Preview: Alouettes, Argos go head-to-head for first time in 2023

The Montreal Alouettes and Toronto Argonauts will go head-to-head for the first time this season. This will be the first of three meetings between these two teams, as they’ll play back-to-back games on Sep. 9 (in Toronto) and Sep. 15 (in Montreal).

The Als dropped a 35-19 decision in Vancouver on Sunday night. They’ll head into this game with a 2-2 record. The Argos are coming off their second bye week. The defending Grey Cup champs have a 3-0 record.

Short Week:

As you can imagine, playing on the West Coast on Sunday, returning to Montreal early Monday morning, and playing a game on Friday night is less than ideal, but that’s what the Alouettes are facing this week.

The team only had one full practice before their game against Toronto, which made it challenging to fully prepare for the game. Every CFL team goes through this at some point. That’s just the way the schedule is laid out.

“When I landed, I was a little banged up because a couple of things were lingering, I went straight to treatment right when we landed and got the body right,” quarterback Cody Fajardo explained. “I took the rest of the day off. We had the next day off, but I came in and buried the B.C. film. I watched it with (Anthony Calvillo) and learned from some of the things that were on there, good, bad, and ugly, and I started right on Toronto.”

Usually, when the team has a full week between games, Fajardo will watch the film of the upcoming opponent’s defence on first downs on one day, second downs the next day, and he’ll watch their red zone tape the following day. On a short week, Fajardo watches first and second downs on the same day, which is a daunting task.

Preparation aside, the players also need to find a way to recover physically in a short amount of time. Playing two games in six days is hard on the body.

Ciante Evans returns:

On a positive note, the Alouettes will welcome Ciante Evans back into their lineup. The team’s interception leader missed the last two games due to injury. The 30-year-old registered three interceptions in his first two games of 2023.

He’ll slot back into his usual spot at the defensive half-back position on the wide side of the field. Rookie Kordell Rodgers will come out of the lineup to make room for Evans.

Interesting stats:

Toronto has given up most passing touchdowns in the league, with 7.

Montreal and Toronto tied for 7th in the CFL with two touchdown passes this season.

Montreal first in big plays (20+ rush, 30+ pass, 30+ PR, 40+ KR, 30+MFG), with 13

Toronto’s defence is the best in the CFL in big plays allowed, they have given up just three this season.