Almost every game from here on out is a must win for the Edmonton Elks in the 2023 CFL season-especially if they want to have any chance of making the playoffs. And yes, we can still talk playoffs in Edmonton after a dreadful 0-9 start to the season.
The Labour Day Rematch on Saturday, September 9 against the Calgary Stampeders could be the most important game of the year for the Elks. Win and you climb within one game of the Stamps and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats for the Eastern Conference Crossover playoff spot. Lose, and you fall three games behind Calgary with very little chance of catching them in the standings.
Elks Played Well in Labour Day Classic But Not Good Enough to Win
The Elks looked great for three quarters on Labour Day at McMahon Stadium but Jake Maier and the Stamps offense were too much in the fourth quarter and he led Calgary to a come from behind 35-31 victory. Maier completed 27 of 34 passes for 315 yards and played his best stretch of football all season in the final 15 minutes of the game.
Meanwhile Elks QB Tre Ford looked good again up until the fourth quarter when the Stampeders Defence shut down the young Elks signal caller and the offense. Ford rushed for 135 yards (a record for Canadian Born QBs) and completed 14 of 23 passes for 136 yards. Ford brought back memories of former EE greats Damon Allen and Michael Reilly when he took off on a 33 yard scramble in the third quarter. That play alone was worth the price of admission as Ford showed what a dynamic player he can be. It seems as though Ford is getting better and better and playing with more confidence every week-and Elks fans are hoping he has some magic in his arm and legs when it comes to the Labour Day rematch at Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday.
Elks Will Be Hosting A Confident Group of Stampeders
The way the Elks have played in their last four games has brought some slivers of hope back to a fan base that has literally had the crap kicked out of them the past three years. The Elks can still salvage the 2023 season but it’s going to take a monumental effort to get there. They’ll be playing a Stampeders team with a renewed sense of confidence on Saturday, and it won’t be easy. The Stampeders have been under-achieving all season, and have played good football for stretches. Their win on Labour Day might’ve been the kick start they needed to pull away and secure a playoff spot. But you never know. This is not the Wally Buono/John Hufnagel era Stampeders we’re talking about so anything can still happen.
Elks Hoping For Big Crowd For Labour Day Rematch
In the past month there’s been a positive vibe around the Elks, especially when they broke their home losing streak with a 30-20 win against the Ottawa Redblacks on August 27. Winning and playing well are two of the best marketing strategies for selling more tickets, and things are looking good that the Elks could have their largest crowd of the season on Saturday, September 9.
If there are 30,000 fans in the stands that could be considered a moral victory for the Elks team and organization considering how sparse the crowds have been in the first half of the season. The Weather Network is calling for temperatures around 20c. Perfect weather for football and for watching the most important game for the Elks franchise this season.
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