(Montreal) The Montreal Alouettes have only one goal in mind this weekend: confirm their place in the Canadian Football League playoffs.
Jason Maas’ squad will arrive in Ottawa on Saturday afternoon with a 7-7 record. An eighth victory will ensure, at worst, third place in the Eastern section, with a better record than the fourth team in the West.
“We talked about it at the start of the week: we know what’s at stake for us,” Maas said after Thursday’s training. But we don’t make it an obsession. What we want to do is play good football in all three phases of the game, concentrate on our game.
“We know our opponents: we have faced them twice so far. We have to play a big game and what happens will happen. »
But despite the Rouge et Noir’s 4-10 record, the “Birds” are not expecting a fun time at TD Place.
“They played 13 games that were decided in the last three minutes of the game,” noted the Alouettes head coach. Their turnover ratio is the second best in the league and in my opinion it is one of the best indicators of victory. We know that they are a dangerous team and that they play well. »
“They’re not a bad team at all; we have to brush aside their record when we prepare to face them, for his part indicated quarterback Cody Fajardo. Their record is 3-10 in games played in the final minutes. Change the game for a handful of these meetings and they are in the thick of the race with everyone else in the East.
“Their record doesn’t indicate how good a team they are and technically they’re not out of the playoff race yet. They will give us value for our money. »
Fajardo could have added that seven of the Rouge et Noir’s matches were decided by four points or less. He is 2-5 on such occasions.
For the Alouettes, it is therefore a question of eliminating a direct rival in this race for the playoffs.
” Absolutely ! Anytime you can win a game in the East, it’s really four points at stake, Fajardo corroborated. We have our destiny in our hands and we want to present a playoff match in front of our fans.
The Alouettes will, however, be deprived of an important element for this duel, since receiver Austin Mack was left out.
Mack, who leads the CFL with 1,057 passing yards and four touchdowns on 70 catches, is out with a thigh injury and hasn’t practiced all week.
Maas indicated earlier this week that he planned to wait until after Saturday’s warm-up to make a decision. Clearly, that was no longer an option on Friday. It is the young receiver Shelder Fervius who will be inserted into the formation in his place.
Kick return specialist Chandler Worthy and defensive back Kordell Rodgers were also ruled out for this game.
James Letcher Jr. took Worthy’s place in training this week. He will replace him in the lineup on Saturday. Kabion Ento will play in place of Rodgers. He will be assisted by Dishon McNary Jr.
Left guard Philippe Gagnon, who also missed Thursday’s training, appears on Maas’s team, as second to Pier-Olivier Lestage.
Elsewhere, defensive end Shawn Lemon could collect his 100th career sack in this game, whose kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.
Lemon, who played 144 games, would become the 13th player in Ambrosie circuit history to achieve this feat.
If he were to score two, like last week against the Calgary Stampeders, he would join Odell Willis in 12th place.
In nine games in 2023, Lemon has seven sacks, two interceptions and a forced fumble.