The Montreal Alouettes play Saturday night in our nation’s capital against the Ottawa Redblacks. They are coming off a 41-12 win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders at home.
Montreal Alouettes (5-3): The Montreal Alouettes have won all 3 of their games since coming off the bye week. Over those 3 games, the Alouettes have outscored their opponents 93-44. Caleb Evans is going to get the start for the second straight game in place of Cody Fajardo who was limited in practice this week with an injury to his left shoulder.
Ottawa RedBlacks (3-6): The RedBlacks are coming off a 31-44 loss to the Toronto Argonauts. They lost the game but there was inspiring play as they had one of their better passing games of the season as Dustin Crum completed 21 of his 26 passes (80.7%) for 292 yards and 3 touchdowns. The RedBlacks did struggle at times in pass coverage as the Argonauts’ receivers were able to get open frequently downfield.
Date/Location: Saturday, August 19 /TD Place Stadium, Ottawa, ON
Kickoff Time: 7:00 PM ET, 4:00 PM PT
Channel: TSN (Canada), CBS Sports (USA), CFL+ (International)
Spread: Montreal -1.5 (-110), Ottawa +1.5 (-110)
Moneyline: Montreal -125, Ottawa +105
Over/Under: 46.5 (Over -120, Under +100)
CFL First Period All-Star Team (Weeks 1-7)
Stop the Run, Lockdown the Receivers, Pressure the Pocket
Stopping the run and containing Dustin Crum from picking up big plays on the ground is going to be pivotal for the Alouettes in this match. It’s very difficult for an inexperienced quarterback to put a good game together if they are denied run support. Montreal’s defense has been extremely effective this season and they have the ability to stop the run, lockdown the receivers, and then bring the heat to Dustin Crum. Shawn Lemon is leading the Alouettes’ pass rush lately and has 3 sacks in 3 games already since joining Montreal.
Ottawa does a lot of short passing plays over the middle since Crum has taken over so the linebackers will need to be ready to close in and make those tackles quickly. Tyrice Beverrette had a monster game last week at outside linebacker generating pressures, and run stops, and had 8 tackles and a touchdown. Frederic Chagnon has also been playing well at middle linebacker since stepping after Avery Williams was injured. How well these two play is going to be crucial.
In pass coverage, it is Kordell Rodgers’ 6th CFL start at cornerback. Rodgers and Kabion Ento have been a very good cornerback duo for Montreal who is rarely giving up any long passing plays. Reggie Stubblefield is another CFL rookie who is entering his 4th start at halfback Saturday and provided multiple breakups last week. Stubblefield and Wesley Sutton starting at halfback have been very effective together. Sutton is coming off another good game himself providing good coverage such as on a deep ball targeting Shawn Bane Jr. last week in the third quarter. At safety, Marc-Antoine Dequoy is starting again and he has been very effective in covering a lot of ground and has been one of the best safeties in the CFL so far this season.
Starting Defensive Line
Shawn Lemon is getting his 4th start since joining the Alouettes and added his third sack last week. Almondo Sewell and Mustafa Johnson are starting at defensive tackle. Johnson had 3 quality pressures last week and knocked the quarterback down twice.
Offensive Game Plan
With Caleb Evans getting his second straight start we are likely going to see a similar offense to what we saw last week which is a rushing football team with a quarterback on a short leash. Last week there were only 8 passing completions on the 13 passes. There were 149 yards but outside of the 2 big plays there were only 25 yards generated from the passing game. Montreal handed the ball off to Jeshrunn Antwi and Walter Fletcher for 22 run plays combined who compiled 120 yards together. Caleb Evans rushed 11 times as well for 60 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Based on what we have seen so far we can expect the Alouettes to come out and give William Stanback the ball extremely often and there will likely not be a lot of passing plays.
Last week’s 13 pass attempts by Montreal were the fewest pass attempts in a game by any CFL team since Hamilton had 12 pass attempts on September 1, 1980! It was the fewest by the Alouettes since 1974.
Pass Protection/ Quick Passing Plays
I expect Montreal to do a good job limiting Ottawa from making big plays and I also expect Ottawa’s defense to have a pretty good game against what could be a rather predictable Montreal offense. Ottawa has had some pretty good games against the run this season and they have had a chance to study film of what Montreal’s offense looks like with Caleb Evans under center. I think this match is going to come down to David Cote’s legs and be won on field goals. I predict Montreal to win this game by a score of 19-16.
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