By Staff Writer – Jason Langvee
Hamilton Tiger-Cats @ Ottawa REDBLACKS
Friday, October 31st – 7:30PM EST
Hamilton: 7-9, 1-game losing streak, 354 points for, 355 points against
Ottawa: 2-14, 3-game losing streak, 248 points for, 408 points against
Previous results: Week 17 – HAM won 16-6, Week 5 – HAM won 33-23
Hamilton was but a drive short of putting away the Argonauts last week, and in doing so, moving into a tie for first place atop the eastern standings. Alas, the Argonauts secured the victory which put Hamilton in a tie for second against a team that has bested them in the season-series. Now, Hamilton needs to re-assert their dominance against a team that has remained competitive in both of their previous match-ups. Zach Collaros will again be required to put up a strong offensive showing, along with his receivers. Andy Fantuz still looks to be out of the roster, so look for a lot of Luke Tasker hot-routes. The rookie has made a habit of turning small plays into meaningful ones. As stated in week 17’s write-up, Hamilton’s defensive line needs to produce consistent pressure on Henry Burris, without sending blitzes from the secondary. Eric Norwood has a big opportunity to add some sacks to his 2014 totals, so expect the defensive end to be voracious in pursuit.
The REDBLACKS have fared relatively well against Hamilton this season (with a 2-14 season as the context). This has been due largely in part to glimpses of offensive synchronization amongst all personnel involved. Should Ottawa want to win this game, they need to limit turnovers and sustain drives long enough to secure field position. Henry Burris will be see the bulk of game time, but Danny O’Brien will also see reps. Both QB’s have shown that the long-ball is an extremely viable option, but for the offence to stay on the field, said attempts need to be made sparingly in favour of high-percentage dig passes. Defensively, Ottawa needs to expect a pass-heavy game plan from Hamilton. Although Nic Grigbsy and Mossis Madu are capable backs, it is the Hamilton receiving corps that has the potential to strong-arm a game at this point of the season.
With a loss to the Argo’s last week, Hamilton now sits tied with a team that has already beaten them head-to-head. For Hamilton to remain in relative control of their destiny, they will need a victory (although that alone will not be sufficient to guarantee a playoff spot). The race for the post-season in the CFL’s eastern division is in the final stretch, and all 3 teams need to dig deep and play their best football of 2014 to keep their Grey Cup aspirations alive.
Hamilton sweeps the season series 30-21.