CFL Week 11 preview

by Sean Murphy

We're right around the halfway point of the CFL season and we've seen clear separation between the West and East Division with the former proving vastly superior. Will the West's dominance continue this week? Two non-division matchups key the four-game Week 11 slate. Here's a quick preview of all four contests.

Friday

Edmonton Elks at Ottawa RedBlacks (-4.5, 48)

The RedBlacks sit in last place in the East Division while the Elks occupy that same spot in the West. Ottawa finds itself near the bottom of most offensive statistical categories and is coming off a 17-3 drubbing at the hands of the Stampeders. The good news is, the RedBlacks are fresh off their bye week and welcome an Elks team that doesn't play a lick of defense. Edmonton has allowed 30 or more points in five of seven games to date. While the Elks did come close to pulling out a win (and cover) last week against the Roughriders, it was all for not as they allowed two unanswered touchdowns in the game's final four minutes in an eventual 34-23 defeat. Ottawa RB William Powell's status remains in doubt due to a nagging knee injury as he has yet to practice this week. While it hasn't helped all that much, the Elks are arguably the healthiest team in the CFL with no key injuries to mention.

B.C. Lions at Saskatchewan Roughriders (+4.5, 52.5)

There are currently four points separating the Lions and Roughriders in the West Division standings with B.C. sitting in second place and Saskatchewan in fourth. The Riders will obviously have their sights set on narrowing that gap with this home clash on Thursday night. This marks the first home game in which the Riders have been listed as an underdog this season. It's been a bit of a slog for the Saskatchewan aerial attack this season as it has notched 20 or more pass completions in only two of seven games to date. In fact, the Riders offense as a whole has struggled and that could spell trouble as they welcome a Lions squad that has held each of its last three opponents to 83 or fewer rushing yards and no more than 203 passing yards. B.C.'s offense has been 'best in class' all season, averaging 101 rush yards per game and 367 pass yards per contest.

Saturday

Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Montreal Alouettes (-3, 48.5)


These two East Division rivals are riding high off impressive victories last week. Hamilton delivered a 34-27 win over Toronto while Montreal pulled off a stunning upset victory over the previously undefeated Blue Bombers in Winnipeg. The Als needed overtime to secure that improbable road victory but shouldn't be any worse for wear as they've had a couple of extra days off with that game being played last Thursday. Since scoring 31 or more points in three of its first four games this season, Montreal has now been held to 20 or less in three straight contests. The Tiger-Cats are coming off a season-high 34-point performance last week. Hamilton's offense has quietly turned things around following a slow start, led by a rushing attack that has compiled 102+ yards on the ground in three of its last four games. The Als have been torched for 138, 102, 152 and 118 rushing yards over their last four contests.

Calgary Stampeders at Toronto Argonauts (+2.5, 50)

This will be the first meeting between the Stamps and Argos this season and it comes at a time when both teams are struggling. Calgary has dropped three of its last four games following a perfect 2-0 start while Toronto has lost two of its last three contests since posting consecutive victories over Saskatchewan in mid-July. The Stamps would be well-advised to button things up defensively having allowed all six opponents to attempt 30+ passes this season with their last two opponents getting off 44 and 52 pass attempts. Toronto can sling it, having completed 24 or more passes in five of its last six games. Both teams could be missing their star running backs for this game with Kadeem Carey of the Stamps working through a nagging hamstring injury and Andrew Harris of the Argos having reportedly suffered a torn pectoral muscle. 

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