Sunday the 5-6 Alouettes (who have a serious shot at the first ever eastern crossover… more a product of the sad state of the bottom half of the West Division than of the Als merits) will be in town for an afternoon showdown with the Riders.
Offensively the Alouettes are actually awful… and coming from someone who has spent the season watching the Riders I feel well qualified to make that assessment. They have the 2nd least points scored (averaging just 19.2 pts per game), the least passing yards and the 3rd most turnovers. The thing is, having a proficient passing attack isn’t really that Als’ game plan. They have a strong running attack (#2 in the league) and play great in the other phases of the game (which I will touch on later). All their QB is expected to do is manage the game and not screw up too much. Sometimes it works… sometimes they start Tanner Marsh who attempted to break the single game record for turnovers in his only start. Not sure at this point if Crompton or Cato starts. Obviously I’d prefer Crompton as I don’t think he’s very good. Either way the passing attack is the secondary concern in this game. Priority 1 is stopping Sutton and the run game. We managed that last week against Jeremiah Johnson so this should be possible (especially if Doughty plays and Knox bumps back outside). But as much as the Als’ pass game is struggling, our pass defense has the ability to make pretty much everyone look like a superstar (Crompton included). SJ Green can make good secondaries look bad… that can’t bode well for us. Their O-line gives good protection so our D-line will have their work cut out for them is winning the battle in the trenches. I think we are all hoping for another Munroe belly rub or 2.
Much like a not so well endowed dude compensates by buying a fancy car , the Als compensate for a weak offense with a lock down D (my car is both economical and practical just for the record). They are second in points allowed giving up only 16.4 points per game to opposing offenses. The weakness I see in their D is right in the middle. The injury to MLB Kyle Elsworth means they will be starting their 3rd MLB of the season. Now Montreal has good LBs so it’s not a huge weakness but we will need to slow down that D-line (which is second in sacks) and what better way than by running down their throat and testing the MLB. Sounds like we may get Adcock back which will give a massive boost to that O-line. To call Hardrick a serviceable replacement would be embellishing his talent quite a bit. Look for Glenn and his receivers to be in better synch this week. I would be leaning heavy on slot backs like Dressler inside in the short to medium. That and the run should set up the deep shots like we saw to Roosevelt last week.
The last thing to mention when discussing the Als is how good their return game is… tops in the league in terms of average returns. Montreal’s success generally come when both the defense and special teams help take the pressure off the O. If we can take the big returns out of it (which we have been pretty good at this year) then it will put more pressure on their O to produce.
This is a very winnable game. We damn near beat the RedBlacks and they are a better team all around than the Als. The thing is, we have damn near beaten a lot of teams. In what is pretty much the polar opposite of my love life the Riders typically treat us to a really solid performance for an extended period only to fail to eventually finish and leave us in disappointment (okay, I guess the disappointment thing would apply to me too). I would love nothing more than to see a win… mainly because this is our second last home game and there may be 7 people at the final one in late October. Based on the match-ups I think we could win. But I have seen the same scenario week in and week out. In the infamous words of George W: “There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again.”
Close game but Als by a Nik Lewis TD
Don’t forget that it’s Purolator Tackle Hunger Day so load up with food donations or cash before you come to the game.