The ALSternative

Alouettes Nation, it’s time for our team to take a firm hold of its destiny!

This Sunday, the Montreal Alouettes have the opportunity to punch their ticket to the playoffs if they can defeat the Toronto Argonauts at Percival Molson Stadium. In fact, should a miracle happen and the Ottawa RedBlacks manage to snag their third win of the season tonight versus the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, a victory on Sunday would automatically clinch first place in the East and a bye for the Alouettes!

If you’ve been following this blog all season, you’ve seen the lowest of lows and the slow and steady climb back to relevance for this Montreal team. Since going 1-7, this team has turned it 180 degrees and gone on an astounding 7-1 run! Buoyed by the incredible defense of Noel Thorpe and the solid quarterback play of Jonathan Crompton, the Alouettes are no longer a laughingstock.

Yet incredibly, this team still has not locked down a playoff spot despite the Eastern division being the weaker of the two in the CFL, as Hamilton and Toronto are also vying to be one of the two representatives of the East. Whoever finishes in second place will host a playoff game versus the fourth-place team in the West. There are still a number of possible playoff scenarios for the Alouettes, Argonauts and Tiger-Cats.

Both the Alouettes and Argos each have a win versus the other, each time the winning team was the visiting one. So this third match will decide the season series and ultimately, who will go on to the second season. I really hate sounding like a broken record, but once again the Alouettes will have to play the game of their lives this Sunday.

I see the talent in Jonathan Crompton and he’s a player, sans doute. He’s no fourth-stringer, that’s been proven time and again. His teammates believe in him as well as the coaching staff. But Crompton has had flashes of brilliance in an otherwise acceptable style of play. He’s gotta do better, that’s all there is to it. Crompton needs to pile on the points and truly own his opponent.

JC has managed to find his other receivers besides Duron Carter and the results have been terrific. Brandon London is playing with a fire like no other and S.J. Green has been his usual All-Star self. They have helped the young gunslinger move the ball downfield and provide some real “WOW!” moments during the second half of the regular season.

This Sunday, that has to continue. Chad Johnson is still dealing with a groin injury so Kenny Stafford will take his place again. Much like his cousin Duron, he can make the plays happen and found chemistry with Troy Smith when he was behind centre in Montreal. I think Stafford will have himself a breakout game and be yet another potent part of the Alouettes offense.

When it comes to defense, there’s only one name that comes to mind: Bear Woods. It took a lot of patience from Jim Popp not to cut this injury-prone beast from Troy University. That investment in time has paid off in spades as Woods garnered his second Defensive Player of the Month award this week. The only thing wilder than his dreadlocked hair is his fearless style of play, which will have Ricky Ray’s head on a swivel.

Don’t be surprised if Caesar Rayford makes his Alouettes debut this Sunday. This 6’7, 285 pound monster of a man will easily plug some holes on the D-Line, beset by injuries to Gabriel Knapton and Aaron Lavarias. He’s spent time in the NFL and will be looking to showcase his size and speed against an Argos O-Line that may not be prepared for a player of this caliber.

I sincerely hope that the referees won’t turn this game into another flag-fest, which really put a damper on the Alouettes’ win in Ottawa. Between the numerous calls and inability to determine a fumble or not, it’s not easy for the refs even with the advent of a war room to oversee the calls made with several camera angles at their disposal. But they are there to maintain the flow of the game, not halt it in its’ tracks.

Toronto needs to win just to maintain the hope of going 9-9 for the 2014 season and making the playoffs. Once again, the Alouettes are facing a major test. But lately, they seem to be able to rise up and meet every challenge thrown their way. Regardless of the outcome, this will be a fun game to watch

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The Alouettes will also be rocking their Signature Look uniforms for the second time this season. They have drawn rave reviews from fans of both the Alouettes and other CFL teams. It’s a look like no other and if they haven’t already, fans will be able to purchase their own jersey at the Zone Rouge kiosks at Molson Stadium.

It will also be Fan Appreciation Day, so expect to see several contests and giveaways for everyone. One of the neater prizes up for grabs is a chance to go on a helicopter ride with Alouettes kicker Sean Whyte, who will be piloting the copter himself! As neat as winning a hat or t-shirt would be, this prize is easily one of the most original ever given away by this Alouettes franchise!

The folks at Purolator will be there for their Tackle Hunger campaign, so don’t forget to bring some money or a non-perishable food item to donate as well. In exchange for your generous donation, you’ll be able to take a photo with the Grey Cup and be entered to win a signed jersey, so be sure to open your wallet and/or pantry to this wonderful cause.

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That’s all for now. A final reminder that Sunday’s game kicks off at NOON, not 1pm as per usual. So get there early and check out the tailgate put on by “Les Gars Qui Vivent“. Be in your seats for 12pm and get ready to be loud! Your team needs you, Alouettes Nation. It’s simple now when it comes to the playoffs: Win and you’re in.

Enjoy the game on Sunday, no matter where you watch it.

GO ALS GO!!!