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09/05/2014 05:45 EDT | Updated 11/05/2014 05:59 EST

Woeful Alouettes, Ticats both looking for first two-game winning streak

MONTREAL - So dreadful has the CFL East been this season that, when they meet on Sunday, either the Montreal Alouettes or the Hamilton Tiger-Cats will have their first two-game winning streak of the season.

The Alouettes (2-7), who will play host to the Ticats at Percival Molson Stadium, are coming off a 20-10 win over the expansion Ottawa Redblacks and hope to have finally found their starting quarterback in Jonathan Crompton.

The Ticats (2-6) opened Tim Hortons Field last week with a 13-12 victory over the Toronto Argonauts on quarterback Zach Collaros's return from a concussion.

Toronto still leads the division at 3-7, but the Argos may have company at the top after this weekend.

"To me, it's a playoff game," Montreal receiver Duran Carter said Friday. "It sets the tone for the year against them.

"We'll probably have to play them in the playoffs. It's just letting them know we're here to stay. We're tied for second now, but it's hard to say you're second when you've got a losing record. So we need to keep tallying up wins and go into the playoffs with momentum."

It is more than likely that whichever team finishes fourth in the West will cross over to play in the East Division semifinal in November, so finishing in the top two in the East is vital to Montreal and Hamilton.

The teams play only once more this season on Nov 8, so the winner on Sunday will have the leg up on the season series between them.

Both came out of last week feeling better about themselves.

The Alouettes ended a six-game losing streak with Crompton throwing for 245 yards in his first CFL start. While some of his high, not quite on-target passes were an adventure for his receivers, he moved the ball and looked in control.

"All indications are he is the guy who we're the most comfortable with now," coach Tom Higgins said. "He knows it's about productivity, but more than that is whether he wins.

"That's what he'll be judged on. If he continues to win, he'll be our quarterback."

The former Edmonton back-up may also be looking to spread the ball around more after directing nearly all his passes to either Carter or S.J. Green. Brandon London caught one pass. Chad Johnson wasn't thrown to at all.

"It wasn't by design," said Higgins. "It just worked out that way.

"Obviously, a quarterback can feel confident throwing to either one of those two guys. There were other receivers open, but if you complete it, no matter who you throw to, he did the right thing. All our receivers are in the game plan and it won't necessarily be just a two-receiver show. Hopefully, they'll all get involved."

It was also a first game for James Rodgers, who did a decent job replacing injured kick returner Larry Taylor and also got some turns at running back.

Collaros, who was injured in the second game of the season, completed 27 of 38 passes for 317 yards on his return. Both Ticats wins have been against the East, having topped Ottawa 33-23 on July 26.

"We just want to win every game, I don't think any week is more important than the other one," Collaros said this week. "Nobody even mentions that we will be in first place (if they win).

"Nobody's talking about that. We are just preparing to win every single week, and the challenge this week is Montreal."

Collaros is facing a defence that likes to take away the running game and put heavy pressure on the quarterback. Their 25 sacks is tied with Winnipeg for second to Calgary's 28.

The Hamilton defence will also be a challenge for Alouettes running back Brandon Whitaker, who is coming off a 100-yard rushing game that left him second in the league to Winnipeg's Nic Grigsby. The Ticats are among the league's best at stopping the run.

Until recently, Montreal did not have a receiver in the top 20 in the CFL, but a big game last week has Carter in 10th spot with 390 yards on 30 catches.

It was supposed to be a big year for Carter, the son of Hall of Famer Cris Carter who is expected to jump to the NFL next season. But problems in finding an effective starting quarterback has hurt the all the team's offensive statistics.

"I always expect more," said Carter. "I expect 200 yards and three touchdowns every game.

"I feel like it's going to come. We had some early mishaps, but I think we're still one of the best teams in the CFL and we're going to show it."

The Ticats' numbers are also modest. Their top receiver, Luke Tasker, is 16th in the CFL.

So both clubs have plenty to prove.

"It's important us for, just like our last one against Ottawa," said Higgins. "It's time for us to get on a roll.

"You don't like to say anything's must-win, but we put ourselves into a hole so that now, any time we play an eastern opponent, we need to win the game."

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