Week 19 of the CFL season sees the Toronto Argonauts head west to face the Edmonton Elks. The Argos haven’t won in Edmonton since 2013. The Double Blue have lost six straight games to the green and gold in that setting. Edmonton hasn’t won a regular season game at home since 2019. They have dropped a CFL-record 15 straight games at Commonwealth Stadium. One of these two long-standing streaks will fall on Saturday night.
CFL Week 19 Preview: Toronto Argonauts @ Edmonton Elks
- Location: Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton, Alberta
- Date: Saturday, October 15th, 2022
- Kickoff: 7 pm ET/5 pm MT
- TV: TSN/ESPN+
- Betting Line: Argos favored by 6, Total Points: 50.5
- Weather: Cloudy, Winds W at 5 to 15 MPH.
Perhaps it will be a moot point by the conclusion of Friday night. But the East division title could be decided in Week 19. The first part of the equation involves 4-11 Ottawa winning their first home game of 2022 against 7-8 Montreal tonight. If that happens, Toronto would be in a position to win the East if they keep the Elks winless in Edmonton.
Regardless of this weekend’s results, Toronto (9-6) has put themselves in a position where they won’t have to beat the Alouettes in back-to-back weeks to secure a bye in the playoffs. A split will do the trick. Because Toronto already owns a head-to-head victory over Montreal this season.
Assuming the Als beat Ottawa. Montreal will have to sweep Toronto in weeks 20 and 21 to capture the East. The Argos would undoubtedly love to avoid that scenario altogether and sail into the final two weeks of the regular season with everything sewn up.
So Saturday’s game could mean everything to Toronto or have little significance in the big picture.
On paper, Toronto looks like the clear favorite over Edmonton this week. The betting line for this contest originally had the Argos as two-point road favorites, but it has since grown to six points. Even the oddsmakers believe that Toronto has a distinct advantage over the Elks.
Besides the overall win-loss records. The 9-6 Argonauts have the edge over the 4-12 Elks in so many statistical categories.
Offensively, Edmonton has averaged the fewest points per game in the league. (19.8). And have allowed the most points per game defensively (33.8). A time-tested formula for losing.
The Elks, despite their poor record, have been fairly competitive in a good number of their games. 2021 Argos hired gun Chris Jones has his team playing hard, but there have been weeks where they have been thoroughly outmatched. For what it’s worth, Edmonton’s best efforts this season have come against teams from the East. Having beaten Hamilton, Montreal, and Ottawa. And nearly besting the Als at home two weeks ago.
Edmonton is trying to turn the corner and return to its better days as a once glorious franchise. They’d like to be what Toronto has been, the last two seasons, back in contention. For that to happen, they need to start winning games at home, and perhaps that starts now.
Toronto winning in Edmonton would be something they haven’t done in a long time. It would also mark the first time the Argos have won ten games in the regular season since 2015. Whether the division title is at stake or not, both these teams are trying to achieve something that has alluded them in recent years.
Week 19 Toronto Argonauts Depth Chart
There’s a lot of ambiguity with the Argonauts depth chart this week. On the surface, the team has mostly the same lineup from a week ago. For example, many of the unique changes made defensively in Week 18 remain. Chris Edwards at cornerback, Shaq Richardson at SAM linebacker etc. But there’s uncertainty as to how long starters will play in the game. Due to the unknown surrounding the outcome of Friday’s Montreal-Ottawa game.
Perhaps a telltale sign that Toronto is leaning towards resting players. RT Dejon Allen and WR Brandon Banks, who both didn’t practice all week, are out for Saturday’s game. Although Allen has nursed injuries all season. He was a DNP in practice due to personal reasons. Same for Banks..Allen will be replaced in the starting lineup by RT Shane Richards.
The Argos get WR DaVaris Daniels (hip) back in their starting lineup after he missed Week 18. Defensive back DaShaun Amos (ankle) also makes his way back from injury after sitting out a week ago.
Depending on what’s at stake Saturday night. Argonauts backups could see more playing time than normal with starters exiting the action early.
Week 19 Edmonton Elks Depth Chart
Lineup changes have been a weekly occurrence for Edmonton. Partly due to injuries, but also by design. The Elks have shuffled their lineup several times this season, looking for the right combinations.
A key area to watch this week for Edmonton is the loss of their two middle linebackers from Week 18. Tre Watson and Tobi Antigha are both on the shelf. LB Deon Lacey has been added to the active roster to help with the Elks losses at the position.
On the positive front for the Elks. RB Kevin Brown, Despite being limited early in the week, is suiting up against Toronto. He has been one of Edmonton’s best finds during a season of weekly roster turnover.
Keys To The Game
The strength of Edmonton’s offence this season has been quarterback, Taylor Cornelius. The 6’5, 232lb gunslinger has vastly improved from where he was a season ago as a CFL novice. The Elks have locked up Cornelius with a contract extension based on how much he has grown in year two.
‘Corn Dog’ has excellent arm talent and uses his mobility to make big plays happen outside the pocket. He has scored 17 touchdowns this year, ten through the air and seven on the ground.
Toronto’s defence has had some issues this season against mobile quarterbacks who can create with their feet. Cornelius has shown the ability to make throws down the field outside the pocket. Some of his best plays this season have come off-script.
Edmonton’s offensive line has allowed 50 sacks this year. The second most in the CFL. So the Argos pass rush needs to get home and keep Cornelius from extending plays.
Edmonton’s ground attack has steadily improved after being a non-factor at the outset of the 2022 season. The Elks are ranked fourth in the league heading into week 19. Kevin Brown has averaged 7.4 yards per rush since joining Edmonton in early September. The Incarnate Word standout, who was recommended by former Edmonton and Argos player, and now coach Dexter McCoil has helped bring balance to the Elks offence.
Look for Edmonton to test Toronto’s linebacking corps, without Wynton McManis, more than BC did a week ago. Chris Jones’s knowledge of some of the Argos’ key defensive players’ strengths and weaknesses could come in handy as key members of his offensive staff are members of last year’s Boatmen. (Stephen McAdoo, Jarius Jackson etc) This has some of the same elements of the Argos games with Calgary, where the other side has intel against Toronto.
The Elks most significant weakness defensively has been their rush defence. Edmonton is last in the CFL in several key categories against the run, allowing 116 yards per game, 5.2 yards per carry, and 28 majors on the ground.
Running the football hasn’t exactly been a strength for Toronto this season. The Argos are last in the league with 77 yards per game on the ground. But if there ever was a week for them to establish the run, this would be that moment. Shortening the game could be a strategy that applies to the Boatmen, no matter what is at stake for them.
Teams don’t throw the ball very often against Edmonton. The Elks have seen the fewest pass attempts of any defence in the CFL. As challenging as it is to believe, Edmonton has allowed the second-fewest passing yards per contest (258.7). Primarily because they have been on the bad end of blowout games. However, they have allowed a league-high 73.4 percent completion rate. A significant reason for that is down and distance. Because opposing teams have run with ease against them. Completions in the passing game have come easier.
It would play in the Argonauts’ favor to establish an early lead and force Edmonton to play from behind. The Elks primary weaknesses have been stopping the run and slowing down opposing team’s pass rushers.
CFL Week 19: Argonauts @ Elks Prediction
Something tells me that this game will be a lot closer than the numbers would have you believe. In the topsy-turvy world of the CFL in 2022. “Upsets” are commonplace.
Even though Edmonton is not alive in the playoff chase. I expect Chris Jones and his team to give Toronto its best shot at home. The Elks are highly motivated to end their season on an up note. Finally winning a game at home could provide a psychological building block for the future.
Although Toronto could be faced with a grand opportunity Saturday night. The game doesn’t feel like a must-win for them because they have some margin for error. Obviously, if the East crown is in play. The Argos will have plenty of motivation to bring their A-game.
If the division title isn’t up for grabs, you wonder if Toronto will have the same sense of urgency they had a week ago. Regardless, I think this game will be closer than it appears on paper. An upset is certainly in the cards.
Prediction: Toronto Argonauts 26 Edmonton Elks 22
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