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CFL Week 19 Preview/Prediction: Ottawa Redblacks (4-12) @ Toronto Argonauts (13-2)

In Week 19 of the 2023 CFL Regular Season. The Toronto Argonauts and Ottawa Redblacks square off, with both teams having very little to play for.

CFL 2023 Week 19 Preview: Ottawa REDBLACKS (4-12) @ Toronto Argonauts (13-2), Saturday October 14th, BMO Field, 7 PM EDT, TSN/RDS/CFL+

Toronto and Ottawa are on the same spectrum for entirely different reasons this weekend.

Four years ago, the two Ontario teams were sharing the cellar position of the league. Ottawa at 3-15, Toronto at 4-14. The Argos 2019 campaign might’ve been worse if not for the fact that three of their wins that year came against the Redblacks. It was the second straight season the Argos finished with only four victories.

The fortunes have changed dramatically for Double Blue ever since. In contrast, the team from the Nation’s capital remains stuck in despair.

A year after, the franchise made its third Grey Cup appearance in four seasons. Things have completely fallen apart for Ottawa ever since. They are 14-52 since making the Grey Cup five years ago.

The 2023 Redblacks, losers of nine of their last ten, are in an all-too-familiar late-season position. Playing meaningless football games.

At 4-12 this year, Ottawa is riding out the string of another lost campaign. They have two games left to play in the final three weeks of the CFL regular season, both against the Boatmen.

On the other side of the Ontario fence, the 2023 Argonauts, at 13-2, have a chance in their final three games, if they so desire, to make history by notching the greatest single-season record in the club’s 150-year existence.

The Argos can finish 16-2 and best the regular season mark set by their 1996/1997 Doube Blue brothers. The 18-time and defending CFL champs have had their best follow-up championship season since the glory days of the Doug Flutie-led Boatmen in the late nineties.

However, outside of Toronto momentarily turning things back on last week for their turn-back-the-clock 150th celebration victory over Edmonton. The Argonauts appear ready to go back into preservation mode for the playoffs, with a month before they host the East Final on Saturday, November 11th.

The Argos, who are playing their final regular season home game at BMO Field, where they are undefeated this season, will be sitting several starters this week: some as healthy scratches and some as preventive measures for any players who are nicked up.

Ottawa REDBLACKS @ Toronto Argonauts Week 19 Game Notes

Point Spread: Perhaps this will change before the game kicks off. But in a unique and rare twist. The oddsmakers have purposely not set a betting line. Because of the unknown nature of how Toronto will handle things as the contest progresses. FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, Ceasars, etc. They are all not touching this game. Otherwise, the Argonauts would likely be a double-digit favorite at home.

Last meeting: Week 10, Sunday, August 13, BMO Field, Chad Kelly’s 434 total yards and four passing touchdowns helped propel the Argonauts to a 44-31 victory.

Injury Report: For Toronto, the Argonauts will be without several starters on Saturday, including running back AJ Ouellette (healthy scratch), right tackle Dejon Allen (leg), linebacker Jordan Williams (calf), defensive backs DaShaun Amos (ankle), Jamal Peters (groin) and Tigie Sankoh (hamstring) alongside wide receiver Cam Phillips (groin). Defensive back Josh Hagerty (shoulder) and punter John Haggerty (knee) round up the list of unavailable players for the Argos.

The REDBLACKS will be defensive back Brandin Dandridge (hand) Saturday evening, but Defensive lineman Lorenzo Mauldin IV (neck) returned to practice on Thursday and will be available for the game.

Ottawa REDBLACKS Week 19 Depth Chart

Toronto Argonauts Week 19 Depth Chart

CFL Week 19 Ottawa Redblacks @ Toronto Argonauts Game Keys/Prediction

Because of the nature of this game and the similarities between both teams’ approaches, it’s challenging to break down the matchups between both rosters.

Ottawa and Toronto are preparing for their next season. For the Redblacks, the usage of their roster in the next two games is for 2024 purposes. For the Argos, it’s all about saving their best for the postseason.

Argonauts head coach Ryan Dinwiddie openly stated a few weeks ago, when his team clinched everything, that they would treat the home games differently down the stretch. Toronto wants to win at BMO. So even though the team is taking a vanilla gameplan approach and is sitting several key players like A.J. Ouellette. I expect the Argos to play the starters who are dressed for as long as it takes for them to decide the outcome.

Redblacks head coach Bob Dyce is under a lot of scrutiny after his team failed to show up in a 29-3 loss to Montreal on Thanksgiving.

Despite having a mathematical shot at making the playoffs. The Redblacks looked unmotivated and unprepared in Week 18. I expect Ottawa to give a better effort this Saturday. But the bottom line is that the Argonauts are just so much better talent-wise than the Redblacks, that even if they don’t play at their best. The Boatmen can go into cruise control and win.

Toronto Argonauts 29 Ottawa Redblacks 19

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Mike Mitchell Reporter
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