Thursday 14 October 2010

Preview: Tiger-Cats (7-7) at Argonauts (7-7)


The two longest-standing rivals in North American professional sports battle late in the season with a playoff spot hanging in the balance. Does it get any bigger than this?

The Argonauts and Tiger-Cats are both likely headed for the playoffs. It would take an epic collapse for either team to miss the post season, which means that this matchup can be billed as a playoff preview because it is highly likely that these two teams will meet in the East Division Semi-Final. The only thing really in dispute is where the playoff game will be played. When was the last time that was said about a Tiger-Cat-Argonaut game?

Both teams enter this game coming off impressive wins the previous week. The Tiger-Cats dismantled the Edmonton Eskimos at Ivor Wynne. It was about as thorough a beating as the Cats have laid on anyone this season. Hamilton flexed their muscle from the word "Go" and pounded the Eskimos into the Ivor Wynne turf.

Toronto did something that no other team had been able to accomplish up to this point in the season: go to Regina and beat the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Special Teams, once again, was the catalyst for an Argonaut victory. Also, the Argos hold victories over the Riders, Stamps and Als this season, something neither the Tiger-Cats nor any other team can boast about.

The key to this game for both teams will be Defense. Can the Tiger-Cats keep Cory Boyd from dictating the pace? In the two previous matchups, Hamilton has done a good job of taking Boyd out of the game and forcing Cleo Lemon to beat them with his arm. A recipe for disaster for the Argos.

For Toronto, it will be paramount that they not allow Kevin Glenn to get into a rhythm. When Glenn is on his game there is not a better QB in the CFL. The Argonaut Defense will have to pressure Glenn and force him into mistakes.

The Argonauts will also have to worry about DeAndra' Cobb. Once left for dead, Cobb seemed to get that spark back against the Argos during their first meeting in Toronto. Cobb has come to life, and if not for a couple of costly fumbles, the Cats may already have had their playoff spot wrapped.

Of course, Hamilton will have to do whatever they can to limit Chad Owens and the rest of the Argonaut Special Teams unit. Week in, week out, the Argos have relied on their Special Teams to get them out of a jam or help win them a game. Limiting returns and not falling for trick plays will be the key for the Tiger-Cats.

This one should be epic. There is nothing better than watching the Tiger-Cats play the Argonauts. With the added incentive that the winner will secure their playoff spot, this one should be better than any we've witnessed in the past half-dozen years.

I hope many of the Tiger-Cat faithful will make the short trip down the QEW to the Rogers Centre SkyDome. I know I'll be there. However, if you can't make it, remember to tune into AM900 CHML and Y108 if you'd like to listen on the radio, or turn to TSN or TSN HD to enjoy the game on television from the comfort of your living room.

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