In this week’s CFL action, four games are on schedule, starting with the Edmonton Elks traveling to Quebec for a showdown against the Montreal Alouettes as they search for their second win of the season. The Calgary Stampeders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers put their undefeated records on the line in a West Division battle on Friday, while the Saskatchewan Roughriders go head-to-head with the Toronto Argonauts. Finally, the Ottawa Redblacks and Hamilton Tiger-Cats will clash with identical 0-4 records, with one team earning their first win of the season.
Elks @ Alouettes
Just when things were turning around for the Elks, they were decimated in Week 5 and lost not only the game but some key players too. Quarterback Tre Ford will miss several weeks after leaving the game with a collarbone injury. Kai Locksley, who the team leaned on to fill Ford’s spot, also suffered an injury and left the game, and he’s doubtful for the next couple of weeks. This leaves a major hole in the Elks’ lineup, and they’re already struggling to build up any offense.
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The Alouettes’ start to the season wasn’t what the organization was hoping for, and they made that clear by firing their head coach over the weekend, along with their defensive coordinator. Khari Jones led Montreal to two playoff appearances but failed to re-capture that momentum in his third year. Montreal also made some roster moves, signing punter Joel Whitford and defensive lineman Isaiah Gay. Chris Ackie did not participate in practice and is questionable for Thursday’s game, while four others were held to limited practice time.
Stampeders @ Blue Bombers
Ahead of their bye next week, the Stampeders are riding into Week 6 on a high after crushing the Elks 49-6. They hold the league’s second-best offensive and defensive numbers this season and are 4-0, but face their greatest challenge yet. It’s the first of three meetings between the two clubs this season, and Bo Levi Mitchell should anticipate a difficult defense to penetrate. Wide receiver Richie Sindani is doubtful this week as he’s still recovering from a hamstring injury.
Despite having nine players on the six-game injury list, the Blue Bombers hold on to the best record in the CFL and are the best defensive team thus far. Coming off back-to-back 43-22 victories over the Argonauts and BC Lions, they aim to hand a team their first loss of the season for a second consecutive week. They’ve dominated opposition on all fronts; offensively, defensively, and on special teams. They don’t score as much as most of their West Division competition, but they get points when it matters and are fully capable of shutting a game down.
Roughriders @ Argonauts
After winning back-to-back games, the Roughriders are back in the mix with two undefeated teams as they inch closer to relevancy this season. Unfortunately, they may be without defensive lineman Garrett Marino for a short period. The 27-year-old was ejected from last week’s game after a low hit took Redblacks’ quarterback Jeremiah Masoli out of the game. Saskatchewan already has three players out with injury and eight more who are questionable and can’t afford any more losses.
The Argonauts were extremely active yesterday, adding five players to their active roster. With three players out and two others currently questionable, Toronto continues to search for answers to their slow start this year. Despite an attempt at a comeback in their last outing, a missed field goal led to their downfall, bringing them to a 1-2 record. They still hold first place in a weak East Division, but for how long will be determined by their play over the next couple of weeks.
Redblacks @ Tiger-Cats
If the Redblacks’ season wasn’t bad enough, they’ll be without Masoli for at least 10-12 weeks after the collision with Roughriders lineman Marino. While his injury won’t require reconstructive ACL surgery, he’ll still need a bone-based surgical procedure to fix the issue. Looking to put the controversy behind them, they take on a team going through hard times and stand to earn their first win of the year against a weaker defensive team.
Amidst an awful start to their year, the Tiger-Cats were active with some roster moves over the weekend. They signed punter Jon Ryan and kicker Seth Small while releasing offensive lineman Aron Johnson, punter Simon Laryea and linebacker Jared Beeksma. Their schedule doesn’t get much easier after this week, as they meet with the Lions next week before spending the next five weeks battling the Argonauts (three times) and Alouettes (two times).
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