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CFL: Toronto Argonauts @ B.C. Lions Week 3 Preview/Prediction

Week 3 of the 2022 CFL season ends on Saturday night, with the 1-0 Toronto Argonauts on the road against the 1-0 British Columbia Lions at BC Place. The Leos are coming off a bye after a celebratory coronation in their home opener, where they roared past the Edmonton Elks 59-15. In contrast, despite also winning their home opener, the Argos have a different feel heading into Saturday’s contest. Nothing about the Boatmen’s 20-19 near defeat against Montreal is being celebrated.

CFL Week 3 Preview: Toronto Argonauts @ B.C. Lions

  • Location: BC Place, Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Date: Saturday, June 25, 2022
  • Kickoff: 10 pm ET/7 pm PT
  • Betting Line: Lions favored by 5, Total Points: 48.5

The last two regular-season meetings between the BC Lions and Toronto Argonauts were unique affairs.

In 2021, at BMO Field, the Argos outlasted the Leos 31-29 in overtime. The closing sequences of that game that led to overtime can’t be done justice with mere words.

Former Leos kicker Jimmy Camacho missed two go-ahead field goal attempts in the game’s final three minutes. However, thanks to some questionable clock management by Toronto’s coaching staff, Camacho and BC would get a third opportunity to win the game with mere seconds left on the clock.

With the chance to hand the Argos their first loss at home, Camacho pulled the game-winning field goal from 37 yards wide right. But, the ball trickled through the back of the end zone for a single, sending the teams to overtime tied at 23.

The Argos would score a major and a two-point conversion in the extra period. The Leos offence would respond on two plays getting into the endzone. Needing a two-point convert to tie the game, Reilly’s attempt to find Shaq Johnson fell incomplete, which sealed the win and a playoff spot for the Double Blue.

It’s a game that the Argos faithful won’t soon forget. However, the game they would like to wipe their memory banks is their last trip to BC three years ago. The Lions ravaged the Argos 55-8. BC jumped in front early and never looked back. The humiliating loss by the Argonauts led to Jim Popp’s dismissal and the return of Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons to prominence in Toronto’s organization.

The Argos and Lions are in different places today than they were three years ago. BC is writing a new chapter in its history, and Toronto is trying to get back to the CFL mountain top.

Toronto Argonauts Week 3 Depth Chart/Injury Report

Not counting the players Toronto already has on their six-game injured list, like Peter Nicastro, Eric Rogers, and the suspension of All-Star DB Chris Edwards. The Argos came into this contest with 19 players on their injury report. The Boatmen started the season thin in several different spots, and their coaching staff is again forced to work with what they have at their disposal in game #2.

On offence, The Argos are missing starting left tackle, Isiah Cage, again due to a head injury. Fortunately for the Boatmen, despite being limited or missing practice during the week. RB Andrew Harris and WRs DaVaris Daniels and Dejon Brissett will be suited up for Double Blue. Cam Phillips will make his second straight start at SB.

FB Declan Cross is out. Joe Carbone has been called up from the practice roster to take his place. Markeith Ambles and Carbone will line up as tight ends in the Argos power sets, that they implemented in week one.

The Argonauts’ defence also gets a break with starting CB Jamal Peters returning to the lineup after missing the home opener. The presence of Peters in the Boatmen’s secondary is much needed, with Robertson Daniel out and Matt Boateng also on the shelf. Robert Priester is also in the lineup, back at the SAM spot, despite nursing a hamstring injury during the week.

Global DB Tigie Sankoh and rookie Eric Sutton will make their 2022 debuts, providing depth in the defensive backfield.

The most important lineup news is that DE Shane Ray, who had a breakout game last Thursday, will not play in Week 3 due to a hamstring injury. CFL rookie and former NFL draft pick, Jachai Polite will make his league debut on Saturday night. He is hoping to help fill the void created by Ray’s absence, along with Robbie Smith, who will get the start at DE.

BC Lions Week 3 Depth Chart/Injury Report

Whatever water the Lions are using in beautiful Vancouver, the Argos might need to start drinking it. BC’s injury report had only one player DL Nathan Cherry missing practice during the entire week. Cherry is out for this contest.

The Leos’ coming off a bye week are as healthy as a team can be for their second game.

Star veteran DB Delvin Breaux is healthy and will help BC’s secondary in their matchup versus Toronto’s receivers.

CFL Week 3: Argonauts-Lions Game Analysis/Keys

A significant reason why there is a growing passion for the Leos amongst CFL circles is emerging Canadian quarterback Nathan Rourke. He has an opportunity to become the CFL’s poster boy for the next decade.

The Victoria, B.C., native Nathan Rourke looked like a superstar in his debut as the clear-cut starter for the Lions, passing for 282 yards and collecting five touchdowns — three passing and two rushing — in Week 1. And the national boy wonder Rourke has a lot of nice toys to play with at his disposal. Not excluding the lethal receiving duo of Bryan Burnham and Lucky Whitehead. BC also has a superstar in the making in American RB, James Butler.

A year ago, very quietly at the end of the 2021 season. Butler averaged over a hundred yards per game in his final four starts, showing great chops as a runner and receiver. But in week one, he exploded onto the scene, amassing 148 yards and four touchdowns.

The Lions might not be able to match their 59-point effort from week one. But BC, especially at home, on that fast surface, should have one of the CFL’s most explosive offenses.

Against the Argos, look for BC to continue their balanced attack from week one. Rourke and the Leos offensive line did a tremendous job in the play-action game. The Leos’ success running the football led to comfortable passing lanes for Rourke to operate in. Edmonton didn’t know what hit them, and by the time they did, it was too late to respond.

The Lions will challenge Toronto’s new secondary, which had several hiccups in their home opener against Montreal. Partly due to multiple players playing together for the first time. But primarily because of the injuries and missing pieces in Double Blue’s defensive backfield. Jamal Peters is coming off a knee injury sustained in camp, and I suspect that the Lions’ elite receivers will test him and CFL newcomer Tarvarus McFadden.

New Argos defensive coordinator Corey Mace will have to find a way to fluster Nathan Rourke with his pass rush. Shawn Oakman, JaGared Davis, and Dewayne Hendrix need to win their battles up front. The Lions made it difficult for the Elks to pressure Rourke because of their three-step drops. Rourke was able to get rid of the football quickly. So taking away his first read will be of utmost importance. The Argos would love to get BC’s offence into obvious passing situations.

BC’s revamped defence also benefits from playing at home. If the Leos offence gets off to another fast start. The Lions’ defence can use the crowd’s energy to their advantage.

The Argos will attempt to slow the game down with Andrew Harris. A week ago, the surefire first-ballot CFL Hall Of Famer amassed over a hundred yards in his Double Blue debut before going down to injury. Harris, who started his CFL journey in BC, will need to be as explosive as last week for four total quarters if Toronto hopes to pull off this road victory.

An intriguing matchup in this game is the Argonauts’ deep receiving corps versus the Lions’ secondary. Brandon Banks and Markeith Ambles are only scratching the surface of Toronto’s offence. The two newly minted Argos had excellent debuts and are still building chemistry with quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson.

MBT and the Argos offence moved the ball well a week ago. But bogged down in the red zone. A theme that has carried over for the Boatmen from 2021. Toronto will not have a chance to win this game if they repeat those issues on the road.

BC appears to have corrected their issues from a year ago at kicker by bringing on veteran Sean Whyte. They have one of the scariest players in the league in Lucky Whitehead, returning kicks. Toronto’s special teams’ coverage units will be challenged on Saturday. A week ago, the Argos specialists nearly cost them a victory. Boris Bede and rookie Joh Hagerty need to perform at a high level to keep this game competitive and within reach.

CFL Week 3: Argonauts-Lions Prediction

This is a big test for the Toronto Argonauts. Their week one effort didn’t instill confidence amongst the team’s believers and non-believers.

All signs are pointing to a BC victory.

Toronto is facing a team coming off a bye playing at home in a supercharged environment. And the Argos are not at full strength coming into this game.

The oddsmakers see this as a stiff challenge as well. The line opened at -2 in favor of BC and has grown to five.

BC Lions 35 Toronto Argonauts 20

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Mike Mitchell Reporter
1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Lloyd

    June 26, 2022 at 2:55 am

    Too bullish on TO

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