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How Will Tiger-Cats Fare in Their Matchup Against Calgary in CFL Week 1?

Tiger-Cats Game #1

Location: McMahon Stadium, Calgary, Alberta

Game Date: Friday, June 7th, 2024

Time: 9:00 PM EDT

Where to Watch: TSN in Canada, CFL+ for International/US viewers

DraftKings Betting Odds: Hamilton Tiger-Cats (-1), Calgary Stampeders (+1), O/U 45 points

The Scott Milanovich era of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats begins on Friday night in Calgary. During the off-season, the Tiger-Cats made several moves to get themselves out of a rut, which included a slow start to the season, qualifying for the playoffs, and then losing in the first round. Naming Scott Milanovich the new head coach of the Tiger-Cats was a significant move to try to shake things up in Hamilton and find a way to take the next step toward winning a Grey Cup championship.

Along with being the first game in the Milanovich era in Hamilton, this Week 1 matchup is quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell’s first opportunity to return to Calgary to face the Stampeders in Calgary. Mitchell started his CFL career in Calgary in 2012 and helped lead the Stampeders to Grey Cup championships in 2014 and 2018. The future CFL Hall-of-Fame quarterback hopes to bounce back from his first season in Hamilton, during which he missed many games due to multiple injuries.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are bringing a fresh lineup to Calgary, a strategic move to keep the Stampeders on their toes. Hamilton looks forward to an offensive boost led by their wide receivers, including recently signed wide receiver Steven Dunbar Jr., Shemar Bridges, and CFL All-Star Tim White, who will be looking to make an impact in this game. Quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell will lead the charge, aiming to connect with his wide receivers, including Tim White. The decision to start Lawrence Woods III over White, the “Designated American” for this game, is a tactical move that allows White to play special teams and sub for other Americans on the field.

The move to start Woods and not White is surprising, because Woods is traditionally a kick returner and defensive back. In addition to the Tim White-Lawrence Woods III situation, Tiger-Cats running back James Butler will be a game-day decision for how much he plays in this game. Butler was limited in practice this week due to a hamstring injury, and he did not play in either of the Tiger-Cats pre-season games.

The Calgary Stampeders come into this looking to show that they are an improved team over the last few seasons. Quarterback Jake Maier will get his first start of the season and will be looking to get the ball to his weapons at wide receiver, including Reggie Begelton and Cameron Echols-Luper. The Stampeders lineup also features former Tiger-Cats defensive lineman Julian Howsare and former Hamilton backup quarterback Matt Shiltz.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats Depth Chart

It is important to note that the CFL Transactions list shows that American defensive lineman Kelle Sanders and American defensive back Mark Milton are new additions to the Tiger-Cats active roster from the practice roster for Game 1. Also, American running back Greg Bell has moved from the active roster to the practice roster.

Calgary Stampeders Depth Chart

Keys To Victory

Key to Victory #1 – Keep the Chains Moving on Offence

The Tiger-Cats and the Stampeders come into this game with a collection of potential playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. For both teams, their quarterback needs to get into a rhythm with their group of receivers and play efficient football in the passing game. Turning the ball over or failing to get first downs puts both teams in a position to give the other offence more possessions, which could become a problem that leads to them getting down early. The offensive unit that does a better job of picking up first downs and extends their drives consistently will have the inside track to start the 2024 season with a victory.

Key to Victory #2 – Win the Battle for the Line of Scrimmage

The ability to stop the run on the defensive side of the ball and run the ball effectively on the offensive side of the ball are qualities of a championship contender in the CFL. If the Tiger-Cats or Stampeders can dominate the line of scrimmage and stay ahead of the chains when they have the ball, they will have a great chance to limit mistakes. Defensively, both teams have new faces on their defensive front seven, and one of these units will need to step up and stop the run.

Key to Victory #3 – Protect the Quarterback

Protecting the quarterback is especially important for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats due to the team’s history of regularly getting quarterbacks hurt. Hamilton will need to protect starting quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell if they hope to have him be the leader of their offence. In 2023, Mitchell struggled with durability, which took away his chance to lift the Tiger-Cats to another level offensively. Regarding sustainability, Stampeders quarterback Jake Maier has succeeded at avoiding big hits and spending significant time on the injured list during the last few seasons. Hamilton’s defensive line has several young, hungry players who expect to terrorize quarterbacks. If Brandon Barlow, Casey Sayles, and Nick Usher can play up to their potential, they may be an X-factor for a team looking to redefine their standard for success on the defensive side of the ball.

Injury Report

Week 1 Injury Reports for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Calgary Stampeders reported by

Player NamePositionInjuryMONTUEWEDGame Status
Dayton BlackOLAchillesDNPDNPDNPOut
James ButlerRBHamstringLimitedLimitedLimitedQuestionable
Nathaniel Dumoulin-DuguayOLKneeLimitedLimitedLimitedAvailable
Carthell Flowers-LloydLBHamstringDNPDNPDNPOut
Luther HakunavanhuWRKneeLimitedLimitedLimitedAvailable
Dewayne HendrixDLAchillesLimitedLimitedLimitedAvailable
Dexter LawsonDBKneeLimitedLimitedLimitedAvailable
Jordan MurrayOLKneeDNPLimitedLimitedOut
Penei PavihiLBAbdomenLimitedFullFullOut
Jamal PetersDBHamstringLimitedLimitedLimitedOut

Due to the injury situations encountered by the Tiger-Cats recently, several players have been moved to the Single Game injured list. Those players moved to the Single Game injured list include:

  • National offensive lineman Evan Johnson
  • American defensive back Carthell Flowers-Lloyd
  • American defensive lineman Kobe Jones
  • American defensive back Jamal Peters

Hamilton has also added two players to the Six-Game injured list, including National offensive lineman Dayton Black and American offensive lineman Jordan Murray.

Player NamePositionInjuryMONTUEWEDGame Status
Daniel AmoakoDBKneeDNPDNPDNPOut
Clark BarnesWRKneeDNPFullFullAvailable
Jason Janvier-MessierDLAchillesDNPDNPDNPOut
Rysen JohnWRHamstringDNPDNPDNPOut
Tyson MiddlemostWRAnkleDNPFullFullAvailable
Kyle SaxelidOLKneeDNPDNPDNPOut
Darius WilliamsLBCalfDNPDNPDNPOut

Game Analysis and Prediction

Based on the Tiger-Cat’s pre-season game performances, they will start to slow on the offensive side of the ball. Hamilton should have an intense pass rush, and their secondary will look for opportunities to create takeaways. The Stampeders offensively will come out ready to run the ball, and Maier will dump the ball off to his weapons under the Tiger-Cats defensive secondary. The outcome of this game will likely be determined by which team can protect the ball and get the most takeaways. On paper, the Tiger-Cats have more potential playmakers than the Stampeders, but injuries could level the playing field.

Game Prediction: Hamilton Tiger-Cats 24, Calgary Stampeders 21

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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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