The Toronto Argonauts travel to Hamilton as the Tiger-Cats play their first game of the season at Tim Hortons Field in the Labour Day Classic.
For decades, the Labour Day Classic has been a staple of the CFL calendar and it has been a staple of the rivalry between the Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
The tradition of Labour Day usually breathes life into the season at around the midway point but this season, it carries a different meaning. For the Tiger-Cats, it’s their first game at home in front of their fans in 659 days after the team started their season on the road.
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Toronto is coming off an unexpected BYE week after their game against the Edmonton Elks was postponed. It didn’t phase Toronto who used the time to get themselves focused on this important matchup against Hamilton.
The Argos had a major question mark on the offensive line with Dariusz Bladek and Philip Blake not practicing because of COVID protocols. Head coach Ryan Dinwiddie made it clear that having both veterans available even without practice was important for their offensive gameplan as Blake and Bladek were a part of the team’s virtual meetings.
Unfortunately for Ricky Collins Jr., he wasn’t cleared to play against the Tiger-Cats which takes away a weapon for Nick Arbuckle but Dinwiddie said that he expects Dejon Brissett and Kurleigh Gittens Jr. to fill the void on the offensive side of the ball. Fortunately, DaVaris Daniels is healthy enough to get the start after leaving the last game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers with a concussion.
Toronto Argonauts need to be ready for Tiger-Cats stingy defence
Fortunately for the Argos, they went toe-to-toe against arguably the best defence in the CFL and managed to put up 30 points against Winnipeg. The TiCats will have Dylan Wynn and Ja’Gared Davis back which is a tough test for the Argos offensive line.
Seeing how strong the Argos running game has been this season, that might keep Hamilton on their toes like against the Blue Bombers as Willie Jefferson wasn’t as productive. Arbuckle will have to adjust to whatever time he will have in the pocket.
Defensively, Toronto knows that Dane Evans has one of the stronger arms in the league and won’t be afraid to take shots down the field. This is why Brandon Banks remains a player to watch even if he’s having a slower than usual start to the season.
The defence has been a strength of the Argos and a constant producer in all so far this season. Keeping the running game a non-factor will be important for Toronto as they have allowed the fewest yards per carry among CFL teams this season.
Monday’s game will be a tough one for Toronto with the crowd in Hamilton promising to be hostile as this game will be an early test to see which team can seize the top spot in the division.