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The Rematch: Argos and Alouettes meet for first time since East Final

(Sam Donsig/Intermission Sports)


On November 11th, 2023, the visiting Montreal Alouettes took on the Toronto Argonauts in the East Final. The winner would move on to the Grey Cup and claim the title as best in the East. 

Montreal, led by former Saskatchewan Roughrider Cody Fajardo, had a huge task ahead of them: beat the seemingly unstoppable 16-2 Argonauts, bring Montreal to their first Cup in over 10 years and punch a ticket to glory.

Toronto had a similar goal in mind. After a franchise season and receiving the bye week for the playoffs, the team looked to bring forth a repeat after winning the 109th Grey Cup in 2022. 

As cool as I have made these storylines sound, Montreal obliterated Toronto by a score of 38-17 in that game.

This Friday, the Argos have a chance to get their revenge on the Alouettes. Montreal will again be the visiting team in front of a hungry blue-and-white crowd. 

The Argos look substantially different from when they last played Montreal. First off, quarterback Chad Kelly has been suspended by the CFL for nine games and replaced by second-year QB Cameron Dukes. They also lost running back A.J. Oullette in free agency, who Ka’Deem Carey has replaced. 

Dukes has been playing his heart out in his last two games, throwing for five touchdowns, rushing for two and having no interceptions. He’s patient and sees the field well, as seen in an 81% completion percentage with 468 yards total on the season. Dukes is playing well and should continue his hot streak against Montreal. 

With the Stampeders last season, Carey played nine games after a knee injury sidelined him for the first nine. Carey wants a bounce-back season and it looks possible over his last two games. He has 169 rushing yards with one rushing and one receiving touchdown, making him a double threat for both the run and pass game. He will certainly be a player to keep an eye out for on Friday. 

Montreal, on the other hand, has decided to run it back with essentially the same roster. They decided to keep Fajardo and extend him, giving him the keys to the franchise and keeping his most trusted receiver Tyson Philpot. 

Fajardo is on a hot streak of his own with seven touchdowns and 916 total yards on the season. Similar to Dukes, he is playing with incredible efficiency—he’s sporting a 73% completion percentage. His gunslinging technique and ability to make plays for Montreal combined with his football IQ makes him one of the tougher players in the CFL to crack and he surely will have another good game this Friday. 

Philpot is one of if not the most explosive receivers in the CFL and this season, he is on a complete tear. Averaging 113 yards per game, Philpot is a defensive coordinator's nightmare this season. Compared to last season, where he had 532 yards in 13 games, Philpot is showing that he is elite and will pose a threat to the Argos defence. 

What the Argos need to do to win: 

The Argos need to do a few things to secure the win. The first is to play flawless defence. With the emergence of the Philpot and Fajardo duo, they need to force Fajardo to throw to his other targets and make him uncomfortable in the pocket. This means a lot of Cover 4 blitzes or tight man and zone defences. The Argos need to apply pressure on every single down to neutralize the power of the Alouettes' offence. 

Offensively, the Argos need to emphasize the run game. Montreal's pass defence got the best of the Argos the last time, so if they can get Ka’Deem Carey going, that will open up the passing game. Further, their offence needs to be efficient and productive to continue this win streak. Their game plan must consist of clock management and keeping the Montreal offence off the field. 

What Montreal needs to do to win: 

Montreal needs to keep playing like they have all year. They steamrolled through Winnipeg, Edmonton and Ottawa—even holding Ottawa to one first-half point last week. Their defense is showing they can help win a ton of games and Fajardo has been on point all year. 

With all of this out there, Montreal must create a defensive game plan to keep Dukes and Carey from running down the clock and give their offence a chance to operate and score points. Montreal needs to put pressure on Dukes and not give him much time to throw and be patient. This means expect the Alouettes to run some blitzes and contain schemes to get the best of the second-year QB. 


In the end, this is a must-watch game for CFL fans everywhere. Each player will go out there and give it their all in this primetime Friday night matchup, the result of which could prove consequential down the line.


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