Ticats set to begin six-game streak against East Division teams

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The beginnings were difficult for Evans. Although the Ticats starter is second in passing in the CFL with 1,720 yards, just four behind Winnipeg’s Zach Collaros, Evans has more interceptions (nine) than touchdowns (eight).

Evans also fumbled six times, losing five.

Offensively, Hamilton is ranked eighth in offensive points (18.2 per game), offensive touchdowns (nine) and time of possession (28 minutes, 44 seconds) and last in turnover rate (minus-13). The Ticats also committed a league-high 25 turnovers.

Hamilton is coming off a 17-12 road loss to the BC Lions despite accumulating 414 offensive yards and possession for more than 31 minutes. Evans completed 26 of 38 passes for 297 yards and one touchdown and one interception.

Hamilton leads the CFL in most deuces and outs (40), but also forced a league-high 36.

One bright spot for Hamilton was Lawrence Woods leading the CFL in punt return yards (371) and average (14.3). Lawrence is on pace for 1,112 punt return yards, which would be the most since Calgary’s Roy Finch had 1,200 yards in 2017.

However, Woods (illness) remains a game decision.

Montreal is coming off a 40-33 win over Ottawa and is 1-1 under interim general manager/head coach Danny Maciocia. Veteran quarterback Trevor Harris was solid for the Alouettes, completing 25 of 31 passes for 341 yards and two touchdowns.

Receiver Hergy Mayala recorded five catches for 102 yards and a touchdown.

Montreal is third overall in offensive scores (26 points per game) and offensive touchdowns (15). The problem is, his defense is ranked eighth in offensive points allowed (27.5 points per game), offensive touchdowns allowed (15) and net offensive yards allowed (357.5).

Despite struggling to score, Hamilton’s offense is ranked second in passing (299.2 per game) but last in rushing (73.3 yards). The Ticats will once again be without linebacker Simoni Lawrence (groin), who was the CFL’s best defensive player last season.

Choose: Montreal.

BC Lions vs. Saskatchewan Roughriders (Friday Night)

In Regina, the good news for the Riders (4-3) is that quarterback Cody Fajardo (knee, illness) says he can play this week after missing Sunday’s 31-21 loss to Toronto. Saskatchewan has won eight straight against British Columbia (4-1) and the last four at home. The Lions haven’t won at Mosaic Stadium since 2016, but with Canadian Nathan Rourke at center, the offense scored a CFL-best 176 offensive points this season.

Choose: British Columbia

Winnipeg Blue Bombers vs. Calgary Stampeders (Saturday Night)

In Calgary, the Stampeders (4-1) have more to do than face Winnipeg (7-0). Five players missed practice on Tuesday due to what head coach Dave Dickenson said were cases of COVID-19 and pneumonia. Among them were running back Ka’Deem Carey, tackle Derek Dennis and linebacker Jameer Thurman. The Bombers beat the Stamps 26-19 at IG Field on July 15, but haven’t claimed a regular season meeting from McMahon since 2017. Calgary starter Bo Levi Mitchell has never lost consecutive starts to the Bombers .

Choose: Winnipeg.

Ottawa Redblacks vs Toronto Argonauts (Sunday night)

In Toronto, the Argos return to BMO Field after back-to-back wins over Saskatchewan in Wolfville, NS, and Regina. Canadian running back Andrew Harris rushed for a season-high 143 yards (5.5-yard average) in Sunday’s 31-21 win over the Riders, while starter McLeod Bethel-Thompson threw for 336 yards and two touchdowns. Bethel-Thompson is also 6-0 against Ottawa. Caleb Evans had 297 passing yards and a touchdown last week against Montreal, but Darvin Adams dropped a late pass from Evans that could have forced overtime.

Choose: Toronto.

Last week: 4-0.

Overall CP record: 23-4.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on July 27, 2022.

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press

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