Toronto Argonauts (9 - 9) at Montreal Alouettes (12 - 6)

Sunday, November 21 - 1pm et/10am pt on TSN and


Go to the Western Final Match-up Page

Argonauts Team Page/Statistics | Roster Alouettes Team Page/Statistics | Roster

Season Series

5 Jul 29 Toronto 10 at Montreal 41 Recap | Boxscore | VOD
7 Aug 14 Montreal 22 at Toronto 37 Recap | Boxscore | VOD
18 Oct 29 Montreal 37 at Toronto 30 Recap | Boxscore | VOD
19 Nov 7 Toronto 30 at Montreal 4 Recap | Boxscore | VOD

When the Alouettes have the ball

Passing Game: For the third year in a row, Anthony Calvillo is a finalist for the league's Most Outstanding Player Award. Despite missing two games with a bruised sternum this season, the future Hall of Famer almost broke the 5,000-yard barrier for the sixth time in his career. He finished among the league leaders in touchdowns with 32 and only gave up seven interceptions.

Running Game: Injuries came between Avon Cobourne and his second consecutive 1,000-yard season but he remains an important cog in the well-oiled machine that is the Alouettes offence. As a team, the Alouettes ranked sixth in rushing with 103 yards per game, due in part to Calvillo being a pocket passer.

Receiving Game: Jamel Richardson was the only player to reach the 1,000-yard mark in receiving but Kerry Watkins and S.J. Green weren't far off. Throw in the league's all-time leader in receptions Ben Cahoon along with Brain Bratton's five touchdowns and you have the makings of a pretty formidable corps of receivers.

Offensive Line: The sudden retirement of centre Bryan Chiu before the season and the season-ending injury to veteran Paul Lambert caused a ripple effect. Luc Brodeur-Jourdain is now playing beside rookie Andrew Woodruff with stalwarts Scott Flory, Josh Bourke and Jeff Perrett providing the experience. Impressively, the unit only gave up 34 sacks this season.

Special Teams: Rookie Tim Maypray has filled the void left by Larry Taylor, who returned to the team last month but was sent home this week, with over 1,000 yards on kick-off returns alone. Damon Duval finished among the league leaders in punting average at 45 yards per attempt but he only converted on 72% of his field goal tries.

Argonauts' Defence: The defence ranked last in yardage surrendered with 388 per game, due in part to a struggling offence that left them on the field too often. However, the bend-don't break method seems to work because they were among the league leaders in points given up with just 25 per game. The cause for concern comes from the fact the Argos were next-to-last in the league against the pass and Calvillo may be licking his chops. However, Kevin Glenn had trouble scoring on this defence last week. Defensive end Ronald Flemons and linebacker Kevin Eiben have been bright spots.

Matt Dunigan says the Alouettes win if... the 11 starters they sat the last week of the regular season vs. the Argos rested and recharged effectively. As far as I'm concerned, that is a huge advantage to have had that opportunity.

Now with that said, the Als must use those fresh legs and minds to stop Cory Boyd!!! You have to figure that the run-oriented offensive line of the Argos is going to have a hat on a hat and it will be up to the LBing corp of Chip Cox, Shea Emry and Ramon Guzman to punish the bruising back and gang tackle.

Pressure Lemon into making poor decisions and create turnovers. Make him hang onto the football forcing him to go through his progressions and get into his 2nd and 3rd reads.

Capitalize on scoring opportunities and I'm speaking of majors not field goals.

Test and go after Sean Smalls, the new weak side corner for the Argos.

Hamilton's special teams showed the Als how to stop Chad Owens and that's with pure hustle, determination and getting as many athletes on the field to track him down.

Match Noel Prefontaine's production. Damon Duval must take advantage of his opportunities as we know Noel has and will with his.

When the Argonauts have the ball

Passing Game: Much has been made about the struggles of quarterback Cleo Lemon. Among starters who played the bulk of the season, the former Miami Dolphins pivot ranks last in most categories, including yardage (3,433), touchdowns (15) and quarterback rating (78.1). As a team, the Argos averaged just 214 yards per game trough the air, last in the league.

Running Game: Most Outstanding nominee Cory Boyd was voted by his peers to be the toughest player in the CFL. Despite battling injuries on the field and personal tragedy off the field, Boyd captured the rushing title with 1,359 yards. He's big reason why the Argos advanced to the East Final and will be relied upon again to chew up yards against the Alouettes.

Receiving Game: With Lemon's troubles at quarterback, it's no surprise there were no Argos receivers in the top 20 by season's end. To put it in perspective, Jeremaine Copeland led the team in receiving with 639 yards, despite missing four games due to injury. Second on the team was Andre Durie and third was special teamer Chad Owens, who picked up half his 576 yards while Copeland was out. The secret weapon may be rookie Spencer Watt, who scored the only touchdown against the Tiger-Cats last week and picked up two against the Alouettes in the season finale.

Offensive Line: With names like Rob Murphy, Dominic Picard and Taylor Robertson, one would expect that pass protection would be a strength of team. However, the Argos gave up almost three sacks per game, adding to Lemon's problems adjusting to the Canadian game. On the ground, the team fared much better, averaging 6.3 yards per rush.

Special Teams: Chad Owens is the East Division's nominee for Most Outstanding Special Teams Player for good reason. He is the fifth player in CFL history to record 1,000 yards in both punt and kick-off returns and has been the team's most electrifying player. Newcomer Noel Prefontaine, who made three big field goals in last week's win, does double duty as punter and kicker and has the league's longest field goal this sasson at 57 yards.

Alouettes' Defence: Teams have had success passing on the Alouettes but not rushing the ball, which is not good news for Cory Boyd. Defensive ends John Bowman and Anwar Stewart along with linebackers Chip Cox and Shea Emry managed to stuff the run, giving up less than 97 yards per contest. However despite placing Mark Estelle and Jerald Brown on the East All-Star team, the secondary surrendered 291 yards per game, second worst in the league. Having said that, Cleo Lemon has not scared anyone deep this season and last week didn't change anyone's mind.

Matt Dunigan says the Argonauts win if... they take the Eastern Semi-Final template for success and insert here...

  • 1. Play exceptional defence
  • 2. Dominate Special teams (insert here, rely on Chad Owens for instant field position)
  • 3. Be disciplined, don't take unnecessary penalties
  • 4. Ride Cory Boyd and that outstanding O-line
  • 5. The biggest one of them all is to hang onto the football

4 1/2 out of 5 is not bad. Owens was shut down in the return game but Prefontaine out-kicked DeAngelis. Nothing changes this week for the Argos except the opponent goes from Hamilton to Montreal. The Argos Offence is not complicated and will once again have to rely on Cory Boyd running behind an extremely physical offensive line. The Argos must pound it when everyone knows they are going to pound it and control the line of scrimmage. Credit the Big Boys up front for making that happen and a new face in the blocking scheme Ejiro Kuale.

Many new faces such as Kuale stepped in and stepped up and that must continue. Sean Smalls (Short-side Corner), Dwayne Wright and Spencer Watt all took turns making plays and producing. The 2010 Argos believe and everyone's taking turns making plays, including Jordan Younger, Byron Parker, Ricky Foley, Ronald Flemons, Jeremaine Copeland, etc.

Last but certainly not least, in fact it's right up at the top of the priority list is to win the turnover battle and hang on to the football. Cleo Lemon must manage the game and make solid decisions. He can't afford to take points off the board vs. the Als. Be opportunistic and maintain possession of the ball limiting Calvillo's opportunities.

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