For the Edmonton Elks (0-2), it will be another tough opponent that they will square against at home. While the Edmonton Elks are experiencing an offensive roadblock on the majority of their offensive series in the first two games to open the 2023 Canadian Football League season, the Toronto Argonauts (1-0) have displayed the opposite.
Date/Location: Sunday, June 25th, 2023 / Commonwealth Stadium / Edmonton, Alberta
Kickoff Time: 7:00pm EST
Channel: TSN / CBS Sports Network / CFL+
The current weather forecast indicates a high of 24 Degrees Celsius and will feel like 27 Degrees Celsius.
There is now the risk of a strong thunderstorm warning recently put in place that has also been advised for this Monday. There will also be a combination of sun and clouds.
Wind Gust: 21 Kilometres per hour
Percentage of Precipitation: 40%
Spread: Toronto Argonauts -6.5 (-105), Edmonton Elks +6.5 (-105)
Moneyline: Toronto Argonauts -240, Edmonton Elks +225
Over / Under: Over 44.0 (-110) / Under 44.5 (-110)
Week 3 Edmonton Elks Depth Chart
Taylor Cornelius will start for the Edmonton Elks at quarterback. He will have Kai Locksley at QB2, followed by Jarret Doege at QB3.
For Taylor Cornelius, he has got to get this Edmonton Elks offence to find their identity. Although he looked below average at best last week vs the BC Lions in a 22-0 shutout loss, the fault was not solely on his shoulders. A lot of key figures in the Elk’s offence dropped multiple passes through the duration of the game. What appeared to be a routine catch on any given day, it appeared that everyone on the Elk’s offence had butterfingers that day which in the end, resulted in ten straight punts.
It is safe to say that the only bright spot so far in its infancy to start the 2023 CFL season, is the Edmonton Elk’s defence. The Elk’s defense has been stellar all things considered with the Elk’s stagnant offence. To make matters worse, the offence cannot afford to have any days off. The Elk’s defence can be easily overshadowed again as it was last season with playing with a short field to start any series. The Elk’s offence has got to do its part to wear down an opponent’s defence for longer drives and to give their defence the much-needed rest.
The Edmonton Elks do suffer a big blow to their secondary. Cornerback Ed Gaines has been placed on the six-game injury list. He will be replaced by newly acquired Marcus Lewis who will shift to cornerback from his natural position of defensive back.
One other notable absence will be on the offensive side of the ball. Veteran receiver Manny Arceneaux will also be out as listed on the six-game injury list. He will be replaced by Kyran Moore who can be a significant part of the offence vs the Toronto Argonauts.
Also out for this game will be offensive lineman Cole Nelson, 1-game injury list, and quarterback Tre Ford. However, in the case of Tre Ford, he is placed on healthy scratch due to the three quarterbacks chosen for this game.
For the Toronto Argonauts, they are limping at the wrong time. Some key roster players include defensive lineman Shawn Oakman who is on the one-game injury list. This is also followed by linebacker Henoc Muamba on the six-game injured list, wide receiver Markeith Ambles on the six-game injured list, offensive lineman Dariusz Bladek on the six-game injured list, and offensive lineman Shane Richards on the six-game injured list.
Keys to the Game
The Toronto Argonauts simply have a more polished team overall in comparison to the Edmonton Elks. This is no secret. The last two seasons clearly show two football teams that have been heading in opposite directions. The Edmonton Elks need to change the outcome of games moving forward. Although the Argonauts are limping into this game on the road at Commonwealth Stadium, they still have a lot of depth in a lot of positions on both sides of the ball.
With that said Taylor Cornelius has to be better. We’re not saying that he has to outplay Chad Kelly at his respected position. What Taylor Cornelius has to do is be effective on the field as he did last season in the latter part of the last seven remaining games where he showed a lot of promise. Because as of now, it seems that he has regressed a lot. The one surprising thing is that he has not made any real attempts to run with the ball. He was very effective in doing so last season. He will have to use all of his natural talents against a very stingy Toronto Argonauts defence to have any chance of possibly causing an upset victory.
Players to Watch
Eugene Lewis: He is a player that has an abundance of talent. And the rest of the CFL knows his capabilities of being a game changer. He also has a good history of winning a lot of one-on-one battles vs the Toronto Argonauts as he knows this team all too well. If Taylor Cornelius can connect frequently with Eugene Lewis, he will be the much-needed offence spark that has lacked with Edmonton thus far.
Loucheiz Purifoy: He will start at free safety and he will have to be an X-factor. He will have to be big in disrupting the medium to the deep ball that Chad Kelly will try and exploit the Edmonton defence with. For a team that only had ten interceptions last season, the Edmonton Elks defence will have to start winning the takeaway battles.
AJ Ouellette: He is an unsung hero and he takes pride in this. He will be difficult to halt when it comes to the running game, especially in short to medium yardage. Pending on the offensive formation that the Argonauts will display, look for AJ Ouellette to also be effective in blocking in the backfield for Chad Kelly to buy time to set up a play that might need more time to develop. He can easily be a thorn in the Edmonton Elks’ defence.
Wynton Mc Manis: Aside from Henoc Muamba being the heart and soul of the double-blue defence, his wingman is Wynton Mc Manis. He is a gifted linebacker that can also be a game-changer. He is a player that a lot of quarterbacks fear, as he has a knack for where the ball is going to be. He can anticipate the play at ease, making it frustrating for an offence to run or throw the ball. He has the natural talent to cause a lot of disruption.
The most difficult thing here to address in this game is whether the Elks’ offence is going to wake up and improve to have any realistic chance. If the Elks’ offensive line can slow down the pressure of the Toronto Argonauts’ defence, and Taylor Cornelius can make plays, this can be a very close game. However, the injuries to the Argonaut’s offence can also play into the factor of this outcome even with the depth that the Argonauts have on both sides of the ball.
Toronto Argonauts: 29
Edmonton Elks: 24
The Toronto Argonauts play this game in the first half in which they do run into a roadblock. The Edmonton defence does become a bend but doesn’t break defence and keep this game close without getting out of reach.
Taylor Cornelius does improve, but the Argonauts’ defence makes a couple of plays to halt the Edmonton offence on a couple of occasions during key parts of the game that could have been key points not gained by Edmonton.
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