The BC Lions will be looking to extend the Commonwealth Curse as they visit the Edmonton Elks Saturday night who have lost their last 20 home games.
The game is also the CFL’s First Punjabi Broadcast as the game will be aired on My Radio 580 AM which can be listened to online.
CFL First Period All-Star Team (Weeks 1-7)
BC Lions (5-1): The BC Lions defeated the Saskatchewan Roughriders at home in week 7 but unfortunately starting quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. suffered a knee injury. Dane Evans played well coming in to replace him late in the first quarter and is going to get the start Saturday night on the road for BC as they take on the Elks.
The BC Lions’ defense had another elite performance as they prevented the Roughriders from scoring a touchdown. BC has only allowed 2 offensive touchdowns over their 5 victories this season. They also held Saskatchewan’s starting running back, Jamal Morrow, to just 11 yards on 12 rushes.
Edmonton Elks (0-7): To say the Edmonton Elks have been having a tough go of it would be the understatement of the year. They are on an 11-game losing streak that extends into last season and they have lost their last 20 games at home. 3 of their 7 losses were lost by 1 score. The most painful of their losses was against Saskatchewan in which the game-winning point was scored when due to a mental laspe Edmonton gave up a single with 1 minute left.
Date/Location: Saturday, July 29 / Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton, AB
Kickoff Time: 7:00 PM ET, 4:00 PM PT
Channel: TSN (Canada), CBS Sports (USA), CFL+ (International)
The game is also the going to be broadcasted on
Spread: BC -7.5 (-110), Edmonton +7.5 (-110)
Moneyline: BC -400, Edmonton +310
Over/Under: 43.5 (Over -110, Under -110)
The Elk Herd
The Edmonton Elks are going with Taylor Cornelius again as their starting quarterback. Cornelius has struggled to get going this season after he was injured in the second to last game of the season which caused him to be hospitalized due to a spleen injury. General Cornelius has shown flashes of great football such as a play last week in which he evaded Winnipeg’s defensive end, Jackson Jeffcoat, and turned a would-be sack into a 20-yard rush. However, the drive later ended with an interception and was the 2nd game in a row Cornelius had a red zone interception. Taylor Cornelius has often been inaccurate this season and currently is the holder of the worst touchdown to interception ratio in the CFL.
The Elks have also struggled to provide consistent run support. Kevin Brown has been their starting running back every game this season and although he does have 5 yards per carry he is only 8th in the CFL in yards per game. He has had quite a few games such as last week against the Bombers where he had 2 carries over 10 yards but was stopped short often with 7 of his 11 carries being 3 yards or less.
Edmonton has allowed their opponents to score 26.4 points per game which is the third most in the league. Edmonton has really struggled to stop the run this season. Last week Brady Oliveira had 110 yards on 17 carries (6.5 average) against them and the week before James Butler ran for 127 yards on 14 carries (9.1 average).
Dane Evans At Quarterback
Dane Evans will be getting the start for the BC Lions at quarterback. Last week Evans came into the game in the 11th minute following a knee injury to Vernon Adams Jr. Evans completed 16 of his 25 passes for 219 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception. There was another drive in which Evans nearly had another touchdown pass but it was broken up after being initially bobbled by the targetted receiver. Evans is a 6-year veteran who has started in 29 CFL games. Evans was Hamilton’s starting quarterback last season during which he completed 66.7% of his passes for 3,883 yards 16 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.
Mizzell is Back at Running Back
Taquan “Smoke” Mizzell is back in the lineup after spending the last 3 weeks on the injured list due to a knee injury. Mizzell has looked very good so far in his first CFL season. Over his 4 games he has had 46 carries for 246 yards (5.3 yards per carry). In week 2 he was named to the Pro Football Focus team of the week after he had 50 rushing yards on 10 carries against Winnipeg. With the Elks’ struggles against the run this season I am expecting a very smoky Commonweatlh Stadium Saturday.
Shaun Shivers was the starting runningback for BC during Mizzell’s absence. Shivers is now on the 1-game injured list.
The Lions will be without Dominique Rhymes who will be missing the game due to a knee injury. It is his 2nd game missed due to injury with the 1st one being a foot injury that held him out in week 2. Justin McInnis is elevated to being a starter after being a 2nd string receiver last week. McInnis had some strong games earlier in the season as a starter at different times when BC was dealing with injuries to key receivers.
Rhymes is the league leader in touchdowns with 5.
Keon Hatcher and Lucky Whitehead who both had 1,000 yards last year and Alexander Hollins who is the current leader in receiving yards will likely be the primary targets for Dane Evans. Jevon Cottoy is also starting at receiver who has had many instances in which he catches a short pass and turns on the bulldozer mode running through defenders for plenty of YAC.
Daniel Petermann is reentering the lineup in a 2nd string-receiving role.
The defense deserves a lot of credit as to why the BC Lions are 5-1. Over the 5 wins, BC has only allowed 2 offensive touchdowns. In the first 3 games of the season, the Lions held every opposing quarterback they faced to under 200 passing yards including Jake Maier, Taylor Cornelius, and Zach Collaros. Last week 4 of the 12 defensive CFL players named to the Pro Fooball Focus Team of the Week were of the BC Lions including Woody Baron, Bo Lokombo, Ben Hladik, and Quincy Mauger.
The last time BC played Edmonton was in week 2 and the Lions held them to 0 points. Edmonton was only able to muster 103 passing yards and 54 rushing yards in that game. The circumstances are different with Vernon Adams Jr. being injured and BC being on the road, but lately being a visiting team in Edmonton is more like a neutral site game due to limited attendance numbers. They had over 32 thousand for their home opener but in the last 2 games, they had around 21 thousand which feels very empty in a stadium with a capacity of 56 thousand.
Pass Rush and Run Stopping
Last week the defensive line was amazing and completely negated Saskatchewan’s run game as Jamal Morrow only had 0.9 yards per carry on 12 rushes. Sione Teuhema, Woody Baron, Jalon, Edwards-Cooper, and Emmanuel Rugamba all contributed a tackle for a loss.
Among linebackers in week 7 Ben Hladik had the top Pro Football Focus Run defense score of 80.8 and Bo Lokombo was right behind him at 2nd with 78.5.
Matthieu Betts added another sack last week and also generated 4 QB pressures. Betts has 10 sacks and is closing in on Brent Johnson’s Canadian sack record of 17. Woody Baron contributed 2 sacks and had the 4th highest PFF pass rush grade while Betts had the 2nd highest grade in week 7.
The defensive secondary also played very well last week as Mason Fine was contained to 6.9 yards per pass attempt and had 2 interceptions. Quincy Mauger and Jalon Edwards-Cooper were both in the top 10 defensive backs for the PFF coverage grade. Jalon Edwards-Coopers and Garry Peters both had an interception. Peters also had another knockdown in the endzone preventing a late-game touchdown.
Depth Chart Changes From Last Week:
Dominique Rhymes will miss the game due to a knee injury. Justin McInnis will start at receiver after being a 2nd string last week. Daniel Petermann is entering the lineup in a 2nd string capacity.
Taquan Mizzell is back at running back after missing 2 games due to a knee injury. Shaun Shivers and Kienan Lafrance are both on the 1-game injured list this week after being the runningbacks last week.
Brooks Parker is elevated from the practice roster to add depth at linebacker.
We have the team with the best-performing defense in the BC Lions playing the team with the lowest-performing offense in the Edmonton Elks. I predict BC to win this game by a score of 28-10.
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