Alouettes kick off the 417 series in Ottawa

The Montreal Alouettes got a major boost in momentum last week at home. Can they bring that with them on a short road trip?

The Alouettes will head into Ottawa’s TD Place on Saturday to square off against the RedBlacks, who were brought back down to earth last week in a loss versus the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Ottawa will want to deflate Montreal’s balloon and prevent the start of a losing streak at home.

Last week versus Hamilton was a major shift as the Alouettes finally leaned on their running game, with incredible results. William Stanback notched over 200 yards on the ground as well a hat trick of touchdowns. As a result, he became the latest star to shine in the CFL and at the same time developed a major target on his back.

The Redblacks’ defense, led by former Alouettes DC Noel Thorpe will do everything they can to corral the youngster from Long Island. They haven’t been the monsters on defense that we’ve come to expect from Ottawa but they always play motivated football against their geographical rivals.

Ottawa will have Dominique Davis behind centre, who’s proven to be a very capable quarterback. Davis has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns, but he gives this Redblacks team reason to believe everytime they play. He’s engineered game winning drives and has been able to connect with his young receivers.

Davis also realises that this is his best chance to cement himself as a true team leader. The running game hasn’t been much to write home about in Ottawa, but this team can still put points on the board and ensure that plenty of wood cookies will be sawed off that giant log in the end zone.

The Alouettes defense has given up 400+ passing yards in all three of their games in 2019. That trend has to stop and with some new/old faces back in the lineup, perhaps this week the defense will be the ones to shine.

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This remains Vernon Adams‘ team until further notice. Yes, Antonio Pipkin did take some reps this week in practice but this team has responded well to Adams under centre. Now sporting a 4-2 record as a starting QB, Vernon is not going to just hand the role of starter back to Pipkin so easily.

Adams brings a calming presence to this offense and he has completely bought in to what head coach Khari Jones is selling. That he is able to extend plays like he has shows what a shrewd move bringing Adams back was for Montreal.

Adams will continue to lean on the running game and after such a monster performance versus the Tiger-Cats, why wouldn’t you?! Both Stanback and Ryder Stone can be prominent features of this attack with their blistering speed and ability to get yards after that first contact.

If this O-line can give Adams time like they did last week, I can finally see some of his receivers getting some work in. Devier Posey will be back in the lineup and will want to resume his outstanding play against an Ottawa secondary that is still trying to shut down opponents consistently.

B.J. Cunningham has found his form and should also have himself a great day on Saturday. He has played in 60 games for the Alouettes and made at least one catch in all of those 60 games. Like Posey, BJ can break out and get deep to move the chains. If Vernon can get time and space, I can see him easily dropping a few bombs into #85’s hands.

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Saturday’s game will be the debut of the recently retired Luc Brodeur-Jourdain as a coaching assistant. Despite wanting to spend more time with family, he felt like he still had to be around this team. So now he will get a chance to impart his 12 years of wisdom on the young men that make up the Alouettes offensive line.

I’m not sure who will step up on the field with the loss of LBJ, but someone has to. The Alouettes are keeping it as consistent as possible with the same QB under centre. Now this O-line has to do likewise and focus 100% on protecting Adams.

If Montreal can strike early and keep the Redblacks on their heels throughout the game, Montreal stands a really good chance to officially start a winning streak. I won’t say Ottawa is in disarray after a lopsided loss to Winnipeg, but they will be hungry and looking to punish the Alouettes all the same.

Overall, this game will be a lot closer than anybody could have anticipated. You have two young QBs looking to prove their doubters wrong, two defenses that are not wanting to be thought of as frauds and a pair of teams that don’t want to wear that “lower” label.

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Once again, I’ll be there live to soak in the TD Place game experience. If you haven’t had a chance to see a game in this great barn, you really owe it to yourself to come to the nation’s capital and check it out.

It’s also the Purolator Tackle Hunger game, where fans are encouraged to donate either money or canned goods to help support the food banks in Ottawa. In exchange for a donation, you can get a picture taken with the Grey Cup as well as be entered into a draw for additional prizes.

If you’re going to Ottawa for the game, be sure to check out the tailgate at Brewer Park just across from Carleton University. All fans are welcome to hang out, have some drinks and enjoy some friendly football banter. Then it’s a short walk up the street that will take you to Bank Street and TD Place.

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That’s all for now. They say Saturdays are for the boys. But I fully expect everyone to be focused on this important divisional matchup.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter for all of your gameday thoughts and analysis.

Enjoy the game, regardless of where you watch it.

GO ALS GO!!!