September 21, 2023

Marquee Matchup: Plenty on the line for Lions, Elks

TORONTO — This week’s CFL Pick ‘Em presented by Old Dutch Marquee Matchup is third and final regular season meeting between the Edmonton Elks and BC Lions.

The first two meetings were lopsided affairs, with the Lions shutting out Edmonton in Week 2 and Week 8. At that point it was Taylor Cornelius behind centre for the Elks and now with Tre Ford at the controls, something tells us there won’t be another 0 on the scoresheet this weekend.

Both teams have a lot to play for on Friday night; BC can clinch a playoff spot with a win and while Edmonton won’t technically be eliminated from post-season contention with a loss, a win will go a long way to helping them in the West Division standings.

Edmonton’s 4-1 in their last five games and will be looking to add to the win total this weekend in front of their home crowd. BC will be looking to carry the momentum of their incredible comeback victory last week into Week 16’s match.

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» Playoff Scenarios: Lions eye post-season berth
» Prediction Time: writers’ Week 16 picks
» Buy Tickets: BC at Edmonton
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Game notes:

  • Turnarounds from 0-9 Start: Across 1958-2022, nine teams started 0-9 – NONE made the playoffs. Only one of those nine clubs won as many as four games; Ottawa at 4-14 in 1989. With a win Edmonton can reach five wins from 0-9 and stay in playoff contention.
  • 19-Pt Comeback: The Lions staged their greatest-ever home comeback – from 19 down after the third quarter (from 16 down with 2:22 left). BC had three previous 18-point comebacks at home, the latest 2008 vs. MTL. BC has one from 20 pts down, on the road in 2004.
  • 19-Pt Comeback II: BC’s overcoming of a 19-point deficit in the fourth quarter only tied the fifth-largest in CFL history and among those was the largest deficit faced in the final 3:00.
  • 10-Pt Comeback / 16-0 4th Quarter: The Elks staged their comeback last week when they never led at all until the final 6:00 of the game at Regina. They outscored Saskatchewan 16-0 in the fourth Quarter to close out a 36-27 victory.
  • Last Week: BC’s two late TDs came from a 120-yard missed FG return from Terry Williams and a 16-yard pass from Vernon Adams Jr. to Lucky Whitehead with 0:16 to play. The BC defence came up big forcing four two-&-outs in the fourth quarter.
  • Adams Jr. 300s: Vernon comes in on a run of five straight games of 300+ passing yards and eight in total. The club record and only other time a BC QB has gone more than four in a row is held by Doug Flutie at six straight in Sep-Oct 1991. CFL record: nine in a row.
  • Kevin Brown 318 Yards in Two Games: Brown’s two-game total of 318 rushing yards is the most by any Edmonton player since 2002 – John Avery (338) had games of 181 and then 157 yards in September, 2002.
  • BC Seven Tackles for Loss: The Loons recorded seven against Ottawa last week – the most by any team in 2023 and since 2021 (WPG).
  • Since the Shut Out to BC: The Elks have taken off averaging 29.2 ppg over the six-game span (13.1 ppg in first eight games).
  • Tre Ford Seventh Straight Start: Tre Ford will be starting his seventh straight game for the Elks. With nine career starts (5-4) he ranks No. 9 A/T among Canadian QBs, three behind Greg Vavra (12). Ford has thrown a TD pass in all six starts in 2023. Over the last five games he has run after dropping back to pass 29 times. Last week of Ford’s 13 completions – nine went for clutch second down conversions.
  • Emmanuel Arceneaux: With one catch last week, Arceneaux extended his consecutive streak with a reception to 142 games since July 4, 2010. His 142-game run is the fifth-longest in CFL history and now within tw games of No. 4 Ben Cahoon at 144 in a row. Arceneaux has catches in 159 of his 160 career games – and from 15 different QBs. (see earlier notes)
  • Emphasizing the Run: The Elks are right there with Ottawa and Winnipeg in the Top 3 CFL rushing teams at 130+ yards per game. Edmonton has a CFL-best 60 runs of 10+ yards this year and 24 of them have come in the last three games alone. Of their total yards in 2023, Edmonton trails only Ottawa with the highest proportion of their total yards from the run game at 38%. By comparison, BC is at just 20% gaining 80% via the pass. Two contrasting offensive approaches.
  • Turnover Prone: This game has the two clubs with the largest T/O deficits. BC is No. 8 at -8 and Edmonton No. 9 at -12.
  • BC vs the West: The Lions are 6-2 .750 vs Western rivals in 2023, their highest divisional winning % since 2011 (8-2 .800).
  • Ben Hladik: Hladik had nine defensive tackles last week and is on pace for 94 this season.
  • Dean Faithfull: Faithfull has a current streak of 11 consecutive fieldgoals made.
  • BC No. 1 in Passing: The Lions lead the CFL at 309.1 yards per game on pace for 5,564 yards, the most by any BC team since 2005.

It’s anyone’s guess as to who will take this one in this week’s Pick ‘Em Marquee Matchup. Who are you siding with?

Make your pick on CFL Pick ‘Em presented by Old Dutch now!

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