August 24, 2023 Game Notes: Who wins Week 12’s East vs. West battle?

Dave Chidley/

TORONTO — It’s a West versus East showdown as all four matchups in Week 12 feature teams from opposing divisions going head to head. It’s the first time that happens since Week 4 of last year when the West swept the East with three games being decided in the final three minutes.

It all starts on Thursday with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers coming off four straight wins and trying to hold on to first place in the West Division as they host a surging Montreal Alouettes team that is also coming off four consecutive victories. Even more impressive is the fact that both teams have accomplished that streak partially with their starting quarterbacks Zach Collaros and Cody Fajardo out of the lineup. Both veterans will return this week in a matchup between two of the best defences in the CFL. Winnipeg is second in net offence yards allowed with 304.4 yards per game while Montreal is third with 316.1.

Friday features a rematch of Week 9 with the Toronto Argonauts looking to get one back against the Calgary Stampeders at BMO Field. The Argos lost the previous matchup 20-7 as quarterback Chad Kelly had to leave the game with an injury. Toronto’s pivot is having himself a season as the unquestioned starter for the Double Blue with a league-best 70.9 completion percentage to go along 18 total touchdowns to only five interceptions. Stamps’ quarterback Jake Maier meanwhile has not been able to find a lot of success through the air lately, failing to break the 200-yard mark in the last three games. Last time Maier faced the Argos he did come away with the win and put forth an efficient outing by completing 22 of 24 passes.

The weekend starts with a game between two teams coming off losses in the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and BC Lions. The Ticats dropped a home game to the Edmonton Elks and continue to search for answers on both sides of the ball. One of them could be the play of running back James Butler, who’s coming off one of his best performances of the season where he tallied 146 yards and a major. He’ll be even more motivated to face his former team the Lions, who are coming off a loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The Leos fell short on a late comeback attempt after trailing by 18 points entering the fourth quarter and cutting the lead down to five at Mosaic Stadium. Quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. was under pressure all game but still managed to finish with 455 yards and three touchdowns.

Week 12 ends with a matchup between a suddenly hot Elks team against the Ottawa REDBLACKS coming off yet another close loss. Edmonton is looking to break a streak of 22 straight losses at home and have momentum on their side. Pivot Tre Ford was inserted in the lineup and gave new life to the Green and Gold in the last two games, including their first win of the season in Week 11 against the Ticats that saw Ford being named CFL Player of the Week. The REDBLACKS meanwhile are coming off four straight losses with three of them being decided by four points or less. They had a chance to take down the Alouettes at home last week but ended up allowing a late comeback despite leading after three quarters.

Buy Week 12 Tickets
» Thursday, 8:30 p.m. ET: Montreal at Winnipeg
» Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET: Calgary at Toronto
» Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ET: Hamilton at BC
» Sunday, 7:00 p.m. ET: Ottawa at Edmonton


  • Both Winnipeg and Montreal enter Week 12 with four game win streaks.
  • The two teams met in Week 4 during a downpour in Montreal where Winnipeg won 17-3. The game was delayed 1:42 minutes due weather.
  • Montreal has won seven of their last eight road games. The team won last year at IG Field 20-17 (OT).
  • The Alouettes are looking for their first five-game winning streak since 2014, when they won six consecutive games from September 21 to November 2.
  • Cody Fajardo is 2-7 in 9 career starts versus Winnipeg – the most losses to a single team. On the other side, Zach Collaros is 7-7 in 14 career starts versus Montreal – also the most losses to a single team.
  • Austin Mack is on pace for 96 catches for 1,546 yards this season. His pace would set new records for receiving yards and for receptions by a first year player. The receptions record is held by Derel Walker (89) and the receiving yards record by Matt Clark (1,530).
  • Through 11 games last season, Dalton Schoen had 39 catches for 698 yards. This year he has 40 catches for 705 yards including 17 receptions for clutch second down conversions.


  • 61 per cent of the league’s passing yards are “air” yards and 39 per cent are yards after catch.
  • Of the 106 passing TDs this season, 54 per cent have come from 20+ yard depth passes.

Pass Attempts 0-9 Yards Depth Downfield
TD | INT | Efficiency | Percentage of pass attempts
​31 | 34 | 90.1 | 61%

Pass Attempts 10-19 Yards Depth Downfield
TD | INT | Efficiency | Percentage of pass attempts
​17 | 26 | 82.3 | 21%

Pass Attempts 20+ Yards Depth Downfield
TD | INT | Efficiency | Percentage of pass attempts
​58 | 35 | 101.1 | 18%


  • The Argonauts are coming off their third bye of the season this week. The double blue have won five straight games coming off a bye including two this season. Teams this year are 9-3 when coming off a bye.
  • 12 of the last 14 games have been won by the team with the higher 2nddown conversion rate.
  • Of the 17 offensive TDs last week, 12 of them were on drives where a team made a BIG play.
  • There was 27 sacks last week, for an average 6.8 per game – the most of any week this season.
  • Three of the four losing teams last week had possession of the ball and a chance to retake the lead in the final two minutes.
  • This year 10 games have been decided by four points or less.
  • In the first nine weeks, the league’s TD to INT ratio (0.95:1) was the lowest since 1988. In the past two weeks it’s been the highest of the season (2.25:1).
  • Only five times this season a team trailing after the third quarter has come back to win the game. Montreal has done this twice this season, while Winnipeg, Saskatchewan, and Ottawa have done it once.
  • All four games this week feature West teams taking on an East teams. The last time this occurred was last season, Week 4. That Week the West swept the East teams and three games were decided in the final three minutes. Through 11 weeks last year, West teams were 18-4 versus East teams, this year, East leads 9-7.
  • Calgary will visit Toronto for the 51st time in their history, Toronto is 26-23-1. Ryan Dinwiddie is 1-3 versus Calgary, while Dave Dickenson is 11-1 versus Toronto.
  • Calgary has won three straight games against Toronto and the lone team to knock off the Argonauts this season back in Week 9, 20-7.
  • Argos returner Javon Leake has three punt return touchdowns which ties a club record with Jimmy Cunningham (1995) and Bashir Levingston (2003). Only seven times has a player recorded four or more in a season, last being done by Brandon Banks in 2015.
  • BC and Toronto are each 7-0 when they lead after three quarters.
  • Tiger-Cats running back James Butler has racked up 260 yards from scrimmage on 34 touches in his last two games.
  • BC and Hamilton will meet for the 100th time on Saturday, BC leads the series 56-40-3. In their last four meetings, each game has gone down to the final three minutes with Hamitlon winning three of those games.
  • Mathieu Betts had a sack last week giving him 11 on the year. He is six away from tying the Canadian sack record set by Brent Johnson with 17 in 2005.
  • In the past two games, Vernon Adams has passed for 777 passing yards, 7 TDs to 2 INTs. Keon Hatcher in the same stretch has 15 receptions for 264 yards and two TDs.
  • Ottawa has won four of the last five meetings versus Edmonton including their meeting in Week 4, 26-7.
  • The REDBLACKS are 2-7 in games decided in the final three minutes this season.
  • Ottawa leads the league in rushing yards per game 127.7 with Dustin Crum leading their team in rushing yards (451).
  • Last week, Edmonton A.C. Leonard had his 100th career start in 107 career games. He registered three defensive tackles, including a sack for a loss of four yards, but he also caught a 45-yard pass to give his team a first down at the Hamilton six yard line.
  • Emmanuel Arceneaux grabbed three passes for 33 yards in the Elks win last week. The catches extended his consecutive streak to 138 games, which ranks fifth in CFL history. He now has more than 9,000 receiving yards for his career – 626 receptions for 9015 yards and 58 TDs. He needs 22 yards to pass James Murphy for 29th all-time.
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