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Montreal Alouettes (6-6) Week 15 Preview: Darnell Sankey’s First Game as an Allouette, Prediction, Depth Chart, Injuries, Odds

The Alouettes host the Toronto Argonauts Friday night after losing in Toronto 39-10 last week. It is the third and final meeting between Montreal and Toronto for the regular season. In their other meeting, the Argonauts won in Montreal in week 6 by a score of 35-27.

Montreal Alouettes (6-6): The Montreal Alouettes look to end a 3-game losing streak that saw them lose to each of the top 3 teams in the CFL including the Blue Bombers, the Lions, and recently the Argonauts. Montreal is 0-6 against the CFL’s top 3 teams while being 6-0 in all other games. Montreal will have linebacker Darnell Sankey in their lineup for his first game as an Alouette following the recent signing.

Toronto Argonauts (10-1): The Argonauts can clinch the top seed in the East division if they win Friday. Toronto has won the East Division the last 2 seasons. If Toronto wins it will also be their first time having an 11-1 record. Toronto will be without defensive back Robertson Daniel and wide receiver Kurleigh Gittens Jr. who have both been placed on the 6-game injured list.

Other Articles:
Mike Mitchell’s CFL Week 15 Power Rankings
CFL 2nd Period All-Star Team (Weeks 8-14)
U Sports Canada West Football: Week 1 Team of the Week
Canadians in the NFL Preseason Performances, Final Cuts
CFL Midseason All-Star Team, Awards
First Period CFL and Divisional All-Stars
@JonathanClink on Twitter

Game Details:

Date/Location: Friday, September 15 /Percival Molson Memorial Stadium, Montreal, QC
Kickoff Time: 7:00 PM ET, 4 PM PT
Channel: TSN (Canada), CFL+ (USA, International)

Spread: Montreal +6.5 (-105), Toronto -6.5 (+115)

Moneyline: Montreal +250, Toronto -310

Over/Under: 52.5 (Over -115, Under -105)

Alouettes Keys to the Game

Establish the Run

The Alouettes need to establish the run. Last week they only handed the ball off to their runningbacks 7 times as Walter Fletcher had 5 carries for 10 yards and William Stanback had 2 carries for 6 yards. A pattern this season is abandoning the run and 7 run plays compared to 30 pass attempts was another example of this pattern. Montreal will need to get the ground game going without William Stanback as he is on the 1-game injured list.

Quick Progressions From Fajardo

Cody Fajardo completed 21 of his 24 passes last week for 236 yards and a touchdown. Austin Mack was ejected early into the game and Fajardo was forced to use other options. Often in the season, Fajardo has been locking onto receivers often forcing it to Austin Mack who has been very good. Perhaps playing without Mack could have been beneficial for Fajardo in a way to get used to targeting other receivers.

Stop the Run

In addition to it being Darnell Sankey’s first game as an Alouette, Montreal is also getting multiple defensive players back from injury. Avery Williams is back after missing 6 games due to injury and is starting at middle linebacker. Wesley Sutton is back at halfback after missing 2 games due to injury. With his return, Reggie Stubblefield is moving from halfback to cover linebacker. Last week Stubblefield was recognized as the run defender of the week by Pro Football Focus.

Tight Pass Coverage

Chad Kelly has been very good at generating deep passes downfield. Montreal’s secondary will need to play very well to avoid getting burned by the talented Argonaut’s receiving core.

5 Alouettes to Watch

WR Austin Mack

2nd in yards in the CFL with 971 on 60 catches as well as 4 touchdowns. So far Austin Mack is a strong candidate for rookie of the year.

WR Kaion Julien-Grant

Julien-Grant is back in the lineup after missing 6 games due to a hand injury. Prior to his injury, he had 31 catches for 486 yards in 6 games.

DT Mustafa Johnson

Johnson has been great at generating pressure on the quarterback and has 4 sacks on the season. Last week he had the 8th highest pass rush grade by PFF among defensive linemen.

LB Darnell Sankey

Sankey joins Montreal for his first game as an Alouette. He was a member of the Arlington Renegades earlier in the year who won the XFL Championship. He set the record for most tackles by a Roughrider in a single season in 2022 and was a CFL All-Star in 2021 with Calgary.

LB Reggie Stubblefield

Stubblefield will be starting at cover linebacker after starting at halfback for the past 6 games. He has been named to the Pro Football Focus Team of the Week twice during that span once as a halfback and once as a cover linebacker.

5 Argonauts to Watch

QB Chad Kelly

Kelly recently became the highest-paid player in the CFL and has 2,881 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions so far this season.

RB A.J. Ouellette

A.J. Ouellette has been frequently recognized as the runningback to force the most missed tackles in the CFL and has 815 rushing yards on 143 carries averaging 5.7 yards per carry.

DE Folarin Orimolade

Orimolade has 6 sacks, 17 tackles, and a forced fumble over his last 6 games.

LB Wynton McManis

McManis has 60 tackles, a sack, an interception, and 3 passes defended over 11 games.

LB Adarius Pickett

Pickett has 4 sacks, a forced fumble, 3 passes defended and a team-leading 62 tackles on the season.

Injuries, Depth Chart Changes From Last Week:

William Stanback is on the 1 game-injured list this week due to a hand injury. Walter Fletcher will start in his place at running back.

Avery Ellis will miss this game with on the 1-game injured list. Lwall Uguak will start at the defensive end in his place.

Chris Moore (last week’s 2nd string linebacker), Tysen-Otis Copeland (last week’s 3rd string safety), and Kabion Ento (last week’s starting cornerback) were all moved to the practice roster.

Dionte Ruffin is back starting at cornerback after missing 6 games due to a hip injury.

Wesley Sutton is starting at halfback after missing 2 games due to a head injury.

Darnell Sankey enters the lineup for his first game as an Alouette and is listed as a 2nd-string middle linebacker behind Avery Williams who is returning after 6 games due to an elbow injury.

Kaion Julien-Grant is back starting at receiver after missing 6 games due to a hand injury.

Depth Charts:

Score Prediction:

Montreal has some weapons returning for them in this game. Until Montreal commits to the run and has a well-balanced offense I don’t see them realistically beating one of the top 3 teams in the CFL. I could see Montreal winning this game if they run the ball but they have demonstrated that running the football is a low priority so far this season and for that reason, I predict Toronto to win this game by a score of 27-20.

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Jonathan Clink Reporter
Jonathan Clink joined CFL News Hub in early April of 2023. His primary responsibilities are covering the BC Lions and Montreal Alouettes. He self awarded himself the CFL Rookie Journalist of the Year in 2023 following the 2023 CFL season. He also proclaims himself to be a "really cool guy". He was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and lived a large portion of his childhood in Northwest Ontario. He currently lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan and misses being being able to have 4 months of skating every winter. Clink has written over 240 articles for CFL News Hub. He was the publication's boots on the ground at the 2023 Grey Cup in Hamilton. Clink has always had an obsession for sport and has a background in other sports as well having played hockey all his life and soccer, basketball, and lacrosse in high school. As a young child he used to log his hockey statistics after every game which is either an indication that he was destined for the role or perhaps and indication that he is rather strange.
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