By Staff Writer – Jason Langvee
Montreal Alouettes @ Toronto Argonauts
Saturday, October 18th – 4PM EST
Montreal: 6-8, 3-game winning streak, 285 points for, 322 points against
Hamilton: 6-8, 3-game winning streak, 375 points for, 390 points against
Previous results: Week 6 Toronto romped the Alouettes 31-5.
Montreal has come full circle at this point in the season. With Jonathan Crompton at the helm of their offence, the Alouettes have gone 5-1 in their last 6 games. What the average spectator sees is a quarterback that is making the difference, but play efficacy has increased in a number of ways for the Montreal offence. The Montreal run game has been much more effective as of late, particularly on first downs, which ultimately means that Crompton (or whomever is playing quarterback) is not perpetually being asked to throw long balls on 2nd down. What that means is that with short-to-mid length yardage, Montreal can opt to throw a high-efficiency pass for small yards, or with that threat alive, look down field for a big target like Duron Carter, who has also returned to form as of late. Montreal’s defence remains as dangerous as ever. To beat Toronto, Montreal may need to be willing to give up short-yardage passes, as Ricky Ray will never hesitate to thread a long-ball down the field and exploit a blown assignment.
The Argonauts earned a moral victory last week, as they toppled what many analysts were deeming the beasts of the east. In an impressive mix of play-calling, and execution, the Boatmen showed that any and every member of their squad is a threat. Against Montreal, the Argonauts need to establish a run-game early. Every defensive coordinator in the league knows that a Ricky Ray-led offence will favour towards a pass-heavy style. To give Ricky time in the pocket, there needs to be a threat that if Montreal over-commits on the pass-rush, they could susceptible to Steve Slaton’s or Curtis Steele’s rush. To that end, expect the Argo’s to throw a good deal of screen-passes and option plays out of the back field to draw the Alouettes’ secondary in. With that established, Ray will inevitably find his favourite target: Chad Owens on a crossing route for 6.
Toronto or Montreal will win this game. Stupid comment? For sure. However, with the 2 teams tied (along with Hamilton) in 1st place, a victory in this game means 2-points of separation in first place. This is a must-win for both teams, and with nothing but inter-divisional play left in the season, this game absolutely has playoff-ramifications.
Albeit the toughest choice of week 17, Montreal’s defence wins them the game 24-21.