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CFL Week 18: Toronto Argonauts 150th Anniversary Game Vs. Edmonton Elks Preview, Injuries, Depth Charts, Prediction

The Toronto Argonauts are celebrating turning 150 years old this week. They will attempt to close their anniversary celebration in style Friday night at home against a surprisingly playoff hopeful Edmonton Elks team.

On Thanksgiving weekend in Canada, the Argos are giving thanks to their glorious history. Since the team’s regular east schedule began in 1907 as members of the Interprovincial Rugby Football Union, the Toronto Argonauts have played 1,427 games with 680 regular season wins, 24 Division titles (including this season), 24 Grey Cup appearances and a record 18 Grey Cup championships.

CFL 2023 Week 18: Edmonton Elks (4-11) @ Toronto Argonauts (12-2), Friday October 6th, BMO Field, 7PM EDT, TSN/RDS CBS SN/CFL+

Point Spread: Toronto Argonauts are 8.5 point home favourites

Over/Under: 51.5

Weather Forecast: Cloudy with occasional rain showers. Low 12C. Winds WNW at 15 to 25 km/h. Chance of rain 60%.

Last meeting: Week 3, Toronto Argonauts 43-31 victory over the Edmonton Elks at Commonwealth Stadium.

Injury Report:

The Elks will be without seven players on Friday, including linebacker Nyles Morgan (hamstring), defensive back Marcus Lewis (calf), and defensive linemen Sam Acheampong (groin), J-Min Pelley (appendicitis) and Daniel Ross (elbow).

For Toronto, defensive backs DaShaun Amos (ankle), Josh Hagerty (shoulder) and Jamal Peters (groin) won’t be available for the game. Quarterback Chad Kelly returns to the starting lineup after sitting last week out. Defensive lineman Shawn Oakman (healthy scratch), linebacker Wynton McManis, and running back AJ Ouellette (foot) practiced fully all week and will be available on Friday.

DT DeWayne Hendrix is a healthy scratch. He is on the one game injured list. WR Cam Phillips is also out and on the same list.

Storylines: After an 0-9 start to their 2023 campaign, thanks to a better late than never inclusion of Tre Ford at quarterback. The Edmonton Elks have won four of their last six games. The mid-season turnaround has Edmonton surprisingly still alive for a spot in the postseason. However, it will take divine intervention for the Elks to sneak their way into the playoffs. They’ll need to win out, and hope that the Riders and Stamps finish with less than seven wins, with the caveat being that Calgary defeats Saskatchewan in Week 19.

The Toronto Argonauts kicked off year 150 of its existence and the defence of their Grey Cup crown in style, winning 12 of their first 13 games. The football club’s best start ever to a season. However, a week ago, the Argos decided to set sail against Winnipeg intentionally without many of their key players, including quarterback Chad Kelly. The result, a closer than expected loss to the Bombers in what amounted to an exhibition style contest for Double Blue.

The Boatmen are back home in Week 18, and they have decided to turn the switch back on, at least for one week, as they look to celebrate their 150th anniversary with a victory at home. A place where they’ve yet to lose this season.

Game Notes:

  • Edmonton is coming off its second bye week of the season. Teams are 13-4 on a week’s rest.
  • In his last three games, Tre Ford has completed 68 percent of his passes while averaging 9.3 yards per rush.
  • Eugene Lewis (4,939) needs 61 receiving yards to reach 5,000 in his career.
  • Edmonton’s Kevin Brown and Toronto’s AJ Ouellette lead the league with nine 20+ yard rushes this season.
  • Last week, the Argos did not allow a sack for the eighth time this season.
  • Last week and for the first time this season, the Argos didn’t record a better average field position than their opponent.

Edmonton Elks Week 18 Depth Chart

Toronto Argonauts Week 18 Depth Chart

Keys To The Elks-Argos Game

It’s the battle of the running games.

For Toronto’s defence, it’s all about containing the Elks formidable ground attack led by the dynamic duo of Tre Ford, and running back Kevin Brown. Both players are big plays waiting to happen. Edmonton is third in the CFL in rush yards, and first in yards per run play at 6.2.

The Argos are tops in the league in stopping the run, allowing 81 yards per game. But Toronto’s gap discipline will be tested on Friday like it hasn’t been thus far in 2023.

Corey Mace’s unit hasn’t squared off with a player with Ford’s skillset all season. The emerging Canadian superstar has the ability to extend plays with his legs and arm. If he gets out on the edge, that could spell doomsday for Double Blue.

On the flip side, A.J. Ouellette, who only touched the ball three times last week in a brief cameo, has had Edmonton’s number the last two times he has faced Chris Jones’s defence. Ouellette cashed in on three rushing scores back in late June. Toronto rushed for nearly 200 yards in that game. The Elks have to find a way to force Toronto into second and long situations. Blitzing on first down might be the key, to stopping Ouellette from getting to the second level.

Chad Kelly had his fair share of struggles against Edmonton earlier this year. He completed only 13 of 23 passes, throwing two interceptions. The Elks forced Kelly to throw into zone coverage, in what was arguably the best gameplan utilized against the M.O.P. candidate by any CFL team this season.

Kelly needs to stay patient if Edmonton once again decides to take away his deep ball passing prowess.

CFL Week 18: Edmonton Elks-Toronto Argonauts Prediction

As competitive and improved as Edmonton has been since Tre Ford took over. It’s hard to imagine Toronto losing at home in their 150th anniversary game.

This is the Argonauts last must-win pressure spot on their schedule before the Eastern Final takes place Saturday November 11th at BMO Field. Toronto doesn’t need to win, but not being able to do so in this setting would put a damper on things.

I’m sure serving as spoiler serves as added motivation for Edmonton, who is already trying to stave off elimination on Friday night.

The Elks are no push over, they are a dangerous group. And there’s some pause, as to whether Toronto can easily flip back on the switch for this game after taking a preemptive bye a week ago.

Ultimately, although this game could be more challenging than one would expect, i think the Boatmen will pay homage to their history at by notching their 13th win of the season.

Toronto Argonauts 36 Edmonton Elks 32

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Mike Mitchell Reporter
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