Hamilton Tiger-Cats (2015: 10-8 SU, 11-7 ATS, 6-12 O/U)
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have been a strong fundamentally sound team and organization since day one of the Kent Austin era but that consistency will be tested in 2016. Hamilton will begin the season without their top quarterback, Zach Collaros, who was on his way to an MOP season before a torn ACL in September ended his year. Backup Jeremiah Masoli did a nice job stepping in late last season and had a very productive training camp. The receiving corps projects to be above average with Andy Fantuz, Chad Owens, Luke Tasker and promising talents Tiquan Underwood and Terrence Toliver. The offensive line should be very good once again and this team has arguably the best special teams unit in the CFL. The Ticats did lose their offensive coordinator but hired a quality replacement in Stefan Ptaszek. Ptaszek was a winner as a player and completely turned around the McMaster University football program. By all accounts, he has a brilliant mind for designing and implementing offenses and should emerge as one of the league’s top coordinators.
Hamilton’s did lose top flight kicker Justin Medlock in free agency to Winnipeg. He was Mr. Automatic so replacing him won’t be an easy task and it will interesting to see if the Brett Maher and Cody Mandell duo can step up in the punting and kicking department. The defensive line looks strong again and the addition of John Chick is a good one assuming the veteran defensive end can stay healthy. The biggest area of concern on this team is their secondary. It lost some key players from last season and has been hit hard by the injury bug in training camp and the preseason. Hamilton is already trying to find third and fourth stringers to fill starting roles which is something to keep an eye on early on. When fully healthy, Hamilton is among the best teams in the CFL but they’ve shown a pattern of slow starts. With five of their first their first seven games on the road to go along with the absence of Collaros and some shuffling on defense and specifically in the secondary, it could be a rocky June and July for this team. It is usually late August and September when the Ticats hit their stride. I could see history repeating itself here and come October and November, I expect this team to be in the hunt for a Grey Cup title.
Be a part of Canadian resident Ian Cameron's 2016 CFL campaign. Action gets underway late June and runs through late November. Ian has been a consistent producer in the CFL with 55% winners since joining Sportsmemo in 2012.