Montreal Alouettes’ Tyrell Sutton (20) runs in for a touchdown during second half CFL football action against the Calgary Stampeders in Montrea earlier this summer. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS

Stampeders look to clinch home playoff game with victory over struggling Als

No other CFL team has been able to match what the Montreal Alouettes did July 24.

Montreal beat Calgary 30-23 at McGill Stadium that night, halting the Stampeders’ 19-game regular-season win streak. And it’s the only defeat the defending West Division champions have endured this season.

The two teams meet again Friday night, this time at McMahon Stadium going in completely different directions.

Calgary (11-1-1) sits atop the West Division with the CFL’s best record and riding a 16-game home win streak. Montreal (3-10) is last in the East Division, having lost six straight and eight-of-nine games since downing the Stampeders.

Montreal is also 0-6 on the road this season and 2-5 against West Division teams. Calgary boasts a 4-1-1 record versus Eastern rivals.

In July, Montreal outrushed (143 yards to 28) and outgained (439 offensive yards to 407) the Stampeders. Veteran Darian Durant was 17-of-22 passing for 296 yards with a TD and two interceptions while Tyrell Sutton ran for 85 yards and a TD and Earnest Jackson had four catches for 118 yards.

Calgary’s Bo Levi Mitchell completed 34-of-50 passes for 378 yards and a TD with Kamar Jorden registering nine catches for 140 yards. But the biggest difference now is a rugged Stampeders’ defence that’s allowing just 16.2 offensive points per game while forcing 33 turnovers, both league highs.

Calgary is also tied with Toronto (38) for most sacks, registering five, along with an interception and forced fumble, in last weekend’s 15-9 win over Saskatchewan. The Stampeders held the Roughriders to 13 first downs and 210 net offensive yards.

And that’s not good news for Drew Willy, who’s expected to start ahead of Durant (hamstring). Montreal’s offence is ranked second-last overall in offensive points (18.4 per game), net yards (325.3) and passing yards (248.6).

Last weekend, the Toronto Argonauts ran for 154 yards — James Wilder Jr. accounting for 141 himself — in their 33-19 home victory over Montreal.

Calgary’s Jerome Messam, the CFL rushing leader, ran for 127 yards against Saskatchewan and needs just 103 yards to reach the 1,000-yard plateau for the second straight year and third time in his nine-year career. The Stampeders have already clinched a post-season berth and would secure a home playoff game for the sixth straight year with a victory over Montreal.

PREDICTION: Calgary.

Saskatchewan Roughriders versus Ottawa Redblacks (Friday night)

Ryan Lindley will make a second straight start for Ottawa (5-8-1) with veterans Trevor Harris (shoulder) and Drew Tate (shoulder-arm) both ailing. Lindley was just 16-of-36 passing for 151 yards with a pick in his first CFL start, last weekend’s 29-9 loss to Winnipeg. Kevin Glenn returns under centre for Saskatchewan (6-6) after giving way to Canadian Brandon Bridge last weekend against Calgary. The Riders are 2-4 on the road but 3-1 against East Division clubs.

Prediction: Saskatchewan.

Toronto Argonauts versus Hamilton Tiger-Cats (Saturday night)

Toronto (6-7) looks for a season-high third straight win to not only remain atop the East Division but clinch the season series with Hamilton (3-9). Running back James Wilder Jr. has run for 331 yards the last two games but the Argos are 0-7 at Tim Hortons Field and 1-5 on the road. The Ticats are 3-1 under interim coach June Jones and Alex Green rushed for 140 yards in last weekend’s 24-23 road win over the B.C. Lions.

Prediction: Toronto.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers versus Edmonton Eskimos (Saturday night)

Edmonton (7-5) comes off the bye looking to snap a five-game losing streak, which began Aug. 17 with a 33-26 road loss to Winnipeg (9-3). The Bombers have won two straight and seven of their last eight and scored over 30 points nine times this season. But they’ll be minus defensive lineman Jamaal Westerman (seven sacks) for the rest of the year. The Eskimos have allowed 30 or more points in four of their last five losses and scored over 30 points just once in that span.

Prediction: Winnipeg.

Last week: 3-1.

Overall: 40-16-1.

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