LIVESTREAM CFL: Montreal Alouettes @ Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Aug. 6, 01:00 CET (1 am, 7 pm Aug. 5 EDT)

HAMILTON — To say things are tight in the East Division standings would be a massive understatement.

It’s part of what makes Saturday’s game between the Montreal Alouettes and Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Tim Hortons Field so important.

Montreal and Hamilton are deadlocked with six points each and are both coming off victories in Week 8. The last time the two teams met back in Week 3 in Hamilton, it was the Alouettes who came away with a 38-12 victory.

The Alouettes shut down Calgary’s offence en route to a 24-18 victory last week and the Tiger-Cats slowed the red-hot REDBLACKS in a 16-12 win.

» Depth Chart: HAM | MTL

Going up against an offence that’s allowed 207 points through seven games, Als quarterback Cody Fajardo will try to rebound from a 158-yard performance.

He targeted 10 different receivers against the Stamps but only one had more than 40 yards. Receivers Austin Mack and Tyler Snead will once again be crucial to the offence’s success, but watch for Hergy MayalaTyson Philpot and Chandler Worthy to provide much needed support. All five will need to step up in the absence of Kaion Julien-Grant who’s sidelined with a hand injury.

Hamilton’s defence ranks seventh in both yards given up through the air and on the ground.

The Als were able to put up 119 rushing yards a week ago, with 86 coming from William Stanback, a promising sign for head coach Jason Maas. Stanback being able to take reps off the pass game and diversify the offence will only help the Als move the football.

The season may not be going as well as Stanback had hoped but he still remains confident in his ability.

“I feel like I’m really getting my feet wet again and just getting back to how I used to be,” Stanback told “I’m still working on just building my confidence in my ankle. The strength is growing every day and every week. I just want to continue to stay right and trust what we have going on and just keep executing.”

The Alouettes defence, meanwhile, ranks in the middle of the league against the pass and the run.

Defensive back Kordell Rodgers and Kabion Ento both had an interception against the Stamps, bringing their team total to nine. Ento has stepped up in the absence of Ciante Evans and Nafees Lyon.

“I just wanted to do my job, nothing more,” Ento told “Once you do that, and everybody else believes in each other, great things are bound to happen.”

With Bo Levi Mitchell back on the injured list after injuring his leg last week, the secondary will try to capitalize on the revolving door that’s been the Ticats’ pivots.

Watch live. Montreal Alouettes @ Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Aug. 6, 01:00 CET (1 am, 7 pm Aug. 5 EDT)

Maas has put a focus on his defensive front’s ability to get to the quarterback over the past few weeks and it seems to be paying off. While the Als have a league-low 10 sacks, defensive lineman Jamal Davis, Avery Ellis and linebacker Bryce Notree all had one against the Stamps.

One thing going for Taylor Powell, who will be back under centre, is the Ticats offensive line has allowed the third fewest sacks with 14.

With Powell back in control of the offence, Orlondo Steinauer needs his receivers to step up. Six receivers had at least 30 yards against Ottawa, with D’Haquille Williams and backup quarterback Kai Locksley pulling down touchdown receptions.

The receiving game will be of extra importance given the Ticats difficulties running the ball. With just 24 yards on the ground against the REDBLACKS, they’re now averaging 73.7 per game.

Steinauer hopes Powell will lean on some of the experience he gained from playing earlier in the year when leading the offence onto the field.

“This is a chance for him to know he’s the guy,” Steinauer told “We’ll see what he’s taken from the first game. We’re hoping that he takes care of the football, makes the throws that we’re asking him to make and other than that be himself.”

If the Ticats want to be a contender not only this week, but going forward, the play of their run game needs to improve. Running back James Butler certainly has the track record to get going and will try to provide a spark against a physical Als front.

On defence, Steinauer will want to see their momentum carry into this week as his team gave up 265 net yards to the REDBLACKS, a stark improvement from their season average of 368.1.

Linebacker Jameer Thurman is tabbed with providing stability in the middle of the field by keeping an eye on Fajardo and Stanback. He has 51 total defensive plays and 46 defensive tackles to his name.

Finding a way to get to Fajardo, who has been sacked 27 times, will make things difficult on the rest of the Als offence. When he gets the ball off he’ll be faced by secondary flanked by Kenneth George Jr., who had an interception in Ottawa, and Javien Elliott.

Win and move ahead in the standings, that’s what’s up for grabs on Saturday night.

Watch live. Montreal Alouettes @ Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Aug. 6, 01:00 CET (1 am, 7 pm Aug. 5 EDT)

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