The Ottawa Redblacks and Hamilton Tiger-Cats will kick-off week 8 of the 2021 CFL season tonight at TD Place for a 7:30 eastern day light time kickoff. Ottawa goes into the game with a 1-4 record while Hamilton goes into it 3-3 and as for the Redblacks this is as close as you get to a must win situation. They will face a banged up Hamilton Tiger Cats team which is down both starting quarterbacks Dane Evans and Jeremiah Masoli as well as receivers Brandon Banks, Bralon Addison and potentially running back Sean Thomas Erlington. These injuries to Hamilton, despite the injuries of their own on the defensive side of the ball, without Abdul Kanneh, Sherrod Baltimore and Frank Beltre could help the Ottawa Redblacks. With a win they can improve to a 2-4 record and may even find themselves tied with the Montreal Alouettes for the third place spot in the eastern division if the Alouettes are to lose to the Toronto Argonauts this week as well.
To be able to be in that position, winning tonight’s game and improving to 2-4 heading into next week’s game against the injured Edmonton Elks who will be without starting quarterback Trevor Harris, the Redblacks will need to win a number of different battles. Some of those battles to keep eyes on would be the turnover battle, the battles within the trenches and the battles at the line of scrimmage between receiver and defensive back. In the last two games Ottawa has seen large improvements on the offensive side of the ball. They opened the season struggling in the pass game but have since had quarterback Dominique Davis throw for over 600 yards and 3 touchdowns in just 7 quarters under centre. He has uplifted the entire offensive side of the football and to win this week’s game against the Tiger-Cats he will need to not only make sure that he’s up to par with his receiving core which is led by R.J Harris, Ryan Davis, Kenny Stafford, Anthony Coombs and Nate Behar against the Tiger-Cats but will also need to ensure that the offensive line in front of him is playing well too. Ottawa’s offensive line coach Bob Wylie has had his hands full this season with a number of injuries, having to switch up the starting lineup every week. This week the line will feature 4 Canadians in Mark Korte, Andrew Pickett, Nolan MacMillan and Jakub Szott as well as American offensive tackle Jamar McGloster. They will also have Laval product Ketel Asse dress as a backup, but to make sure that the Redblacks stay in the game and have the ability to win this week 8 game against the Tiger-Cats the offensive line will need to win the battle in the trenches. The run game needs to have some success to open up the passing game some more because at this point of the season the Redblacks’ offensive play calling is too predictable.
To make it less predictable and help the Redblacks win not only this game but games moving forward the team will have to see victories at the line of scrimmage and not just on the offensive line and defensive line but also out wide between the wide receivers and defensive backs. The Redblacks will be with Kenny Stafford for the first time at receiver after signing him last week. He and the rest of the receiving core, led by RJ Harris, Ryan Davis and Nate Behar will need to have big games and be open for Dominique Davis to lead the Redblacks to a victory. Also needed in tonight’s game would be good games from the defensive secondary. Players like Antonine Pruneau, Randall Evans, Marcus Lewis, Gump Hayes and Brad Muhammad will need to have good games, locking up Tiger-Cats receivers and even getting some turnovers from young quarterback David Watford. Winning the turnover battle will be crucial for the Redblacks to win this game and more moving forward. The defensive secondary getting interceptions and the defensive line getting to the quarterback will be a bug deciding factor in tonight’s game, and if you are a Redblacks fan in attendance or tuned in on TSN the turnover battle and the battle within the trenches will be one to watch.
Watch the Redblacks face off against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at 7:30 tonight as they look to turn the season around.