Saturday, June 15, 2024
Sports Betting Phenoms

CFL 2024 Week 1 Preview: Hamilton Tiger-Cats (0-0) vs Calgary Stampeders (0-0)

CALGARY – The first Friday Night Football game of the season sees the Hamilton Tiger-Cats make their way west for a battle with the Calgary Stampeders at McMahon Stadium on June 7.

Both teams are looking to find early success coming off seasons where they struggled to find their footing.

New Tiger-Cats head coach Scott Milanovich will hope for stability under centre after the team used three different quarterbacks for extended periods due to injuries in 2023.

The quarterback duties fall on Bo Levi Mitchell, who will get the start Friday night, and the recently extended Taylor Powell. It’s Mitchell’s first matchup in Calgary since leaving the team he won two Grey Cups with (2014, 2018) after the 2022 season.

The veteran appeared in only six games last year due to injuries, giving way to Powell who played 16 games in his first CFL season and threw for 2,283 and 10 touchdowns.

Mitchell should be eyeing top receiver Tim White early and often in the opener. White emerged as one of, if not the, top receiver in the league last season as he totalled 1,269 yards and eight touchdowns.

He understands it’s the beginning of a long grind but knows the importance of getting better every day.

“Every single day we step out there we’re just trying to elevate our game,” White told reporters.

“Making sure we’re getting tighter with our details and we’re getting more familiar with the game plan as things go.”

Kiondré Smith, along with newcomers Brendan O’Leary-Orange and Luther Hakunavanhu are additional options in the pass game. Hakunavanhu should be particularly motivated facing his former team for the first time.

As the offence attempts to build momentum, running back James Butler aims to be the steady presence Milanovich can rely on. Although he’s currently listed as a game-time decision.

Butler has produced two straight 1,000-plus rushing yard seasons, with a career high 1,116 in 2023.

If Butler isn’t ready to go, the duties fall on National tailback Ante Litre.

If the Ticat rushers can make their way through a defensive line led by Julian Howsare, Mike Rose and the return of James Vaughters, they’ll run into the strength of the Stamps defence, the linebacker corp.

Micah Awe was tops in the league with 134 defensive tackles and Cameron Judge can make an impact against the run and the pass.

Further downfield, Kobe Williams and former Winnipeg Blue Bomber Demerio Houston have to make plays to shutdown the likes of White and his supporting cast. In Houston, the Stamps added a player with a league leading seven interceptions from a year ago to an area of their defence they hope to improve.

Head coach Dave Dickenson is certainly excited to see what his new look secondary can do.

“I think we’ve upgraded and I think we’ll be better,” Dickenson told reporters.

“Now we’ll just see if we can do it week in, week out. You always go into the year feeling good.”

It’ll be Jake Maier’s pocket in Calgary to start the season after throwing for 4,244 yards and 19 touchdowns.

For Maier to find success, he’ll need to cut down on his interception totals after throwing 15 last year.

And while he won’t have to worry about Tunde Adeleke in the secondary, who signed in Toronto, Stavros Katsantonis burst onto the scene with five interceptions and two sacks.

Katsantonis, along with fellow defensive backs Richard Leonard and Kenneth George Jr. are tasked with shutting down a Stamps receiving corp flush with talent. Newcomer Jamal Peters was limited in practice all week and won’t be available on Friday night.

Reggie Begelton is Maier’s obvious top target but Marken Michel and Jalen Philpot have proven to be difference makers when given the opportunity.

Dickenson is asking running backs Dedrick Mills, Peyton Logan and B.J. Emmons to carry the load as the post-Ka’Deem Carey era begins. Mills is coming off an 802-yard season and Emmons is set to make his CFL debut.

A revamped Ticats defensive line that includes two players who signed from down the QEW in Brandon Barlow and Dewayne Hendrix, along with the always steady Casey Sayles, aim to close space on the ground and force the Stamps to put the ball in the air.

It’s a matchup of two teams who hope to get off to better starts than a year ago when they dropped their respective season openers.

Kickoff is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET. Catch the game between the Ticats and Stampeders on TSN. International and U.S. fans can follow the action on CFL+.

5-Hour Energy

Related Articles

Cellucor C4

Latest Articles

BougeRV Solar Generator