The Alouettes head to Toronto to take on the reigning Grey Cup champions on Saturday. It is the first game of a back-to-back home and away series with the Argos. The last time these 2 teams met was in week 6 when Toronto won a close game 35-27 that came down to the final play.
Montreal Alouettes (6-5): The Montreal Alouettes have lost their last 2 games both against the top 2 teams in the West the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the BC Lions. They will now play the top team in the East for 2 weeks in a row.
Toronto Argonauts (9-1): Toronto has only lost 1 game this season which came in week 9 against the Stampeders. The Argos are coming off a 41-28 win over Hamilton.
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Date/Location: Saturday, September 9 /BMO Field, Toronto, ON
Kickoff Time: 1:00 PM ET, 10 AM PT
Channel: TSN (Canada), CFL+ (USA, International)
Spread: Montreal +10.5 (-120), Toronto -10.5 (+100)
Moneyline: Montreal +410, Toronto -550
Over/Under: 53.5 (Over -110, Under -110)
Alouettes Keys to Victory
Establish the Run, Commit to the Run, and Run the Football
The Alouettes have had a strong correlation with giving up sacks more frequently when they abandon the run. I have written frequently about these predictable tendencies that were present last week as well. Montreal’s offensive line plays better when they are running the football and the passing game has found more success as well. The O-Line has been on its heels at times when the run is abandoned.
Last week Stanback had a 69-yard touchdown run to open the 4th quarter but they had only 1 rush after that play. The passing game completely stalled in the 4th quarter after 271 yards were put up by Fajardo. In the final quarter, there were 3 completions on 9 passes for 37 yards and 2 interceptions.
Quick Progression From Fajardo, Spread the Ball Around
Cody Fajardo needs to go through his progressions and let the defense dictate who to throw to by trusting the open receiver. This season a common theme is 2 receivers getting the vast majority of the targets which to a degree can be isolated and exploited by defenses. Fajardo has also locked on to receivers, particularly in the red zone such as last week in which we saw 2 interceptions on passes trying to force a play to Austin Mack in the endzone in double coverage or triple coverage.
A Big Game From the Lemonator and Friends
Shaun Lemon needs to have a massive game for the Alouettes. Lemon has 4 sacks in 6 games since joining the Alouettes. Mustafa Johnson also has 4 sacks so far this season at defensive tackle and has been very effective in generating pressure on the quarterback in addition to run-stopping. Almondo Sewell at defensive tackle and Avery Ellis are the other 2 starting defensive linemen.
Toronto’s offensive line has not allowed a sack in the last 4 games. Chad Kelly has only been sacked 7 times over his 10 games.
A Big Game From an Injured Linebacking Core
Last week we saw J.R. Reed leave due to a lower-body injury. He is now on the 6-game injured list. Reed was elevated to a starter in place of Najee Murray who suffered a season-ending injury earlier in the season. Avery Williams was limited in practice this week but will miss his 6th game in a row after being the starting middle linebacker.
Montreal is up against a very tough running back in A.J. Ouellette and of course, they also have future hall-of-famer Andrew Harris as the second-string running back. It’s hard to win football games if you can’t stop the run so Montreal will need a big performance from Bryce Notree who is entering his 2nd CFL start and Frederic Chagnon will be playing his 6th start this season at middle linebacker since Avery Williams’s injury.
Good Communication From the Young Secondary
The Alouettes have 3 CFL rookies starting at defensive back. Both of their cornerbacks starting today, Kabion Ento and Kordell Rodgers, began the season on the practice roster. Reggie Stubblefield at halfback was among the players released during final cuts following the preseason and was later brought back and is now slated to get his 6th start. All 3 of these players have shown a lot of talent so far and a good ability to cover the pass. There have been some instances in which there were miscommunications resulting in a receiver not having a man on him and getting open.
Against the dangerous passing offense led by Chad Kelly, there will not be a large margin for error so the communication will need to be perfect.
5 Alouettes to Watch
WR Austin Mack
Mack is just under a thousand yards receiving and is on pace for 1,589 yards which would break the CFL rookie receiving record set by Matt Clark at 1,530 in 1991.
WR Tyler Snead
DE Shawn Lemon
LB Tyrice Beverette
Beverette leads the team in tackles with 51, has 2 sacks, and 3 passes defended. Beveretted has been a cornerstone for this defense.
S Marc-Antoine Dequoy
Dequoy has been one of the best safeties in the CFL so far this season. He has 34 tackles, 3 interceptions, a forced fumble, 2 passes defended, and a touchdown.
5 Argonauts to Watch
QB Chad Kelly
Kelly is an early favorite to be the MOP. He has 2,603 passing yards with 18 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. He has the highest QBR in the league and has also added 165 rushing yards and 7 rushing touchdowns.
RB A.J. Ouellette
Ouellette is 2nd in rushing yards in the league with 124 carries for 710 (5.7 yards per carry) and 4 touchdowns. He also has 13 receptions for 126 yards and a touchdown.
DE Folarin Orimolade
Orimolade has been a QB pressure machine and has generated 9 sacks in 10 games as well as a forced fumble.
LB Wynton McManis
McManis has been very effective at linebacker and leads the team in tackles with 57 as well as contributing a sack, an interception, and 2 passes defended.
DB Robertson Daniel
Daniel is tied for 2nd in the CFL with 4 interceptions. He also has 55 tackles, 2 sacks, 4 passes defended and a touchdown.
Injuries, Depth Chart Changes From Last Week:
The Alouettes suffered more key injuries. Landon Rice is on the 6 game injured list now and has 9 starts at right tackle so far. Jamar McGloster will get the start at right tackle for the third time this season who has played well when called upon.
Greg Ellingson is back on the 6 game injured list after his first game as an Alouette. Kevin Kaya is moved back to the practice roster Jake Harty is starting at slotback this week.
Walter Fletcher is back in the lineup for this week at running back.
Zach Lindley added to add depth behind Marc Antoine-Dequoy at safety.
Chris Moore will play his first CFL game which he will be a second stringer in at linebacker. Brody Buck is moved back to the practice roster.
Montreal has sustained too much adversity in the form of injuries for me to predict them to deal the Argonauts their second loss of the season while on the road. Montreal has also continued to show some predictability with their offense. I do think this will be a lot closer than the odds would suggest. I predict Toronto to win this one by a score of 27-20.
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