The BC Lions play the Calgary Stampeders Saturday after a humbling week 9 loss in Winnipeg. The Lions return to BC Place after going 1-1 on a 2-game road trip.
BC Lions (6-2): The BC Lions had a dominant shutout victory over the Elks winning 27-0 in week 8 before losing in week 9 50-14 against Winnipeg. Both games were on the road with Dane Evans playing at quarterback as Vernon Adams Jr. was out with a knee injury. BC will look to get back on track after a touch loss last week in which they were prevented from scoring an offensive touchdown and Winnipeg’s passing game found a lot of success.
Calgary Stampeders (3-5): The Calgary Stampeders are coming off of a win against the 2022 Grey Cup Champions, the Toronto Argonauts. Toronto’s quarterback, Chad Kelly, did not play in the 2nd half due to an ankle injury and their star runningback A.J. Ouellette appeared to be playing through some pain. The Calgary Stampeders simplified their passing game and handed the ball off to Dedrick Mills 27 times who rushed for 5.1 yards per carry.
CFL First Period All-Star Team (Weeks 1-7)
Date/Location: Saturday, August 12 / BC Place, Vancouver, BC
Kickoff Time: 7:00 PM ET, 4:00 PM PT
Channel: TSN (Canada), CBS Sports (USA), CFL+ (International)
Spread: BC -6.5 (-110), Calgary +6.5 (-110)
Moneyline: BC -280, Calgary +230
Over/Under: 45.5 (Over -110, Under -110)
The Stampeders Defense
The Stampeders bring a pretty good defensive unit. On their line, they already had a great defensive front with the likes of Julian Howsare, Derek Wiggan, Mike Rose, and Isaac Adeyemi-Beglund that were already a good unit. They brought in Mike Moore this offseason who is starting this game at defensive end and currently leads the team in sacks and was one of the sack leaders for Montreal last year.
Cameron Judge, Micah Awe, and Titus Wall make up a tough and effective linebacking group.
Their pass coverage unit is also good and just limited Toronto to 157 passing yards last week in a game that I thought Brandon Dozier and Jonathan Moxey stood out.
Keys to the Game
Limit the Ground Game, Rush the Passer
Calgary last week simplified their offense largely being a rushing team in the win against Toronto. A couple of key early run stops could change the complexion of the football if BC can make Calgary second game their gameplan and adjust to put more of the responsibility on Jake Maier who has struggled with interceptions so far this season. Dedrick Mills had a huge game at running back last week for Calgary and they may also have Ka’Deem Carey returning who was a CFL all-star last season.
Limiting the rushing game will only help to put the offensive line on their heels and get the pass rush going and create some headaches for Calgary’s offense.
Receivers to Step Up in the Abscence of Dominique Rhymes
BC has seen a lot of injuries throughout the season and has seen other receivers carry the torch. Alexander Hollins has been excellent this season whenever there have been injuries. Justin McInnis has also made many key plays.
Protect the Quarterback
Vernon Adams Jr. is playing his first game since missing the last 2 due to a knee injury. It’s going to be very important this week to protect him to help him not reduce the chance of possibly reinjuring his knee but also to help him get back into the swing of things.
Establish the Run
Getting Taquan Mizzell rushing well this game will help alleviate pressure from Vernon Adams Jr. in his first game back. Mizzell has been excellent in his rookie CFL season and a healthy balanced offense will be important against a Calgary Stampeders defense that is capable of playing very well.
Limit the YAC
With Calgary’s recent tendencies towards short passes, it will be key to close in quickly and tackle receivers before they can gain additional yards. Calgary’s Reggie Begelton is very dangerous in the YAC department and they also have other weapons such as Tre Odoms-Dukes, Luther Hakunavanhu, and Clark Barnes. Marken Michel has also stood out lately with some recent explosive plays.
Injuries, Depth Chart Changes From Last Week:
Cornerback: Jalon Edwards-Cooper is out this week with a knee injury after starting last week at cornerback. Mike Jones will get the start after being on the injured list last week. Siriman Bagayogo will be the 2nd string cornerback after being the 2nd string halfback last week as he switches places with Patrice Rene.
Linebacker: Brooks Parker enters the lineup to add depth at linebacker after being on the practice roster last week.
Defensive End. Sione Teuhema is out this week due to an ankle injury after starting last week. Woody Baron will start at defensive end after starting at defensive tackle last week.
Defensive Tackle: Josh Banks enters the lineup to start at defensive tackle after being missing last week due to a hamstring injury. Tibo Debaillie will start at nose tackle after being the second string last week switching spots on the depth chart with Nathan Cherry.
Wide Receiver: Dominique Rhymes is on the 1 game injured list this week due to a knee injury. Justin McInnis will move into a starting role after being a second stringer last week and Daniel Petermann enters the lineup after being on the practice roster last week.
Runningback: Kienan LaFrance will miss this week as he is on the 6-game injured list after being the second-string running back last week.
After the tough loss last week, I am expecting the BC Lions to be extremely hungry in front of their home fans. Despite the injury to Sione Teuhema, I do expect a very good performance from the Lions defensive line which is going to be very important against a Calgary team that is relying on the rushing game so heavily.
I predict BC to win this game by a score of 27-16.
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