Montreal Aouettes at Hamilton Tiger-Cats (-3, 52)
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats enter the playoffs on a high note as they prepare to host the Montreal Alouettes in the East Semifinal on Sunday. Hamilton won four of its last five games to finish the regular season 8-2 against East Division opponents, including two wins in three contests against Montreal. Tiger-Cats quarterback Henry Burris led the league with 4,925 passing yards and running back C.J. Gable was named East Division Most Outstanding Rookie.
The Alouettes season began with Anthony Calvillo at quarterback and Dan Hawkins as coach. With Hawkins fired and Calvillo injured, Montreal finished the season with a very different look under new pivot Troy Smith, but defense remains its most reliable asset. Alouettes linebacker Chip Cox was named East Division Most Outstanding Defensive Player after leading the league with 114 tackles and adding 12 sacks and four interceptions for a defense that allowed a league-low 88.4 rushing yards per game.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, TSN
ABOUT THE ALOUETTES (8-10): Smith has yet to reach 1,000 passing yards in the CFL and his inexperience shows in his accuracy: a 60-for-114 completion rate with five interceptions. Smith has plenty of targets available, including S.J. Green, Arland Bruce and rookie Duron Carter, who finished the regular season with 909 receiving yards despite making his CFL debut in August. Montreal’s defense was tied for the league-lead in interceptions with 24, with a league-best seven caught by cornerback Geoff Tisdale.
ABOUT THE TIGER-CATS (10-8): Gable recorded 1,380 yards from scrimmage despite missing time early on due to injuries. Three Hamilton receivers - Bakari Grant, Andy Fantuz and Greg Ellingson - finished with at least 800 receiving yards. Mark Beswick was named Most Outstanding Special Teams Player with a league-high 24 special teams tackles, while linebacker Brandon Isaac has four sacks since joining the team mid-season.
* Over is 5-1 in the last six meetings in Hamilton.
* Alouettes are 2-5 ATS in their last seven meetings in Hamilton.
* Under is 10-4 in Alouettes last 14 vs. East.
* Tiger-Cats are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games overall.
1. Hamilton KR Brandon Banks returned a missed field goal 107 yards for a touchdown in the last game between the Tiger-Cats and the Alouettes.
2. Alouettes RB Tyrell Sutton rushed for 185 yards in the last two games against the Tiger-Cats.
3. Hamilton was 6-3 playing its home games at Alumni Stadium in Guelph this season.
BC Lions at Saskatchewan Roughriders (-4, 51.5)
Quarterback Travis Lulay and running back Andrew Harris have given the BC Lions hope heading into Sunday’s West Semifinal at the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Lulay returned to action briefly in the final regular-season game, taking 13 snaps to test his injured shoulder and completing 3-of-4 passes while adding a 1-yard touchdown run. Harris finished the season two rushing yards short of 1,000 after recording 102 in his last game, one week after Stefan Logan ran for 121 yards for BC.
BC will need every facet of its offense in top condition against a stingy Roughriders' defense that recorded 57 sacks, 24 interceptions and allowed a league-low 20 passing touchdowns. Saskatchewan’s defensive line of John Chick, Tearrius George, Ricky Foley and trade addition Alex Hall have 30 sacks between them. Roughriders quarterback Darian Durant (4,154 passing yards) and running back Kory Sheets (1,598 rushing yards) were both rested for the final game of the regular season and are healthy heading into the playoffs.
TV: 4:30 p.m. ET, TSN
ABOUT THE LIONS (11-7): Linebacker Adam Bighill led the team with 92 tackles and nine sacks despite missing a couple weeks with a sprained ankle. Bighill and cornerback Cord Parks (six interceptions) form the backbone of a defense that limited opponents to 245 passing yards per game. Slotback Nick Moore established himself as one of the league’s top receivers with his first 1,000-yard season, totalling 1,105 receiving yards.
ABOUT THE ROUGHRIDERS (11-7): Three Saskatchewan receivers - Chris Getzlaf, Weston Dressler and Taj Smith - finished the regular season with at least 1,000 receiving yards. All-time receiving leader Geroy Simon, who spent the majority of his career with the Lions before joining Saskatchewan last offseason, was limited to his lowest yard total since 2001, with 565 yards on 40 catches. Defensive back Dwight Anderson has 53 tackles and a team-leading five interceptions.
* Under is 5-0 in the last five meetings in Saskatchewan.
* Lions are 4-11 ATS in their last 15 road games.
* Roughriders are 0-3-1 ATS in their last four Division Semifinals games.
* Over is 6-0 in Lions last six playoff games.
1. Lions KR Tim Brown finished with 1,901 combined return yards - second in the league. Brown also scored one kick-return touchdown.
2. Roughriders LB Renauld Williams, who led the team with seven sacks before being injured, could return if Saskatchewan makes it to the Grey Cup final.
3. Saskatchewan was 6-3 at home during the regular season; BC was 3-6 on the road.