Alouettes face uphill battle for playoff berth

Jim Popp believes it’s going to take a nine-win season in the East Division to qualify for the playoffs, meaning the Alouettes — much like Toronto and Hamilton — must win three of their remaining four games.

See Full Article

“But we have some stuff stacked against us,” the Als’ general manager said Wednesday, prior to the team photo being taken at Olympic Stadium. “We have to play on the road. That’s our own fault. We had early home games and didn’t take care of our own business.

“It’s not that we can’t do it,” Popp quickly added.

The Als have never failed to reach the playoffs since returning to the Canadian Football League in 1996 but, as Popp admitted, the odds appear somewhat daunting, given their remaining schedule.

The Als meet the Argonauts Saturday afternoon at Rogers Centre (2 p.m., TSN1, RDS, TSN Radio 690), both teams riding three-game winning streaks. The night before, the Tiger-Cats entertain the expansion Ottawa Redblacks. The Ticats haven’t lost at home since moving into their new stadium in September.

Toronto, Montreal and Hamilton all have identical 6-8 records. The Argos already have defeated the Als once, while Montreal defeated the Ticats in its only meeting.

The Als have road games remaining at Ottawa and Hamilton, entertaining the Argos in between. The Ticats must travel to Toronto and Ottawa. Three of the Argos’ remaining games are at home, including the season finale against the Redblacks.

While Montreal’s 5-3 at Molson Stadium good but not great — the Als have won only once on the road, at Ottawa.

“I think our team’s very capable,” Popp said. “We beat Calgary, that’s only lost twice. Saskatchewan has one of the better records in the league. We beat B.C. I think we’re capable of beating anybody.

“I think we have every chance to win every game we go into. I really do.”

The Als, of course, dug themselves into a whole during the first half of the season, losing six consecutive games and seven of eight overall. Since then, Montreal has won five of six, all with Jonathan Crompton as the team’s starting quarterback.

Crompton has passed for 1,512 yards along with seven touchdowns in seven games. He has been intercepted seven times, but hasn’t had a ball pilfered in three of his last four games. He has yet to surpass 300 yards in a game. Indeed his season-high of 266 yards came in three quarters of work, coming off the bench in relief of Alex Brink at Winnipeg, Aug. 22.

But Crompton has completed nearly 59 per cent of his attempts. And he has won.

“I think he has very nice pocket presence, and he runs better than people think he can,” Popp said. “He’s a strong man and is very well-liked. If you’re the quarterback and you’re winning, you’re well-liked.

“The real issue is winning. And he’s a 5-1 guy right now. That’s all that matters. The team’s playing with confidence and thinks they can win.”

A loss at Toronto this weekend would potentially have devastating results. In effect, it would put the Als two games behind the Argos, given the tiebreaker. It might also mean the Als’ playoff hopes would come down to the final game in Hamilton.


Latest Football News

  • Als are on top, ‘but I don’t want to get too excited,’ Higgins says

    Football Toronto Sun
    TORONTO — The Alouettes aren’t out of the woods yet. While they’ve won six of their last seven games and technically sit first in the East Division — tied with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, but holding the tiebreaker if necessary — they’ve yet to secure a playoff berth. Source
  • Herb Zurkowsky: Alouettes' 'tenacious' defence refuses to lose

    Football Toronto Sun
    TORONTO — There are not enough words, it seems, enough adjectives and superlatives to describe the Alouettes’ defence of late. A defence that continues defying the odds and overcoming obstacles; a defence that refuses to succumb to the seemingly daunting hurdles it faces. Source
  • Alouettes' defence delivers again

    Football Toronto Sun
    TORONTO — This season has been all about the Alouettes’ defence. So why would it have been any different in Montreal’s most-important game of the year? Source
  • The fall from grace of Alouettes' starting QB Troy Smith

    Football Toronto Sun
    It will live there, some would say in infamy, on the ninth page of this season’s Alouettes media guide — the full-page colour photo of a very serious-looking Troy Smith, clutching a football, dressed in full uniform, standing on the 30-yard line. Source
  • Montreal Alouettes release former Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith

    Football Toronto Sun
    MONTREAL – The Montreal Alouettes released quarterback Troy Smith on Thursday. The former Heisman Trophy winner started the Als’ first six games before being placed on the six-game injured list. Source
  • Whitaker remains positive despite injury

    Football Toronto Sun
    It has now been three years running Alouettes tailback Brandon Whitaker has suffered a season-ending injury. That will lead to some speculation the team could move on without him in 2015. Source
  • Alouettes face uphill battle for playoff berth

    Football Toronto Sun
    Jim Popp believes it’s going to take a nine-win season in the East Division to qualify for the playoffs, meaning the Alouettes — much like Toronto and Hamilton — must win three of their remaining four games. Source
  • Zurkowsky: Grey Cups capped Calvillo’s legacy

    Football Toronto Sun
    How might history been altered, fates changed and careers defined had the Saskatchewan Roughriders not had 13 men on the field for what should have been the final play of the 2009 Grey Cup? Source
  • Photos: Als vs. Roughriders, Oct. 13, 2014

    Football Toronto Sun
    Cars! Travel! Furniture! Gift Cards! And much, much, more! Nearly $1 million in local deep discount deals on sale now at Source
  • Today's Als game belongs to Calvillo

    Football Toronto Sun
    On a day that belongs to Anthony Calvillo, there’s not enough praise and kudos former coaches and players could lavish on the legendary Alouettes’ quarterback, professional football’s passing leader. Source