Montreal Alouettes at Hamilton Tiger-Cats (-6, 53)
A new-look offense has put the Montreal Alouettes in position to host a playoff game. The Alouettes can tie the Hamilton Tiger-Cats for second in the East Division when they visit the Tiger-Cats in Guelph, Ont., on Saturday. Quarterback Troy Smith and running back Tyrell Sutton were fantastic in their first starts for Montreal last week against Hamilton, which can clinch at least second place with a victory.
The Tiger-Cats are still within striking distance of the Toronto Argonauts for the East Division lead, but quarterback Henry Burris had his worst start of the season last week, throwing for 106 yards. Hamilton’s offense lives and dies with Burris, who leads the league with 4,629 passing yards, but the 38-year-old could be showing signs of fatigue at the end of a long season. Burris won’t have an easy time against an Alouettes' defense that has 51 sacks and a league-leading 23 interceptions.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, TSN
ABOUT THE ALOUETTES (7-9): Linebacker Chip Cox and kick returner Bo Bowling were both named CFL players of the week after last week’s 36-5 rout. Cox, who leads the league with 104 tackles, was named defensive player of the week after adding six tackles and a pair of sacks last Sunday, while Bowling received special teams honours for totalling 118 return yards in his first game of 2013. Cornerback Geoff Tisdale leads the league with six interceptions.
ABOUT THE TIGER-CATS (8-8): Running back C.J. Gable is third in the league in yards from scrimmage with 1,358 in his first CFL season, providing a reliable option for Burris on the ground. Wide receivers Greg Ellingson and Luke Tasker missed practice Wednesday, putting their availability for Saturday in jeopardy. On defense, defensive backs Brandon Isaac and Evan McCullough and linebackers Erik Harris and Nate Bussey also missed practice.
* Over is 5-0 in the last five meetings in Hamilton.
* Alouettes are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 meetings.
* Alouettes are 4-1 ATS in their last five road games.
* Under is 4-0 in Tiger-Cats last four games overall.
1. Smith, a former Heisman Trophy winner, graded his starting debut a “C-plus,” suggesting he expects to improve. Smith threw three touchdown passes in the first half but was largely ineffective in the second half last week.
2. Hamilton K Luca Congi reached 100 kicking points for the seventh straight season.
3. The Alouettes close their regular season with a visit to Toronto, while Hamilton finishes with a road game against Winnipeg.