Start of the Alouettes season: Can the Grey Cup return to Montreal?

Will the Alouettes be able to prove their critics wrong?

The hockey season is over, but it’s the start of another sports season in Montreal. And unlike the Habs who are in a rebuild, Montreal’s other club has much bigger ambitions: to win the title. You guessed it, we’re talking about the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian Football League. Can the Alouettes genuinely look to become the CFL champions this season, or will they falter like they did last season?

While carrying a loss in last season’s division final against Toronto, the Alouettes will be looking to make things right in the upcoming season. The last title the Montrealers managed to claim was way back in 2010. With that said, their last campaign was ended by the champions when Toronto won the title, which still indicates a pretty successful season. Furthermore, their 2010 Grey Cup run came to close after an exceptional decade where the Montrealers appeared in 8 Grey Cup finals in 10 consecutive seasons, having picked up the title on 3 of those 8 occasions.

A new era begins for the Alouettes

Based on recent activity, it’s apparent that we’re witnessing the beginning of a new era for the Alouettes. The franchise has welcomed a new owner in Pierre Karl Péladeau, along with a  new president in the return of Mark Weightman, and also a new coach in Jason Maas. We can’t forget about the arrival of quarterback Cody Fajardo who is bound to have an impact in big games.

Moreover, William Stanback appears to be in his best form, David Côté had an excellent 86.3% field goal success rate last year, and will probably still be very effective this season. Let’s not forget that  Marc-Antoine Dequoy is also now reaching maturity and is surely one of the best safeties on the circuit.

With all this in mind, hopes are high in Montreal, and a title seems more possible than impossible with this fresh Alouettes scheme. 

An opening win against Ottawa

The Alouettes got their CFL season off to a great start by beating the Redblacks 19-12 on June 11 in front of 20,865 spectators at Percival-Molson Stadium. Several plays indicated that this team can claim the title, while others reminded onlookers of the shortcomings that the Alouettes must address. Too many mistakes reminded fans that you have to temper your expectations when it comes to the Montreal Alouettes.

The Alouettes signed Fajardo from Saskatchewan in the off season, after having lost starting quarterback Trevor Harris to the Roughriders. Fajardo threw for 261 yards on 14 of 21 pass attempts and rushed for a touchdown against Ottawa. A decent show for his first run out as an Alouettes quarterback.

Fajardo threw a 61-yard pass to Austin Mack early on to allow that later set up a play to allow the quarterback a 1-yard run in for the Alouttes first touchdown. Former NFL receiver Austin Mack stood out in this game, catching in total 4 passes for 120 yards.

After Montreal’s hot start, the offence faltered for most of the game and Fajardo was tackled six times. Jason Maas (Alouettes coach) mentioned in a post match interview that retaining momentum with the offence was a top priority to address before the upcoming game.

It must be noted that Ottawa did not field their best team. The Redblacks’ starting QB, Jeremiah Masoli was missing, after being ruled out for the first two games of the season. Nick Arbuckle, the Redblacks backup QB struggled, throwing three interceptions and 176 yards from 19 of 35 passes attempted. Kicker Lewis Ward scored all of Ottawa’s points, with a perfect 4 from 4 performance.

The Alouettes will be relishing their week off before resuming action on June 23. They will then be hosted by the Tiger Cats, who succumbed in their first game of the season to the Blue Bombers. The Alouettes and the Redblacks will face off again in Week 11 and Week 17 this season, both times in Ottawa.

What are the odds for the Alouettes to go all the way?

The Alouettes have some very good players, but many questions remain. There’s a lot of hope that this new era will mark revival for the Montreal franchise. Bookmakers in Canada seem to need some convincing, however. 

Bookmakers listed on sports betting sites comparison website, all appear to be pricing odds for the favourites to win the Grey Cup roughly the same. You can view them below :

  1. Winnipeg Blue Bombers: 2.60
  2. BC Lions: 4.50
  3. Hamilton Tiger Cats: 7.00
  4. Toronto Argonauts: 7.00
  5. Calgary Stampeders: 9.00
  6. Saskatchewan Roughriders: 11.00
  7. Montreal Alouettes: 12.00
  8. Ottawa Redblacks: 5:00 p.m.
  9. Edmonton Elks: 26.00

The Alouettes are therefore very much underdogs to lift the Grey Cup. Can the Alouettes ride the momentum their revival provides, and be able to prove their critics wrong? Only time will tell. The CFL, like many sports leagues out there, is exceedingly hard to predict, but what we can say for the time being to all teams involved is Have a good season!