Last game: 25-15 win over Calgary Next game: Vs. Edmonton, Thurs. June 17
Worth noting: Speaking of strong quarterback performances, Vernon Adams Jr. came out firing against the Stamps with a perfect 9-9 opening drive. Also impressive was the Lions’ defensive effort. They had three sacks on Jake Maier and forced the Calgary pivot into a 154-yard, one-touchdown night. Now they head home to host the Elks (and LL Cool J) in their home opener.
7. Edmonton Elks (0-1)
Last week: 8
Last game: 17-13 loss to Saskatchewan Next game: At BC, Sat. June 17
Worth noting: The Elks will have to put being on the wrong side of that goal line stand behind them quickly. Spectacular Eugene Lewis TD catch aside, the team needs to get its offence going in Week 2. A 3-17 showing on second down won’t get it done this year.
3DN Power Rankings
2) B.C. Lions (3)
The Lions leapt up one spot after a dominant win over the Calgary Stampeders in which the offence didn’t miss a beat with Vernon Adams Jr. under centre. Dominique Rhymes hauled in two touchdown passes and rookie running back Taquan Mizzell looks like the real deal. The Leos were also great on defence as they stifled Calgary’s attack, holding them to a meagre 235 net yards.
8) Edmonton Elks (8)
Edmonton stood pat following a home loss that saw the club’s new-look offence fail to make an impact outside of a sensational 102-yard touchdown catch by Eugene Lewis. Taylor Cornelius struggled with accuracy and wasn’t effective along the ground, rushing once for 14 yards. This biggest positive for the Elks came off the field on Sunday as there was an announced crowd of 32,233 on-hand, the largest for a home-opener since 2013.
Hladik burst onto the scene last July when teammate Bo Lokombo went down with injury. Initially starting on the weak side, it didn’t take long for Hladik to slide into the middle linebacker role for the rest of the season. Hladik was great upon cracking the starting lineup; he finished 2022 with 59 defensive tackles, two sacks, two interceptions and one forced fumble.
Hladic, now entrenched at the top of BC’s depth chart, is a cool local story. Born and raised in Vernon, BC, Hladik played his U SPORTS football at the University of British Columbia before going in the third round of the 2021 CFL Draft.
Both Hladik and Lokombo looked great in BC’s Week 1 win over the Stampeders and, honestly, they were neck-and-neck for me on this prediction. Hladik had three tackles on Thursday night, while Lokombo racked up seven to go along with a sack as the Lions held Calgary to 250 net yards of offence.
The Vernon Adams Jr. era in BC got off to a great start last week, as the Lions opened the CFL season with a big win. The offense still has some work to do but looked promising, with Adams accurately throwing the ball to receivers Dominique Rhymes and Alexander Hollins.
It was more of the same for the Elks, who lost their 18th straight home game. QB Taylor Cornelius really struggled, and he won’t have any easier time this week throwing against the likes of CB Garry Peters and HB Marcus Sayles.
The Lions defense will have a clear advantage, and if Adams and the offense can play at a similar level to last week, they’ll be able to control this game.
MATCHUP TO WATCH: WR EUGENE LEWIS, EDMONTON VS. HB MARCUS SAYLES, BRITISH COLUMBIA
The Elks have Lewis playing in the slot this year, which paid off big time in Week 1, which he finished as the highest-graded receiver in the league. He’ll find himself matched up with All-Star halfback Sayles, who started the season strong last week with just three catches allowed for a mere 6 yards.
This matchup could make or break the game. If Sayles can lock Lewis down, the Elks stand very little chance of winning. But shutting down the league’s top receiver is easier said than done.
PLAYER TO WATCH: QB TAYLOR CORNELIUS, EDMONTON
The Elks signed Cornelius to a contract extension toward the end of last season, so they must believe in him as their starter for the future. But he still has a lot to prove, and he didn’t exactly start the season well.
His 33.2 passing grade was the lowest of all quarterbacks, as was his adjusted completion percentage of just 50.0%. The Elks are trying to get out of the West basement, and they need Cornelius to be great to do that. Bouncing back from a tough week against a great team would surely silence some doubters.
Woulda shoulda coulda… A win is a win is a win. Same as a loss is a loss .with the crap season last year and playing the bombers tonight we will take the win last week and possibly even thank the Elk at a later date for the gift… But I doubt it😁
Excited for today’s matchup. Concerned about the loose way Lion Mizzell carries the ball. Not sure if he has a history of fumbling so perhaps it’s just one game that he was a little bit loosey goosey with the ball.