The Hamilton Tiger-Cats take their 2-5 record to BMO Field to challenge the Eastern Division leaders, the 3-3 Toronto Argonauts. This matchup is a typical competition for dominance of a mediocre East Division…a Division that is DOMINATED by MEDIOCRE teams! Although both of these teams are “middle of the road”, the outcome may be what is necessary to “separate the men from the boys” in the East? @TheBrysh Power Rankings going into week 9 places Toronto in the 5th position, while Hamilton is in a tie with the Alouettes for 7th spot. This game could go either way, let’s evaluate the teams and see if there is some consensus.

The Toronto Argonauts

The Toronto Argonauts are currently in 1st place in the East, but have had a pretty reasonable schedule up to week 9. They have only faced two teams with winning records, losing both contests. In week 3 the Argos were shellacked 44-3, by the BC Lions, but in week 4 they held the Blue Bombers within one point, 23-22. The Argo’s are averaging less than 20 points offense per game, while allowing over 25 points. QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson has taken most of Toronto’s snaps and is averaging over 285 yards passing per game, a 71% completion rate and an 8:6 TD’s against Interception’s ratio. McLeod will have his favorite WR’s, Kurleigh Gittens Jr. and Markeith Ambles, available, but will be missing DaVaris Daniels who is sidelined with an undisclosed head injury. Gittens and Ambles have a combined total of 12 receptions for 736 yards receiving this season. The rushing game for Toronto is not too promising, they have not scored a single touchdown on the ground this season. RB Andrew Harris has potential with 424 yards this year, but has fumbled the ball 4 times and has yet to break a run for over 19 yards, or score a TD.

Defensively, the Argos are lacking an effective pass rush, and the ability to stuff the run at the line of scrimmage. LB’s Wynton McManis, Henoc Muamba and DB Jamal Peters have contributed 86 of the teams 265 tackles this season. Only two of the teams top ten tacklers this year are on the defensive line, the other 8 are linebackers and defensive backs. Consequently, “inability to stuff the run at the line of scrimmage.” LB McManis is one of only 4 players on the squad with more than one QB sack this year. Not a single Toronto player has multiple interceptions or forced fumbles so far.

TORONTO, ON – December 5 In first half action, Toronto Argonauts wide receiver Chandler Worthy (88) is able to pull away from Hamilton Tiger-Cats defensive back Desmond Lawrence. (24) The Toronto Argonauts played the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at BMO field in the CFL east division championships. December 5 2021 (Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are currently in second place in the East Division, a win in week 9 would give them 3 W’s for the season, equal to the Argo’s. Hamilton has had three tough games this year, including a 33-30 loss to Calgary, a 26-12 beatdown in Winnipeg, and a 17-12 loss against the Lions. These are elite teams, but a 29-25 loss to the lowly Edmonton Elks is a head-scratcher. QB Dane Evans is steady with 1941 yards passing, only 53 yards short of the league lead. Evans is also 2nd in the league for passing TD’s with 9, but this is unfortunately overshadowed by 9 interceptions. Hamilton’s top WR’s Steven Dunbar, Tim White and Bralon Addison are all healthy for week 9. This trio of receivers have hauled in a contribution of 106 catches, almost 1,300 yards and 7 TD’s. Running the football is not Hamilton’s strong suit, two of their top three rushers are quarterbacks, and they do not have a single RB with 100 yards total rushing, and only one RB with a single TD this year.

At the beginning of the season, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats were projected to be the top defensive team in the East. Going into week 9, the Ti-Cats are “run of the mill”, allowing 25 points per game. The silver lining for Hamilton is the pass rushing of their defensive line. DE Julian Howsare leads the team with 5 QB sacks and an interception, and DL’s Dylan Wynn and Micah Johnson combine for another 5 sacks. DB Kameron Kelly shares the league lead with 3 interceptions, as well as 19 tackles and a QB sack of his own.

Game Prediction

This game is a tough one to call, as both teams are struggling with consistency. Neither team seems to have a legitimate running game, and ironically, neither team is defensively strong against the run. QB Bethel-Thompson has been sacked over 100 times over the last 4 seasons with the Argos. If the Tiger-Cats can activate their potent pass-rush, they may be able to disrupt Toronto’s offense. Either way, these teams are evenly matched and @TheBrysh predicts a 20-17 victory for the Toronto Argonauts due to a measurable home field advantage at BMO Stadium.

Written by: Jack Cameron @TheBrysh

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