CFL 2023 East Division Preview (Montreal/Ottawa)

by Scott Rickenbach

Thursday, Jun 01, 2023
Canadian Football League East Division Mtl/Ott Rivalry CFL 2023

Montreal Alouettes – Projected win total is 7.5 and last season the Alouettes won 9 games. New head coach in Maas and new QB in Fajardo. This may payoff in the long run but, in the short-term, the team that made the East Division finals in 2022 could have some pains here during the first stages of transition with new QB under center and new coach patrolling the sidelines. What should help in the transition is that Maas was the offensive coordinator with Saskatchewan when Fajardo was there. This eases things for sure. However, Montreal did lose a few pieces from last season’s team and the key this season could be establishing that strong ground game. If the Als can do that and have a solid passing attack established early in the season, they could surprise. But remember, the East has the defending Grey Cup champs in Toronto plus a Hamilton team poised to respond off a tough season. Also, the Redblacks which appear to be on the way up. The point is, Montreal likely to struggle to get back to where they were last season for sure. 

Ottawa Redblacks – Projected win total is 7.5 and last season the Redblacks won 4 games. Of course one could argue the only way to go for Ottawa is up but really this team does look improved. I especially like the fact they have gotten stronger on defense and in the trenches. That part of football is so important even though it is the skill positions that get so much of the attention. That said, I also like the fact the Redblacks should get a boost and immediate energy from all the coaching changes including head coach and some assistants. This team is ready to go and will hit the ground running. But can they jell quickly? I think it can be rather quick but this is something to watch early on in the season as they are also working Jeremiah Masoli into the offense. He is certainly a talented QB but the key will be how quickly the chemistry is working well for these personnel units on each side of the ball. This team could challenge for a playoff spot. They also have the 2022 CFL sack leader in Lorenzo Mauldin.  

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