The Ottawa Redblacks started off hot when Dustin Crum was inserted in the line-up, in part due to his running ability. This loss was the fifth straight, and the final game in the month of August meaning Ottawa didn’t win a single game in the past month. Their last win came on July 23rd, against Saskatchewan in overtime.
Since then the offense has begun to stall, with defenses having more and more film on Crum and his style of play. With a 43 point explosion in that game, the Redblacks set a season high in points, and a bar to try and hit the rest of the season, since that game they haven’t come within 10 points of scoring 43 points. The Redblacks have scored 111 points in the last five games, or an average of 22.2 points. This represents over a 3 point drop in the average points scored from Crum’s first month as quarterback to his second. Ottawa needs to find a way to correct these issues. One area to start is in the turnover category.
Turnovers Lead to Tanking
The Redblacks have fallen into fourth place in the East, with Edmonton winning their game, they are just one win away from tying the Redblacks win total. The Redblacks are flirting with the prospect of missing the playoffs once again in 2023 if this continues. Real questions will emerge about Shawn Burke, and Bob Dyce’s future with the team. ‘
At this point it seems the Redblacks will be faced with overcoming history, and if they are unable to make a trip to the playoffs in 2023, we could see wholesale changes on the coaching staff, and in the front office. It could even spell the end to Shawn Burke and Bob Dyce’s time in Ottawa.
Although Crum has been electric as a runner, his inability to avoid throwing interceptions, or better yet throw more touchdowns has begun to rear it’s ugly head. Despite completing over 70% of his passes this season, he has as many touchdowns as he has interceptions (5), having already added 450 yards rushing and 4 rushing touchdowns as well. Crum had the luxury of beginning to adapt to the CFL game last season, which was a factor to his hot start, now the question is can Crum re-obtain his title as Franchise quarterback?
Two Redblacks Fined
After this past game, two players were find for untimely hits on opposing players. First of all offensive lineman Dino Boyd was fined for unnecessary contact with a defensive back. The other came due to a high hit on Edmonton Elks quarterback Tre Ford delivered by Michael Wakefield. This wasn’t the news the Redblacks wanted coming out of a tough loss, but nonetheless they still have to face it. They should consider themselves lucky no suspensions were handed down due to in game actions.
Will Hamilton Have What it Takes to Win Game 3?
The Ottawa Redblacks and Hamilton Tiger-Cats have played each other twice so far this season, with Ottawa losing both games. Hamilton has actually won the last 9 games against Ottawa in their series. Leaving Ottawa a clear underdog in this game. Despite beating Ottawa twice this season, they are still only 4-7 to Ottawa’s 3-8 meaning if Ottawa gets on a hot streak they could surpass Hamilton quickly.
That streak MUST start this week at home against Hamilton. Only 9-3 Winnipeg, and 9-1 Toronto have a chance to clinch a playoff spot this week. That’s huge for Ottawa who could sneak in the backdoor to the playoffs. With 7 games remaining the Redblacks could win out and go 10-8 which would put them firmly in the playoff picture.
That’s the good news, that Ottawa is not eliminated yet, and realistically could still make the playoffs. This should help the team stay motivated, and we shouldn’t see players start to throw in the towel on the season. Once your players lose motivation, they will be nearly incapable of winning a game the rest of this season.
Despite holding the worst record in their division, Ottawa has scored more points per game than Hamilton. Ottawa has scored 251 points, while Hamilton has only scored 228 points all season. This breaks down to 22.8 points per game for Ottawa, and 20.3 points for Hamilton. Ironically we find Hamilton with the 4 point spread in this game, likely due to the losing streak that Ottawa has against Hamilton. This also comes while Ottawa has allowed the most sacks in the league which has only held their passing offense, the worst in the league back.
Currently Hamilton produces 29 yards more of net offense per game, but finds themselves ranked 5th in passing offense, and 7th in rushing offense. This to me is the key to this game. The Redblacks have to control the clock, and continue to lean into running the ball in this game. Ottawa has the top rushing offense in the league, but has fallen to last in the passing game. This has caused Ottawa to produce the second least big plays in the league this season, while allowing the most big plays. This isn’t a recipe for success unless Ottawa can lean into the run game and prevent Hamilton from having extra opportunities. This will also help keep Crum upright and allow them to focus on play action to help buy him more time in the pocket.
Ottawa Needs to Force Mistakes
Ottawa still leads the league in turnovers forced with 30, tied with Winnipeg. Their secondary has allowed a lot of yardage, but also produced the most interceptions in the league, a distinction they share with Montreal. The Tiger-Cats however, lead the league in turnovers with 29. This could be a sloppy game for Hamilton if Ottawa’s defense is on their game now that everyone is back healthy.
Hamilton’s quarterbacks have thrown a league leading 15 interceptions as a team. Cycling through three quarterbacks due to injury hasn’t helped, but only Taylor Powell has thrown more touchdowns than interceptions on their roster. Bo-Levi Mitchell seems to be done in Hamilton, and I would expect that they go back to Shiltz with his return from injury. So far Shiltz has been their most efficient quarterback with the second best completion rate on the team, but highest yards per attempt. Despite throwing just 2 touchdowns, to three interceptions, I expect the Tiger-Cats to turn the team over to Shiltz, and hope he can keep the streak against Ottawa alive.
Depth Chart/Injury Report
Coming out of a bye week the Redblacks find themselves more healthy now than they have been since training camp. Only Jackson Bennett is ruled out of this Friday’s match-up.
Currently Vegas is sliding the odds to show that the Hamilton Tiger-Cats have already beaten the Ottawa Redblacks multiple times this season. As of right now they are 4 point underdogs, which in reality is a pretty generous point spread for a team that has looked very beatable as of late. Unfortunately I’m no sure I can predict a victory in this game with the way the team has looked lately. I do expect them to keep the game close, similar to the predictions by Draftkings. The over/under is 47.5 points and the money line is -185 for Ottawa and +154 for Hamilton.
Prediction: In this game I expect Hamilton to win by 6 points. Hamilton will be getting Shiltz back from injury which could have their offense back to its early season form. Hamilton currently averages less points per game than the Redblacks which makes this game extremely interesting to pinpoint scores.
I have this as a 30-24 game with Hamilton barely pulling out a win. It wouldn’t surprise me if this game comes down to holds the ball last.
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