After another loss in week 10 vs the Saskatchewan Roughriders, the Edmonton Elks enter week 11 in the Nation’s Capital vs the Ottawa REDBLACKS in a must-win game for both football clubs. When looking at both team records for the 2022 season the Ottawa REDCLACKS (1-7), and the Edmonton Elks (2-7), there is not much to be said in the direction for both clubs. Let’s face it. Both clubs are very offensively challenged mainly in the red zone in not being able to add touchdowns during their respected drives. To say that both clubs are trying to “find and identity” is long gone thus far during the 2022 season. For both clubs, the main focus now is trying to make the remaining part of the 2nd half of the season a respectable one. With that being said, the Edmonton Elks have got to get into the win column sooner rather than later.
The Edmonton Elks have got hit hard with bad news regarding key players in juries both short-term and long-term for the remainder of the 2022 CFL season. Most notably will be RB James Wilder Jr as it was announced that he will be done for the remainder of the season with a neck injury. For a team that has had a lot of struggles in the running game, losing James Wilder Jr is a big blow to the offense as a whole as he has done well in receiving the ball out of the flats to gain much-needed yards when needed. Moreover, he is also a good blocking back when needed in pass protection.
The Edmonton Elks will also be without Centre David Beard as he is currently listed as out with an unknown illness. He will be replaced by RG Mark Korte will now play Centre. The RT spot will be replaced by Thomas Jack-Kurdyla.
If there is some optimism for the Edmonton Elks offense, it will be the quarterback match-up vs Ottawa. As much of the struggles have been early on in the season, this is where Taylor Cornelius will have the slight advantage over both Caleb Evans at QB 1, and Nick Arbuckle at QB2. Taylor Cornelius’s numbers might not be staggering by any stretch. With that said, he has moved the chains more frequently than when Nick Arbuckle was with the Edmonton Elks during the infancy part of the 2022 season. Caleb Evans has done some great things throwing for 910 yards so far this season, along with completing 79 0f 126 passes. However, the touchdown passes have been few and far between in 9 games played thus far throwing for only 4 touchdown passes along with 4 interceptions. When looking at Nick Arbuckle, he has been a quarterback that has not transitioned from his days in Calgary as a good backup to Bo Levi Mitchell. The struggles were apparent both as a member of the Toronto Argonauts and the Edmonton Elks after leaving Calgary.
At running back, Ottawa receives a big blow to their offense in the running game as RB William Powell will be listed as out with a knee injury. William Powell will be replaced by RB Devonte Williams. For the Edmonton defense, Devonte Williams should not be overlooked. With only 118 rushing yards on 21 carries in only 3 games played, he did have a breakout game vs the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in which he rushed for 85 yards.
The Edmonton Offense Will be Challenged vs the Ottawa Defence
As bad as the Edmonton offense has been this year, they have still put up some decent offensive numbers at times. With the Ottawa REDBLACKS offense, it has been far more challenging than what Edmonton has encountered. Ottawa so far has averaged a mere 19 points per game scoring a total of 155 points in 8 games played. However, they have countered that with a pretty good defense which has kept them in almost every game this year. The Ottawa REDBLACKS have the 4th best defense in the CFL averaging 24 points allowed per game.
The Edmonton Elks will encounter one of the more difficult tasks in trying to contain one of the best in the game with the Ottawa REDBLACKS DE Lorenzo Mauldin IV. Lorenzo Mauldin IV is making a strong case for being the 2022 Most Outstanding Defensive Player. At 7 sacks and 21 tackles, Edmonton will be tough in trying to establish a running game on the left side of the Edmonton offensive line. DT Davon Coleman will be another key figure to contain for the Edmonton Offensive line in which he has a total of 4 sacks and 16 tackles.
The Ottawa secondary has been pretty good being anchored by Ottawa DB Monshadrik Hunter who leads the team with 3 interceptions. DB Patrick Levels will shift from his normal position and be slotted in at the SAM LB spot. This will give the Ottawa defense a more balanced approach in which Patrick Levels will be effective in dropping back into pass coverage.
Edmonton has got to close out a game at some point this season
For the Edmonton Elks, every reaming game will be a grind in order to collect any wins to end off the season at somewhat a respectable level. By playing Ottawa in back-to-back weeks, they can establish a small winning streak. Edmonton so far has been 2-0 vs the East Division. Both of those wins this season were completed by comeback wins vs Montreal and Hamilton respectively. Edmonton cannot afford to fall behind and play the comeback card for this game. It is imperative that they play fundamental football in all 3 phases of the game. If there is a time to get a win for the Edmonton fans that are experiencing another brutal season for the 2nd year in a row, the time is now.
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