But no mushy-mushy stuff, this is a football game that the Tiger-Cats must win (how many times has that been said since the end of last month?) if they hope to stay in the race for the third and final playoff spot in the East. With Winnipeg taking on Toronto, Hamilton needs to win in order to either keep pace with the Argos or stay one game ahead of the Bombers.
One factor in Hamilton's favour is the fact that when the Als come to Ivor Wynne, they usually leave with a loss. It has been over two years since Montreal has won in Hamilton and the Ti-Cats have won four straight at home since then, including two 40-plus-point outbursts. In fact, in those four games, the Ti-Cats have won by margins of 37, 23, eight and 14. It has been complete domination by Hamilton recently
But despite those numbers, the Ti-Cats can not be complacent. This is still a team that has been maddeningly inconsistent this season and will need to bring their A-game if they hope to make that four-game streak a five-game one. To do that, the passing games needs to get going after a terrible outing last week in Winnipeg; the defense will have to pressure Calvillo for a full 60 minutes; and the offense will have to limit turnovers, preferably committing zero, and both units will have to play smarter and not get called for penalties. Last week's flag-fest in Winnipeg was one of the most undisciplined displays in recent memory.
Perhaps the biggest new twist to this game will be the unveiling of the Avon Cobourne-Chevon Walker backfield tandem. Tiger-Cat fans have been screaming for both players to be used and they will finally get their wish tonight. Hope here is that the duo can have the same impact as the short-lived, though fairly successful, Avon Cobourne-Terry Grant tandem the team used for a few games near the end of last season. That duo got off to an amazing start, posting close to 200 combined yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns in their initial outing just over a year ago in Moncton against the Calgary Stampeders. If the Cobourne-Walker combination can come even close to that, the Ti-Cats should pick up their fifth win of the season.
Will the Ti-Cats get themselves back in the playoff hunt or will the Als leave Ivor Wynne Stadium for the final time with a win? We'll find out when things kickoff tonight at 7:00PM.