October 26, 2023

Marquee Matchup: Ticats, Als face off in ESF preview

Kevin Sousa/CFL.ca

TORONTO — The Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Montreal Alouettes will see a lot of each other in the next two weeks.

Saturday features the first of two back-to-back matchups between Als and Ticats to close out the regular season before facing off again on November 4 at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium for the Eastern Semi-Final.

This is the third game between the two teams this season – and 200th overall – with Montreal winning the first two by a combined 65-26 score in Weeks 3 and 9. A third win by the Alouettes would secure the sweep over the Tiger-Cats for the first time since 2009.

Hamilton could have all three quarterbacks (Bo Levi Mitchell, Matthew Shiltz and Taylor Powell) take snaps in preparation for the playoffs. The Tabbies have shown improvement over the second half of the season, going 5-3 in their last eight games after a 3-6 start. The Alouettes meanwhile are riding a four-game winning streak that secured them second place in the East Division. The sequence comes in part because of a dominant defence that allowed only 37 touchdowns so far this season, second best mark across the league. Mid-season addition defensive lineman Shawn Lemon has provided a boost to an already strong defensive unit.

Both teams might want to keep things close to the vest in preparation for next week but there’s still a lot on the line for a rivalry that goes back 68 seasons. Who will win the regular season finale between Alouettes and Ticats?

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  • All-Time Rivalry – Game #200: This game has no playoff bearing but historically will be the 200th in their long rivalry across 68
    seasons. From 1950 to 1986, and 1996 to 2023 the Tiger-Cats and Alouettes have met 199 times with Montréal in front 100 to 92
    (plus 7 ties). Montréal has been dominant at home winning 64 times to 33 (four ties). Since 2014 they are absolutely even at 11 wins each
    and have won the last four meetings.
  • A Good Hamilton Trend: Hamilton has bounced back from most of their recent losses with a win the next game. This week, they are
    coming off a loss – they have won the last three times they have been doing so and five times this season.
  • Hamilton in the Playoffs: The Tiger-Cats have clinched a playoff spot for the fifth straight season and ninth in the last 10. The five-year
    run is their longest playoff stretch since 1989.
  • 2023 Season Series: The Alouettes have won the 2023 season series over Hamilton and for the second year in a row. They lead 2-0
    and look to sweep Hamilton for the first time since 2009 (3-0).
  • Alouettes’ Comeback from 14 Points Down: Montréal recovered from an 14-point deficit two weeks ago at Edmonton to ensure
    their home playoff date. It was the sixth-largest comeback in club history, and second-highest in the last 19 years back to 2004.
  • Multiple win Als’ streaks: Montréal has won their last four games and have done so twice in 2023. The last season that they had two four-
    game plus win streaks was in 2009, a Grey Cup winning season.
  • Hamilton’s Record: For the fourth season in a row the Tiger-Cats have produced a better record in the second half of the season than they
    started off in their first nine games. In 2023, they are 5-3 after a 3-6 start – a win this week would make it a 6-3 mark (Gm 10-18).
  • Cody Fajardo: Though he may not play this week, he needs just 162 passing yards to reach 15,000 for his career.
  • Bo Levi Mitchell: Though he too may not play this week, Mitchell brings the highest quarterback win-loss percentage into this game at .762 (92-28-2).
  • Hamilton Off a Bye: Hamilton is 6-1 since 2018 when playing after a week off.
  • Tim White: Week #21 games often have no playoff relevance but statistical leaderships remain open. Based on rosters known at this
    writing, only Austin Mack can overtake Hamilton’s Tim White for most receiving yards at 1,269 yards. Brandon Banks in 2019 was
    the last T-Cat player to lead the CFL in receiving.
  • Cardell Flowers-Lloyd: Has wrapped up the CFL lead for 2023 in Special Team Tackles with 30, nine more than any other player.

It’s anyone’s guess as to who will take this one in this week’s Pick ‘Em Marquee Matchup. Who are you siding with?

Make your pick on CFL Pick ‘Em presented by Old Dutch now!


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