By Staff Writer – Jason Langvee
Montreal Alouettes @ Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Sunday, November 23rd – 1PM EST
Montreal: 9-9, 360 points for, 394 points against
Hamilton: 9-9, 417 points for, 395 points against
Previous results: Week 11 Montreal won 38-31, Week 20 Hamilton won 29-15
The Montreal Alouettes have just come off their biggest win of 2014. Not only did they handily beat the BC Lions by 33 points, but they did so in an elimination playoff game. The Alouettes have shown signs of greatness all throughout the season, but against BC, fans saw the first glimpse of the Alouettes firing on all cylinders. Contrast the Alouttes’ offensive performance last week to the one seen in their last game of the regular season in Hamilton and you will note: more time of possession, more rushing attempts/yardage, better throwing accuracy, better red-zone efficiency, more touchdowns, and more confidence. Defensively the Al’s looked as strong as ever, holding the Lions to 3 points deep into the 4th quarter.
If momentum counts for anything, Montreal has got it, which is always the double-edged sword of securing a bye in the playoffs. The Alouettes need to use the momentum they’ve created, and come out strong against Hamilton. The Alouettes’ defensive line needs to keep Zach Collaros on his heels. Given time, the young quarterback will find his target on most opportunities. Last time around, new-comer Nic Grigsby was also able to hurt the Al’s up the middle. Montreal needs to fill the gaps with their stellar linebacking corps and let their All-Star-laden defensive secondary take care of the Hamilton receivers. On offense the Alouettes will need to win the trench battles on the line. When Al’s offensive linemen like Josh Bourke, Jeff Perrett, Ryan Bomben, Kristian Matte and Luc Brodeur-Jourdain play like they did last week, Montreal’s offense offers a diverse attack that any coach would have trouble accounting for. Expect a very different game than the last time Montreal traveled to Hamilton. The stakes are higher, and Montreal will not be satisfied coming from 2-7 to be stopped now.
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats too have overcome early stutters to emerge as dominant Grey Cup contenders. After beating Montreal in their final regular season game (and doing so by more than 8 points), Hamilton secured a first-place seeding for the playoffs. With the top spot in the east, Hamilton was afforded a bye-week as Montreal needed to put their bodies and season on the line against BC. With a week of rest, injured players like Andy Fantuz, Greg Ellingson, and Cary Koch might well have been afforded an opportunity to heal in time for the Tabbies first post-season match. Regardless of which subset of Hamilton’s receiving corps is slated to play, the Tiger-Cats will need to once again pose a dual offensive threat on the ground and in the air.
Should Montreal’s defence sniff out tendencies, they will most certainly be hard to beat. Fortunate for Hamilton fans though, Nic Grigsby and Zach Collaros will keep any defense in the CFL honest, as both have the ability to turn a broken play into a first down or more. Hamilton’s defense is no slouch either, in fact in the latter portion of 2014 the Tiger-Cats defense have become some of the most voracious in the league. Among the defenders to look for, watch; Eric Norwood, Bryan Hall, Ted Laurent, Simoni Lawrence, and Delvin Breaux to make big plays all game long. After last week, the Alouettes have regained momentum, but don’t forget who took the wind out of their sails in the first place. Should the Tiger-Cats hit the field with the same ferocity that has become a trademark of their play at Tim Hortons field, the home crowd will have a lot to cheer about on Sunday afternoon.