LIVESTREAM PPV: CFL- Toronto Argonauts @Montreal Alouettes, Sunday, Oct. 28, 1p (7p CET)

MONTREAL — Two squads with their focus firmly turned to 2019 will meet Sunday afternoon in Montreal, where the Alouettes host the Argos in a rematch of Week 19’s last-minute thriller in Toronto.

Marc Trestman’s Argonauts scored a 26-22 win on that afternoon, thanks to a James Franklin sneak touchdown with 56 seconds left to play; it snapped Toronto’s seven-game losing streak, and extended Montreal’s active one to five games.

All eyes will be on the quarterbacks come Sunday, as James Franklin and Johnny Manziel continue their quests to solidify the starting jobs with the Argos and Als respectively next season.

Last week’s meeting saw Franklin throw a pair of interceptions but also rush for two short-yardage touchdowns; Manziel threw a touchdown and interception in the defeat for Montreal.

The Argos will hand the ball to Franklin on Sunday; the 27 year-old is trying to establish himself in his first season with more than 150 pass attempts, and you can be sure General Manager Jim Popp will be watching his performance closely in the final weeks of a disappointing 2018 campaign.

“I’ve got to continue to have more confidence and trust in the guys with some of the routes,” Franklin, who tossed two INTs last week after three relatively clean performances, told Argonauts.ca. “We were on the wrong page on a couple routes last week, (so) I want to play with more confidence (and) make sure I’m on the same page as them.”

Defensive tackle Dylan Wynn will dress for the second straight week after missing two months with an injury; the 25-year-old Oregon State product is excited to be back healthy with his teammates.

“I took every week just like I was playing it, (but) it was a long break — it’s good to be back,” said Wynn, a divisional all-star last season. “(I’d do) anything I can to help the team, whether that’s helping the younger guys with their technique and execution, or anything I can do checking out an O-line.”

Wynn’s numbers are down this year — from six sacks and 34 tackles in 15 games last season to two sacks in nine games this year — but the Concord, Calif. native is just fired up to be back on a football field.

“We’re professionals, we get paid for this,” said Wynn when asked about motivation at this late stage of the season. “You’ve got to give everything you’ve got, because you don’t know when your last play’s going to be.

“(I was) out for eight weeks this year…you don’t know when the last snap is, and you’re a fool if you’re not taking advantage of every rep you get.”

Toronto snapped a seven-game skid with the win last week on home turf, something head coach Marc Trestman and his charges had been in serious need of.

“The biggest thing is when you’re in the locker room after a win, it’s the best time to reflect on the work you did the entire week,” said Trestman. “It gives guys some perspective on how hard it is to win in professional sports, and the time to just be grateful for that, and then move onto the next week.”

The main story in Montreal this week centred around big-name quarterback Johnny Manziel, after rumours of a locker room divide surfaced from a TVA Sports football journalist.

Manziel, who has shown improvement over the course of his six starts with the Alouettes, strongly denied the existence of any riff and — later in the week to TSN’s John Lu reaffirmed his commitment to the team in 2019.

“I come in here to work every day, I treat my guys in the locker room with respect,” Manziel told RDS. “Ask the guys, ask around, see what they have to say. I have great friends on this team, that I care about and will have lifelong friendships with.

“Whoever’s out there spreading the negative things like that, they’re absolutely wrong,” continued the embattled quarterback. “You can ask around this locker room and find out about it, I can guarantee you that.”

Sunday’s final home game — along with Week 21’s curtain-closer in Hamilton — will be played for nothing more than pride in Als camp, with the team anchored to the bottom of the East Division standings at 3-13.

“We definitely want to play with pride and finish well,” said centre Kristian Matte. “On the line, I want to still be proud of the way I play, and I want to show that I’m a good player.

“We’re not going to let up in the final weeks of the season — nobody’s like that on this team,” continued the 33-year-old veteran. “We’re a confident, proud group, not proud of the season we’ve had, but we want to be proud of the way we end the season.”

By The Numbers:

— Wins in six starts for Montreal QB Johnny Manziel since joining the Alouettes. The Texas A&M product has thrown three touchdowns against seven interceptions in that time; backup Antonio Pipkin, who owns a 2-2 record as a starter, has thrown one touchdown against eight interceptions.

58 — Team-high tackles recorded by Toronto’s Alden Darby this season; the versatile hybrid defender also had a pair of pick-sixes earlier this season in back-to-back weeks (Week 11 @ MTL, Week 12 @ HAM)

77.1 — Average QB rating between starters Johnny Manziel (74.3) and James Franklin (80.0), who rank sixth and eighth in the category amongst Week 20 starters — sandwiching Saskatchewan’s Zach Collaros at 79.5.

275 — Total points scored by the Alouettes this season, the lowest mark in the league; Toronto owns the second-lowest output at 350. Khari Jones’s Montreal offence ranks last in nearly every major statistical category (pass yards, pass TDs, rush TDs, possession time and sacks allowed).

If last week’s contest at BMO Field was any indication, both the Alouettes and Argonauts are going to take their deep shots, play to win and open up the playbook.

With players competing for 2019 jobs — and understanding that neither organization is satisfied with their respective sub.-500 performances this year — there’s still plenty on the line in this Week 20 matchup.

The storylines are plentiful.

Will William Stanback build on his career-best 118-yard performance last week? Can James Franklin build his off-season case to enter 2019 as the starter? Which of these struggling units — both teams rank last and second-last in offensive production and defensive points allowed — will step up in the closing weeks of the season?

– With files from Argonauts.ca/MontrealAlouettes.com

AFI, Yare Media and the CFL

American Football International is collaborating with Yare Media and the Canadian Football League to present 2018 CFL games live. This is more than a livestream. This is a stream of the top flight TSN network television broadcast.

LIVE STREAM PPV: CFL – Toronto Argonauts @Montreal Alouettes, Sunday, Oct. 28, 1p (7p CET)

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