2023-08-22 · 6 min read · CFL/Football
Edmonton Elks and Toronto Argonauts

Timothy Matwey/3DownNation | Andrew Lahodynskyj/Canadian Press

As we prepare for week 12 in the Canadian Football League, all teams are now in the win column, with the Elks capturing their first victory of the campaign last Thursday, while the BC Lions’ slip-up versus Saskatchewan has Winnipeg back in first place in the West.
Three of the four games last week were decided by a single score, two of which came down to one point as the desperation level of each team down the stretch of the regular season seems to be ramping up.
In the East, the Alouettes victory versus Ottawa has them within a game of Toronto for first, the Riders are two wins back of BC for second in the West, and the Stampeders' narrow defeat versus the Bombers has made the race for that final playoff spot much closer with Ottawa, Hamilton and Calgary all tied with three wins each and Edmonton two games behind.
There is potentially some good news regarding the health of a couple of starting quarterbacks this week, while all four matchups feature a team from the West against the East.
Here is a look at the week 12 matchups and my predictions.
Montreal Alouettes at Winnipeg Blue Bombers
His performances came with their share of mistakes, but in the end, Caleb Evans has kept Montreal winning, going 24/36 for 333 yards, two touchdowns and an interception versus the Redblacks.
Cody Fajardo has been cleared to return, and he will have a red-hot receiver in Austin Mack to depend on as the CFL leader in receiving yards (773) had nine grabs last week for 116 yards.
Mack has carried the offence several times this season, leading the league in receptions of 30+ yards (eight), while the Als secondary has been rock-solid throughout the campaign, allowing fewer passing yards than anyone in 2023 (228.4 per game), and also giving up the fewest passing scores (six) and the lowest pass efficiency rating (72.6).
The Bombers' offence has kept them winning throughout the year, but last week it was the defence’s turn to step up as a pick-six by Demerio Houston would prove to be the only touchdown of the game against Calgary, while the secondary only gave up 11 completions and the defensive front held Ka’Deem Carey to a mere 28 yards rushing on 10 carries.
Dru Brown was not as sharp as we saw in their dramatic comeback victory over Edmonton the previous week, going 17 of 27 for 171 yards, but he might be relegated to the bench on Thursday with Zach Collaros back practising with the team.
While the secondary has stepped up, allowing the lowest competition percentage in the CFL (59.4), and the offence is still making big plays, Brady Oliveira has perhaps been the most consistent weapon for this group in 2023, with the Canadian running for 80 yards against Calgary and still leading the league in rushing yards (783).
Prediction- Montreal Alouettes 23-27 Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Both teams have game-breakers in the receiving department who can change any contest's complexion, while each has strong secondaries.
For me, the difference lies in the running game, and Oliveira has not had an off-game all year, regardless of the conditions or how his team is faring, while William Stanback struggled last week in his return from injury.
Calgary Stampeders at Toronto Argonauts
If you’re a Calgary Stampeders fan, you have to be frustrated with how the season has gone so far, not just because of their 3-7 record, but the fact that they have been consistently throwing games away, including last week, as they had the ball in Winnipeg territory plenty of times but couldn’t capitalise.
Luther Hakunavanhu’s drop in the red zone last Friday sums up what the season has been like offensively for the Stamps so far, as Jake Maier misfired on more than half of his throws versus Winnipeg (11/24), with Calgary currently dead last in completion percentage (61.4) and also at the bottom in terms of average gain per pass (7.2).
On the opposite side of the ball, they have only given up 11 plays of 30+ yards this season, the second-fewest in the CFL, while they’ve done well to hurry the quarterback, with four sacks last week and leading the league in that category (32).
The Argos will put their undefeated run at home this season on the line this Friday against the only team that’s beaten them all year.
Two weeks ago, the CFL’s top-rated passer Chad Kelly (120.2) had another big game on the stats sheet, throwing for 417 yards and four scores in a victory over Ottawa (44-31), with DeVaris Daniels lighting it up, with three of those touchdowns and 180 yards receiving on six catches, putting him in a tie for most receiving TDs this season (five).
Kelly’s been well protected all year long, with the Argos only allowing 10 sacks in 2023, the fewest in the CFL, while they are second in sacks made (29) and have had the best average field position (39.9 yardline), which has enabled them to find the end zone plenty of times, tied with Winnipeg for the most touchdowns heading into week 12 (32).
Prediction- Calgary Stampeders 17-Toronto Argonauts 24
That Argos offensive line may face their stiffest test this week, but all season long, they’ve capitalised on their excellent field position, and the same cannot be said about Calgary.
Ultimately finishing drives with touchdowns can make all the difference, and while Calgary’s record is not indicative of their play, the Stamps seem to be in a psychological rut at the moment, which I don’t think they’ll snap out of against the defending champions.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats at BC Lions
Hamilton’s mediocre regular season hit a new low last week as they gave the Elks their first victory of the year.
It wasn’t a poor outing for them offensively either, as Taylor Powell only missed six passes, James Butler rushed for 114 yards and a score, and Tim White made nine catches for 101 yards, but defensively they allowed Tre Ford far too much time in the pocket, registering just a single sack.
The Tiger-Cats have put up the third-fewest sacks in the CFL this year (25) but have also given up fewer competitions than anyone (165).
A late fourth-quarter surge against the Riders ultimately came up short as the Lions suffered their third defeat of the season despite Vernon Adams throwing for 455 yards and three touchdowns.
The number two QB in terms of passing yards this year (2,325) did have an interception, but their running game, which is dead-last in rushing yard average (78.1) and average gains per rush (4.4), was disappointing once again, with only 44 combined yards on the ground on 12 carries from three different ball carriers.
While the run game has struggled, they’ve been dynamic through the air all year, with Alexander Hollins second in receiving yards at the moment (715) as he, Lucky Whitehead and Keon Hatcher each had a TD grab in the loss to Saskatchewan.
Prediction- Hamilton Tiger-Cats 10-35 BC Lions
In addition to their poor pass rush, Hamilton has allowed the second-most completions of 30+ yards this season (21), and if Vernon Adams has time to throw the ball, he will pick you apart, while his group of receivers are as dangerous as any in the CFL.
Ottawa Redblacks at Edmonton Elks
They were the Cinderella story of the league for a couple of weeks, but lately, it seems that the clock is coming close to midnight on the Ottawa Redblacks, who’ve lost four consecutive games.
Dustin Crum was back to his mediocre ways passing last week, with just 130 yards through the air and an interception, while they found the end zone three times on the ground and came up with a pair of interceptions, but still failed to emerge victorious.
Against the run, they’ve been solid all year long, allowing an average of 3.7 yards per game, the fewest in the CFL, while leading in rushing yards themselves (1,277); however, having the fewest passing yards (2,058) and giving up more completions than anyone (215).
The Elks finally got a monkey off their back last week, as Tre Ford had another solid outing behind centre, throwing for a pair of scores, while Kevin Brown seems to be re-invigorated under a Jarious Jackson offence, averaging 5.6 yards per carry versus Hamilton.
This weekend, Chris Jones’ team can get an albatross off their back with a chance to end the longest home losing streak in North American sports history (22 games), and if their pass rush is as good as we saw against the Ti-Cats (seven sacks), there’s a good chance they’ll bump that slump.
The pass rush could use some help from their secondary, who’ve allowed the highest pass efficiency rating in the league (104.0) while giving up the most rushing yards to this point of the campaign (1,431).
Prediction- Ottawa Redblacks 20-24 Edmonton Elks
They were oh so close to ending their home losing streak against the Bombers, and an efficient Tre Ford along with the production of Kevin Brown on the ground has us leaning towards Edmonton finally getting that elusive W at Commonwealth Stadium.
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By: Joel Lefevre


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