STREAMING CFL PPV: Ottawa REDBLACKS @ Montreal Alouettes, Oct. 10, 19:00 CET (7 pm, 1 pm ET)

MONTREAL — Thanksgiving weekend presented by Purolator will come to a close with a clash between the East Division rival Montreal Alouettes and Ottawa REDBLACKS.

With a win over Ottawa on Thanksgiving Monday, Montreal would clinch a home playoff date, hosting either the Hamilton Tiger-Cats or Saskatchewan Roughriders in the Eastern Semi-Final.

Ottawa enters the Thanksgiving weekend in hopes of turning a new leaf after parting way with head coach Paul LaPolice following the team’s Week 17 loss to the BC Lions.

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In the lead up to the Thanksgiving matchup, all of the attention has been on the Montreal backfield as star running back William Stanback is set to return to game action. Stanback has been listed as the No.1 back on the team’s depth chart for the first time since suffering an injury in Week 1.

Stanback was the league’s leading rusher and the only 1,000-yard back in 2021 as the Montreal running back rushed for 1,176 yards on 193 attempts and averaged 6.1 yards per carry.

The 2021 CFL All-Star will presumably share the workload with Walter Fletcher and Jeshrun Antwi as he continues to work his way back into the lineup. However the presence of the star back should provide a large boost of confidence for the Alouettes rushing attack. The pairing of  Fletcher and Antwi have performed admirably in the absence of Stanback, combining for 935 rushing yards this season, with each back averaging 5.8 yards per carry.

In a team media session earlier this week, Stanback was noticeably excited, but admitted that it will take time as he continues to work back into the Montreal offensive rotation.

“Just getting back on the same page with everybody,” Stanback told “Things do change. A little bit of the terminology and play calling (is different), but I stuck with the playbook. Even when I was out of the lineup, I was still getting the plays and learning them to make sure that when I do come back, I’m not falling short of anything and I’m on the same page as the guys on the offensive side of the ball. Knocking off rust, it’s hard sometimes because you haven’t been running around and playing football at this speed.”

The Alouettes have enjoyed offensive success this season in their two games against the REDBLACKS. Quarterback Trevor Harris has thrown for a combined 597 yards and four touchdowns, while completing 78 per cent of his 60 passing attempts when playing Ottawa.

Receiver Eugene Lewis has excelled at finding ways to exploit the Ottawa secondary over his last two seasons. In five games played against the REDBLACKS since 2021 the Montreal playmaker has caught 25 passing for 311 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 62.2 yards per game in that span.

While the REDBLACKS secondary will need to be aware of Lewis at all times, receivers Hergy Mayala and Reggie White Jr. have also had breakout performances against the East Division rivals. In their two previous meetings this season White has reeled in a combine nine receptions for 149 yards, while Mayala broke free for 102 yards and a touchdown against Ottawa in Week 7.

Boasting the second highest completion percentage among starting quarterbacks, Harris will look to continue to lead the Als offence downfield with precision, timing and elite efficiency. Facing an Ottawa passing defence that allows an average of 280.1 passing yards per game, Harris and the Als receivers should have plenty of opportunity to find success when putting the ball in the air.

The play of the Alouettes secondary has been instrumental in helping their team earn wins this season. Their 12 interceptions is the third fewest in the league. However, the Als have shown to best one of the best teams at capitalizing on their takeaways, scoring three touchdowns on interception returns this season. Including a 100-yard interception return touchdown from linebacker Tyrice Beverette to seal a win in Week 17.

The REDBLACKS find themselves in the midst of a regime change at the head coaching position following the announcement the team had parted ways with Paul LaPolice.

Bob Dyce was named interim head coach and has served as the team’s special teams coordinator since 2016. REDBLACKS general manager Shawn Burke expressed his confidence in Dyce when speaking to team media earlier this week.

“In this business, sometimes a change is required to help move a team forward and that’s what we’ve done here,” Burke told “We’re fortunate to have a coach of Bob Dyce’s caliber and experience able to step up and take on this role. We are committed to getting back to what RNation deserves which is exciting and winning football.”

Despite the loss to BC in Week 17, quarterback Nick Arbuckle had one of his better statistical performances of the season as he threw for 363 yards and a touchdown. He found eight different receivers as he completed 75 per cent of his 36 passing attempts.

Receiver Tevaun Smith was the leading target for the REDBLACKS offence, catching seven of his nine targets for 77 yards and the lone Arbuckle touchdown pass, while Just Hardy led the team with 94 receiving yards. Smith is again listed as one of the team’s starting receivers ahead of the Thanksgiving matchup with Ottawa.

Despite finding yardage from new faces a week ago, Jaelon Acklin will still be relied upon to help push the ball downfield and score through the air. Acklin leads all REDBLACKS receivers and is third in the CFL with 1,125 receiving yards and has also found the end zone twice this season.

Running back William Powell will be making his return to the REDBLACKS lineup for the first time since Week 9. The Ottawa back has rushed for 296 yards and a touchdown on 67 carries this season, including a 79 yard outing against the Als in Week 7.

Defensively the REDBLACKS have had challenges at containing opposing offences this season, surrendering an average of 385 total yards of offence this season. Additionally Ottawa has allowed opponents to score on 31 of their 45 trips to the red zone, meaning that disrupting the timing of an efficient Als offence will be crucial.

Fortunately, the REDBLACKS can feel thankful about having defensive lineman Lorenzo Mauldin leading their pass-rush on Monday. Mauldin has had an excellent season on the edge for Ottawa and leads the CFL with 14 sacks in 14 games played. The Ottawa pass-rusher will look to lead the defensive unit and help to limit Harris’ ability to read the field in Week 18.

With first place in the East Division still well within reach, Montreal can close the gap on the first placed Argos with a win over Ottawa on Thanksgiving. While Ottawa will be looking for their first win under the Dyce-led team.

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