OTTAWA’S QB’s: Caleb Evans is listed as the starter, while Nick Arbuckle is behind him on the depth chart. However, it seems unlikely the line will be long with Evans, the 24-year-old in his second CFL season. He made his season debut as a starter a week ago and will have to improve against the Als. Arbuckle was picked up in a trade with Edmonton just over a week ago, but the Red Blacks won’t waste any time giving him a shot at a game they can’t afford to lose.
COOKING AT HOME: Playing bad football on the road is one thing – at least most of your fans aren’t in the stands to watch – it’s another thing to make it stink in your home stadium. The Redblacks are looking to end a 1-16 run in their last 17 home games. Longer term, they are 3-27 in their last 30 at TD Place. Losing is bad for business.
NEW COACH, NEW RESULT? Two weeks ago, the Alouettes fired head coach Khari Jones and defensive coordinator Barron Miles. GM Danny Maciocia took over as head coach and former Redback Noel Thorpe became the new defensive coordinator. There have been seven season coach changes in the CFL since 2013, Montreal has made five.
YES? JAKE?: Where’s Jake Wieneke, the receiver of Alouettes, who was the CFL’s leader in receiving touchdowns a year ago with 11 in 14 games, two ahead of teammate Eugene Lewis. So far this year? No. In four games, he has seven catches for 114 yards and has become a forgotten/underused part of the offense.
TREVOR BEGINS: Earlier this year, the Alouettes put Vernon Adams Jr. on the bench and made former Redblack Trevor Harris their starting QB. In four games, he has thrown 270, 262, 198 and 241 yards – with three touchdown passes and five interceptions. He has now made 84 career starts for four different clubs and his record stands at 41-41-2. In his first 68 starts, he has a record of 37-29-2, while he is 4-12 in his last 16.
Redblacks LB Patrick Levels vs. As coach/GM Danny Maciocia
Okay, Levels, the Redblacks’ SAM linebacker, is out of line against Maciocia. But you can bet he feels like he has plenty to prove. An Alouette in 2019, Levels left to join the Ticats (for the 2020 season that was cancelled). He was sure things were different in Montreal and was welcomed in 2021. Except they weren’t all that different and Levels says he didn’t even get a call from the GM headed for free agency. Said Levels, “Danny felt like he could go to other places with it and decided not to let me know.” So he joined the Red Blacks.
COMMENTS: Richie Leone of Ottawa leads the CFL in punting average at 48.2 yards and is No. 2 in net average, behind Montreal’s Joseph Zema… Montreal’s loss to Edmonton last week after a 19-point lead was the biggest lead since 2013 – a loss of 38-27 to Calgary after leading 24. Edmonton scored the last 21 points from a deficit of 31-12… Montreal receiver Eugene Lewis has caught eight pitches from over 20 yards to lead the CFL. He had 13 in 2021… It’s the 184th regular season meeting of Montreal and Ottawa CFL teams. Ottawa is looking for No. 100 win in the rivalry, but Montreal has won four of the last five… The CFL is now on six wins by teams trailing after the third quarter. There were only 10 in all of 2021… It’s a CFL doubleheader Thursday. After Ottawa-Montreal it is Hamilton in BC. It is the first CFL Thursday Night doubleheader since 2019.
OUR TAKE: Ottawa 26, Montreal 19
Crazy, right? Will you pick a team that hasn’t won a match yet? Maybe I should just flip a coin. While there have been flashes, the Redblacks have yet to put together a full game. They need to get their offense going… now. Redblacks fans will finally get to see Nick Arbuckle, who would have been the team’s starting QB in 2020. The Alouettes have also suffered some painful losses.
Points for 19.2 (8)
Points against 25.0 (5)
Pass yards 269 (4)
Yards rushing 82 (7)
Net violation 331 (5)
Net offense against 379 (7)
Points for 26.8 (4)
Points against 27.2 (6)
Pass yards 255 (8)
Yards rushing 88 (4)
Net violation 316 (8)
Net offense against 335 (4)