June 7, 2024

3 Matchups to watch on Friday Night Football


CALGARY — There are very few things quite like sitting back, relaxing and enjoying a Friday Night of football.

Thankfully Week 1 is upon us to deliver just that with the Calgary Stampeders hosting the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Friday, June 7, 9 p.m. ET at McMahon Stadium.

That’s an intriguing game filled with interesting matchups across the board, including a legendary quarterback returning to where it all began.

CFL.ca brings you three matchups to watch on Friday Night Football. Catch the game between the Ticats and Stampeders on TSN. International and U.S. fans can follow the action on CFL+.

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Bo Levi Mitchell vs. Demerio Houston

Mitchell’s return to Calgary would be an intriguing matchup on its own, but meeting up with the 2023 interception leader as he makes his debut for the Red and White makes it twice as interesting.

The veteran quarterback did not have the season he wanted in his first year away from Alberta, struggling with injuries and appearing in only six games. Houston meanwhile enjoyed a breakout season by registering seven interceptions and being named a CFL All-Star. The defensive back suffered through injuries of his own in his first two campaigns with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, but finally put it all together in 2023 to lead the CFL in picks and become one of the most dominant defenders in the league.

Houston leveraged it all into a contract in the off-season and begins his Stampeders journey against Mitchell, who is an aggressive quarterback that is not afraid to throw downfield.

James Butler vs. Calgary’s run-defence


Butler was listed as questionable for the game against the Stampeders, but if he’s available he’ll have an interesting matchup against a defence that allowed the second most rushing yards in 2023.

Hamilton’s tailback went over 1,000 yards rushing for the second consecutive season – his first with the Tabbies – and will have to run against a defensive unit that had troubles stopping the run last season, but features talented names like linebackers Cameron Judge and 2023 tackle-leader Micah Awe. The Ticats might want to avoid Houston and a revamped Stampeders secondary, leaning on Butler and the ground game to carry the load offensively.

Calgary’s o-line vs. Hamilton’s pass rush

An intriguing matchup would’ve been Reggie Begelton and the Stampeders passing offence against Jamal Peters, but the defensive back was limited in practice all week and won’t be available for the game.

That means we go to a different matchup that involves a couple of other former Argonaut defenders who are now wearing the Black and Gold. Defensive linemen Brandon Barlow and Dewayne Hendrix joined the Tiger-Cats in the off-season and will go against a team that allowed the third fewest sacks last year. The Stamps are very solid up front with centre Sean McEwen and tackles D’Antne Demery and Joshua Coker protecting pivot Jake Maier.

Hamilton also brought in names like David Menard and Nick Usher in the off-season and with 2023 CFL All-Star Casey Sayles returning, they have enough firepower to test Calgary’s linemen right off the gate.

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