Tiger-Cats, Alouettes wrap season before they meet again in playoffs

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats will visit the Montreal Alouettes on Saturday, closing out the regular season with a playoff sneak peek.

The Alouettes (10-7) and Tiger-Cats (8-9) already clinched playoff berths and will face off again in Montreal for the CFL Eastern semifinal on Nov. 4, with the winner advancing to face the Toronto Argonauts in the division final.

Montreal swept the first two meetings this season, winning 38-12 on June 23 and 27-14 on Aug. 5, both times at Hamilton. Both teams were off last weekend.

The Alouettes are on a four-game winning streak and coming off a 35-21 victory at Edmonton on Oct. 14. Montreal rallied from a 21-3 deficit in the second quarter, highlighting the comeback with a 38-yard fumble return by Mustafa Johnson and an incredible 125-yard missed field-goal return by James Letcher Jr.

“When you’re down as many points as we were, and then it all comes back in force, it’s pretty awesome,” Alouettes coach Jason Maas told The Canadian Press. “I’m pretty biased, but I think we’re a very good football team that plays well together. There’s nobody that quits on our side.”

The Tiger-Cats have been idle since a 33-30 loss at home to the BC Lions on Oct. 13. Hamilton led 24-23 entering the fourth quarter but couldn’t hang on as Sean Whyte booted the game-winning 48-yard field goal for BC as time expired.

Hamilton has rotated quarterbacks for the past two games since two-time Grey Cup champion and two-time CFL Most Outstanding Player Bo Levi Mitchell returned from a lower-leg fracture.

Against the Lions, Mitchell completed 13 of 18 passes for 135 yards with two touchdowns and backup Matthew Shiltz was 14-for-19 for 180 yards and one TD.

Both quarterbacks are prepared to play however many snaps coach Orlondo Steinauer asks them to in Montreal.

“I’m going to get my body completely ready even ahead of where it is now (and) mentally I’m going to be ready to go from now until the Grey Cup and play every snap,” Mitchell said, per The Canadian Press.

Added Shiltz, “If they want me to play four quarters, I’m going to be ready to play. I’m going to prepare like it’s the most important game on the schedule because it’s the next one.”