the CFL. In the second half, the Tiger-Cats played inspired football and got themselves back in the game by producing multiple turnovers on defence and special teams. Hamilton will need a better start this week if they hope to rain on the Argonauts championship party to start the season.
While the Tiger-Cats did not get the outcome they were hoping for in Winnipeg, they did come out of the game relatively healthy. Looking at the Hamilton Depth Chart, the Tiger-Cats enter BMO Field at full strength. For the Tiger-Cats to get their first win of the 2023 season in Toronto, the Tiger-Cats will need to focus on a few key areas.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats Offence
For the Tiger-Cats offence, this game will come down to how well quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell performs compared to Argonauts starting quarterback Chad Kelly. In Week 1, Mitchell had difficulty connecting with his top playmakers, wide receivers Tim White and Duke Williams. If the Tiger-Cats can have a better connection this week, the Hamilton offence could have an explosive performance.
The Tiger-Cat’s offensive line played a solid game in Week 1, but they must stay healthy and improve their ability to protect Mitchell. Running back James Butler had an impressive game against the Blue Bombers as a runner and receiver out of the backfield. Steinauer mentioned Butler’s value to the Tiger-Cats offence, “He is here to run the football, but he has a unique skill set after catching it.” Hamilton’s ability to run the ball and control the game’s pace will be important as Hamilton strives to get a road win against Toronto.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats Defence
Hamilton’s defence comes into Week 2 healthy and confident in many of their clear playmakers. In Week 1, linebacker Jameer Thurman had a massive game against the Blue Bombers, and it will be exciting to see if he can maintain that level of play weekly. Sam linebacker Chris Edwards had a defensive touchdown against the Blue Bombers, and the Tiger-Cats will need Edwards to be a source of big plays on defence.
The Tiger-Cats defensive line and backfield struggled to stop the Blue Bombers offence led by quarterback Zach Collaros. This week they face Argos quarterback Chad Kelly, which helped Toronto win the Grey Cup in 2022, but is relatively inexperienced in leading the Toronto offence. Orlondo Steinauer expects Chad Kelly to be a formidable adversary, “He is confident, he is not afraid to make plays when things break down, he appears to be able to make all of the throws, and he makes them well.”
The Tiger-Cats defence must play fast, physical football to stop this Argonauts offence. Linebacker Jameer Thurman mentioned after practice this week, “The first thing is to stop the run and be physical.” Former Argonauts Chris Edwards also said, “We gotta be physical, execute the plays that Coach calls, we have a lot of different coverages in, a lot of different looks.” Hamilton will need to limit the Toronto offence, and force them into making decisions under pressure and produce turnovers.
Getting A Lieg-ghio Up
The Tiger-Cats announced they placed American kicker Seth Small back on the suspended list. In response, the Tiger-Cats have signed and activated National kicker Marc Liegghio who played for the Blue Bombers during the 2021 and 2022 seasons. Liegghio had 37 field goals on 47 attempts throughout 32 games with Winnipeg. He is a former U Sports product, having played at Western University from 2016 until 2019. While playing in 44 games at Western, Liegghio made 115 field goals on 137 field goal attempts.
Tiger-Cats Injury Report
Hamilton has declared that wide receiver Omar Bayless (shoulder), offensive lineman Kyle Saxelid (knee), offensive lineman Tyrone Riley (elbow) will be out for this game. Defensive back Lawrence Woods III and linebackers Penei Pavihi are also out for this game. During the week, Hamilton released wide receiver Jon’Vea Johnson and re-signed him, but he is not on the Tiger-Cats depth chart for this week. Also, Hamilton suspended National defensive lineman Reece Martin.
The Tiger-Cats need to start this Week 2 matchup in Toronto with the same energy they played with in the second half in Week 1. Bo Levi Michell needs to hook up with his wide receivers early and often and get into a flow on offence. Defensively, the Tiger-Cats need to be physical, aggressive and force Toronto into committing turnovers. The deciding factor in this game may be the Tiger-Cats special teams units which allowed Hamilton to get back into the game against Winnipeg.
Prediction: Hamilton Tiger-Cats 24, Toronto Argonauts 21
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