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BC Lions Week 1 Preview vs Toronto Argonauts: Prediction, Depth Chart, Injuries, Odds

The BC Lions will open their season against the Toronto Argonauts on the road. It will be a matchup between two teams who made it to the Division finals last year but did not manage to make it to the Grey Cup. The Lions have some big names joining the team this season such as defensive tackle Christian Covington and running back William Stanback.

Game Details:

Date/Location: Sunday, June 9 /BMO Field, Toronto, ON
Kickoff Time: 4:00 PM ET, 1:00 PM PT
Channel: TSN (Canada), CBS Sports Network (USA), CFL+ (Global)
Odds: 

Spread: B.C. -5.5 (-122), Toronto +5.5 (+100)

Moneyline: B.C. -265, Toronto +215

Over/Under: 47.5 (Over -110, Under -110)

B.C. Lions: The B.C. Lions have a little extra motivation this season as the Grey Cup host city. The Lions saw the departure of some fan favorites in the offseason on both sides of the ball such as defensive lineman Woody Baron and Mathieu Betts as well as receivers Lucky Whitehead and Dominique Rhymes. WR Justin McInnis is poised to take on a larger role as is Jordan Eberhardt. The receiving room will see a new face in Travis Fulgham who will be had over 500 receiving yards in 2020 with the Philadelphia Eagles. Rookie cornerback Jordan Perryman will be making his CFL debut as well.

The team is also joined by a couple of free-agent acquisitions who will start in week 1 who won the Grey Cup last year with Montreal. Running back William Stanback and defensive back Ciante Evans will both be starting against Toronto.

Pete Roberston was another free agent acquisition for BC this offseason and we will see him start at defensive end against Toronto. He played in 42 games with Saskatchewan over the last 3 seasons where he recorded 84 tackles and 21 sacks.

Christian Covington will be starting at defensive tackle in his first CFL game. He was drafted by BC back in 2015 but has been in NFL systems since then until recently. He has played in 102 NFL regular season games over which span he has accumulated 196 total tackles and 9.5 sacks.

Toronto Argonauts: The Argos will look a little bit different this season with Cameron Dukes at quarterback in place of Chad Kelly as he serves a suspension which has a 9-game minimum. Ka’Deem Carey will be starting for the team at running back after joining the team this offseason following previously playing as a Calgary Stampeder. Receiver Makai Polk will be starting for the Argos in week 1 as a CFL free agent. He was on NFL practice squads in 2022 and 2023 after a collegiate career with California. WR Rasheed Bailey is another newcomer to the team after playing the last several seasons with Winnipeg. 

On defense, Jordan Williams will be making his CFL debut at defensive tackle. He recorded 5.5 sacks last year in the USFL with the Memphis Showboats over 9 games.

Quincy Mauger will be starting for Toronto at SAM linebacker. Mauger started in 3 games at SAM for BC last season and 14 starts at safety before joining Toronto this offseason.

The Argos will have a CFL rookie DB starting at cornerback of their own as well in Leonard Johnson. He was signed for a period in 2023 with the New York Giants after his pro career was interrupted by a knee injury 2 weeks before the 2023 NFL Draft.

Lions Keys to the Game

Pound the Rock

Last year BC ran the ball fewer than any other team. This year they have added William Stanback. With some changes in the receiving group this season it will help to provide run support as Vernon Adams Jr. adjusts to life without Lucky Whitehead, and Dominique Rhymes while Keon Hatcher is on IR.

Good Pass Protection

Last year the Lions saw their season end in a disappointing loss in the West Final in which the team gave up 7 quarterback sacks. B.C. will want to put that game behind them with a strong game from their offensive line.

Disguised Blitzing and Quarterback Pressure

Cameron Dukes looked good last year playing for Toronto in his start against Winnipeg but he’s still largely unproven still having under 100 passes at the CFL level. He had a big game in week 21 last season putting up 317 yards against and a touchdown with 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions against Ottawa. We have not seen him play much in meaningful games. If BC can get some pressure on him they might be able to get the young quarterback to make some mistakes.

Stop the Run

Last year Toronto did a good job mixing run plays and run blocking. If B.C. can minimize the run support that will make life very difficult for Toronto’s quarterback.

5 Lions to Watch

#13 WR Alexander Hollins

Last year Hollins caught 78 passes for 1,173 yards and 9 touchdowns.

#86 Jevon Cottoy

Cottoy is a bulldozer. Last year he had 57 catches for 807 yards and 4 touchdowns. His production increased over the season and he’s poised for a larger role with the team.

#8 WR Travis Fulgham 

Will be making his CFL debut starting at slotback against Toronto.

#40 DE Pete Robertson

Robertson was an effective pass rusher with Saskatchewan over the last 3 seasons.

#56 DT Christian Covington

Covington is finally with BC after being drafted in the 2015 CFL Draft by the Lions.

5 Argos to Watch

#88 WR Rasheed Bailey

Bailey didn’t always get a lot of targets while playing with Winnipeg but has big play capabilities when the ball is in his hand. Last year he caught 46 passes for 508 yards and 6 touchdowns with the Bombers.

#80 WR DaVaris Daniels

Daniels led Toronto in receiving last season which saw him catch 52 passes for 1,009 yards and 8 touchdowns.

#25 RB Ka’Deem Carey

Carey had over 1,000 rushing yards with Calgary in 2022 in just 14 games but was limited last season due to injury.

#90 DE Folarin Orimolade

Last year Orimolade had 36 tackles and 10 sacks over 17 regular season games. He is a very dangerous pass rusher that does not get talked about enough.

#20 Quincy Mauger

Mauger played in 26 regular season games over the past 2 CFL seasons with BC which saw him record 66 tackles, 4 sacks, and 2 interceptions as a Lion.

Injury Report:

Depth Charts:

Score Prediction:

I am predicting a 30-17 win for B.C.

@JonathanClink on Twitter

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Jonathan Clink Reporter
Jonathan Clink joined CFL News Hub in early April of 2023. His primary responsibilities are covering the BC Lions and Montreal Alouettes. He self awarded himself the CFL Rookie Journalist of the Year in 2023 following the 2023 CFL season. He also proclaims himself to be a "really cool guy". He was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and lived a large portion of his childhood in Northwest Ontario. He currently lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan and misses being being able to have 4 months of skating every winter. Clink has written over 240 articles for CFL News Hub. He was the publication's boots on the ground at the 2023 Grey Cup in Hamilton. Clink has always had an obsession for sport and has a background in other sports as well having played hockey all his life and soccer, basketball, and lacrosse in high school. As a young child he used to log his hockey statistics after every game which is either an indication that he was destined for the role or perhaps and indication that he is rather strange.
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