Visiting Team: Hamilton Tiger-Cats (2-5)
Home Team: Toronto Argonauts (3-3)
Location: BMO Field, Toronto, ON
Date and Time: Saturday, August 6th at 7 pm EDT
TV coverage: TSN, ESPN 2
Betting Line: Toronto -2
This Week 9 matchup features the leaders of the CFL East division in a battle for the top spot in the East. The 3-3 Toronto Argonauts are in first place in the CFL East with 6 points in the standings, and the 2-5 Tiger-Cats are in 2nd place with 4 points. When you examine the Argonauts and Tiger-Cats you will find several similarities, but also some significant differences.
The Argonauts started the season strong with a 3-2 start, including 2 wins over the Saskatchewan Roughriders, but they were upset last week by the previously winless Ottawa Redblacks at home. The Tiger-Cats started the season with a disastrous 0-4 start in which Hamilton kept giving away opportunities to secure wins with a multitude of 2nd half turnovers. In the last 3 games, the Tiger-Cats have gone 2-1 and are currently undefeated against teams from the CFL East including a 24-17 win over Montreal despite a controversial ending to the game.
The Argonauts and Tiger-Cats will both see many familiar faces when they face one another. Most notably Argo’s receiver Brandon Banks who was a marquee player during the Tiger-Cats run to two consecutive Grey Cup championship game appearances. Several of the Tiger-Cats have also spent time with the Argonauts.
Last year the Argonauts won the CFL East but were defeated in the East final by the Tiger-Cats. Both teams have seen many ups and downs so far this season. The team that can be the most consistent will win this game. The deciding factors will be turnovers and the ability to score in the red zone.
The Argonauts have recently been successful at the BMO field but did take a disappointing 13-28 loss to the Redblacks last week. Toronto’s offence has been one of the best rushing teams in the CFL with running back Andrew Harris leading the way.
They can also produce explosive plays on offence with receivers Brandon Banks and Kurleigh Gittens Jr. Quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson has led the Argonaut’s offence well at times but has also shown the ability to make mistakes when under pressure. Defensively, the Argonauts have been consistent and allowed Toronto to compete with the CFL’s best but they have not shown the ability to dominate a game. Toronto’s defence will need to pressure the quarterbacks of the Tiger-Cats and look to force Hamilton’s offence into committing turnovers.
The Tiger-Cats offence has recently played efficient football while being led by two quarterbacks Dane Evans and Matt Shiltz. Dane Evans started the season with a bad habit of turning the ball over in his end of the field, costing the Tiger-Cats home wins against Calgary and Edmonton. Recently backup quarterback Matt Shiltz has come on strong and has added a dynamic rushing element to the Tiger-Cats offence. After only a few weeks Shiltz is now the leading rusher for the Tiger-Cats.
Running back Don Jackson has started picking up momentum and scored a key touchdown for Hamilton last week. The Tiger-Cats also have playmakers at receivers with Tim White and Steven Dunbar Jr., and both players have made key plays to help the Tiger-Cats win games the last few weeks. Defensively, the Tiger-Cats have consistently been one of the best units in the league. Hamilton’s defence has been led by defensive end Julian Howsare and Kameron Kelly both of which have made key plays to limit their opponent’s offensive units.
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