LIVESTREAM CFL: Hamilton Tiger-Cats @ Montreal Alouettes, Oct. 28, 22:00 CET (10 pm, 4 pm EDT)

MONTREAL — It’s a fine line this time of year between preparing for the playoffs and not tipping your hand.

It’s one that the Montreal Alouettes and Hamilton Tiger-Cats need to navigate as they meet for their third and final matchup in the regular season and one week before it’s winner moves on in the Eastern Semi-Final, which will also be played at Molson Percival Stadium.

Montreal has claimed both meetings so far this season, winning 38-12 in Week 3 and 27-14 in Week 9.

» Depth Charts: MTL | HAM

Quarterback Cody Fajardo is the leader of the Alouettes’ offence and comes into the game with 3,792 passing yards. Given the importance of his health, backup Caleb Evans will also see snaps.

The targets should be spread around downfield with top receiver Austin Mack likely getting less looks. Tyson PhilpotTyler Snead and Cole Spieker aim to continue their strong play of late with the post-season around the corner.

Ticats defensive back Dexter Lawson Jr. leads the secondary after picking off a Vernon Adams Jr. pass in their last game. He’ll be joined by Stavros KatsantonisKenneth George Jr. and Will Sunderland as they attempt to improve on the 271.5 passing yards they’re currently surrendering per game.

On the ground for the Als, William Stanback returns and looks to show he’s healthy heading into the most important time of the year.

Watch live. Hamilton Tiger-Cats @ Montreal Alouettes, Oct. 28, 22:00 CET (10 pm, 4 pm EDT)

He’ll go head-to-head with a Ticats’ run defence that ranks sixth in the league in yards against per game and has a physical line featuring Ja’Gared Davis and Ted Laurent. Supporting those two are playmakers at linebacker in Jameer Thurman and Simoni Lawrence. Thurman is eight tackles shy of 100 on the season and Lawrence has five sacks.

Als’ head coach Jason Maas admits his team is going to be selective with how they go about this game knowing what’s to come next week but at the end of the day, he wants to win.

“I would say both teams are probably going to do a little bit of that,” Maas told “You’re not going to show everything your going to use in that Eastern Semi-Final but we’re going in to win. We’re going in to play and play our guys and so the plan that we have, we’re expecting it to work and we’re going to try and execute the best we can. We really just said this week we want to get better as a football team.”

On the other side, head coach Orlondo Steinauer runs his offence through quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell, a trend that continues this week as he continues to round into form following an injury.

In the receiving game, watch for Tyreik McAllisterChris Osei-Kusi and Derel Walker to take on expanded roles as top target Tim White gets the game off.

While the game won’t impact the standings or the playoff picture, the Als’ defence remains out to prove it’s among the best in the league. Currently sitting third in total net yards allowed per game with 337.4, it’s been their secondary that’s stood out above all. Defensive backs Marc-Antoine DequoyCiante Evans, Dionte Ruffin and Wesley Sutton aim to keep that narrative alive.

Up front, it’s the responsibility of Israel AntwineMustafa Johnson and Shawn Lemon on the line and Darnell Sankey and Reggie Stubblefield at linebacker to stuff the run and cause havoc for the Ticats’ quarterbacks.

Running back James Butler has recorded back-to-back seasons of over 1,000 yards and gets a breather, opening the door for Felix Garand-Gauthier and Bailey Feltmate to prove what they can do.

Steinauer wants his players to prepare for this game like any other, no matter who’s in or out.

“This is a game for us to get better,” Steinauer told reporters. “The approach is, it’s another football game, they’re going to kick the ball off and this is an opportunity to get better and we’re not going to miss that chance.”

It’s one final opportunity to prepare for the Eastern Semi-Final, which takes place right back in Montreal next week.

Watch live. Hamilton Tiger-Cats @ Montreal Alouettes, Oct. 28, 22:00 CET (10 pm, 4 pm EDT)

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