The Montreal Alouettes clinched a playoff spot in the CFL’s East Division by beating the host Ottawa Redblacks 32-15 on Sept. 30.
If they can topple Ottawa for the fourth time this year on Monday in Montreal, the Alouettes might earn a home game in the playoffs next month.
Montreal (8-7), which entered Saturday night in second place in the East, has won two games in a row. However, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (8-8) won Saturday night at Saskatchewan, leaving the teams to battle to secure a home game to start what each hopes will be a run to the Grey Cup.
On paper, the Alouettes’ chances of getting past Toronto (13-2) in a division final on the Argonauts’ home field aren’t great. Montreal lost all three regular-season meetings, being outscored 97-57.
But don’t tell safety Marc-Antoine Dequoy about that notion.
After all, he believed in Montreal, even as ownership instability last offseason led to the departure of a spate of key players via free agency.
“We had a change but still had a core of people,” he said. “We didn’t lose 90 percent of the roster. We had a winning mentality and wanted to get to the playoffs. The GM (Danny Maciocia) was the same. All that changed was the coaching staff and the owner.”
While the Alouettes are preparing for the playoffs, the Redblacks (4-11) are clinging to the smallest of postseason hopes. They have to win their last three games and Saskatchewan has to lose its last three, which would allow Ottawa into the field as a crossover participant that would play in the West.
“The only way we can control our future is what we do and that’s winning this weekend,” first-year Redblacks coach Bob Dyce said. “So that’s where our focus is locked in on, making sure that we get better and we’re better than we were here.”
Ottawa’s latest loss to Montreal was sloppy. It coughed up five turnovers, including Dequoy’s 108-yard interception return in the third quarter. It was his second pick-six of the year.
“Last week wasn’t who we are and who we want to be,” Ottawa quarterback Dustin Crum said.