Preview: Alouettes take on Bombers in 110th Grey Cup

This is it.

The last game of 2023 is upon us. The Montreal Alouettes will take on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the 110th Grey Cup on Sunday at 6:00 p.m. (TSN, RDS, TSN 690, 98.5 FM). This is the first time the Als will play in the championship game since 2010. The Bombers have been to four straight Grey Cups.

What’s it going to take to win the eighth Grey Cup in franchise history? Let’s take a look.

Controlling the line of scrimmage:

The Alouettes need to find a way to slow the Bombers pass-rush down. Willie Jefferson and Jackson Jeffcoat are veterans with championship experience that can get after the quarterback. Limiting the impact they have on the game will be key.

“It’s just about recognizing what they excel at,” left tackle Nick Callender said. “They have some seasoned veterans on that defensive line, especially on the outside with their defensive ends. It’s going to be a battle for Jamar (McGloster) and I.

“(Jefferson) has the length, he can get around you. He and Jeffcoat both have good speed.”

Controlling the line of scrimmage means giving Cody Fajardo time to throw the ball, but it’s also about opening running lanes for William Stanback. If the Als can establish the run, they’ll be able to be less predictable, which can open things up in the passing game. Last week, in the East Final, the Als used the play-action-pass to their advantage.

“We want to try to switch it up and give them different looks,” running back William Stanback said of the importance of the running game. “People in this league know my running style and the things I like to do. I just have to give them different looks and move around pre-snap. I want to make sure that whatever they give, I exploit it.”

Points on turnovers:

The Alouettes created nine turnovers in Toronto last week, and the defence managed to score 14 points off two interceptions. If you add James Letcher Jr.’s special teams touchdown, those two units put up 21 points. That kind of production doesn’t happen often, but if it happens again, the Als will have a good chance of winning.

Even if they don’t score points on defence and special teams, the offence needs to score touchdowns when the defence gives them the ball back. Getting points off those extra possessions is important. It can be the difference between winning and losing.

Lineup notes:

The Alouettes will be making two changes to the lineup that beat the Argonauts last week. First, offensive lineman Jesse Gibbon will be coming out for Sean Jamieson. The other change will be defensive back Tysen Otis-Copeland coming out of the lineup for defensive lineman Vincent Desjardins.

For the Bombers, receiver Dalton Schoen and linebacker Adam Bighill, who both didn’t practice all week, are game-time decisions.