CFL Week 4 Preview: Lions vs. Argonauts a promising matchup between top teams

2K9RWDN Canada. 29th Oct, 2022. Ottawa Redblacks' Lorenzo Mauldin IV (94) celebrates a sack on Hamilton Tiger-Cats' Matt Shiltz (18), not shown, during second half CFL football action in Ottawa on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang Credit: The Canadian Press/Alamy Live News

• Lorenzo Mauldin IV should have a field day: Last season’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player should thrive when matched up with RT Josiah St. John this week.

Ciante Evans looks to bounce back: After a tough performance last week, Evans has a real shot to get back to his usual productive ways against the Blue Bombers.

• DeWayne Hendricks aims to build off strong outing: After his two-sack performance last week, Hendricks has a great opportunity to thrive once again this week against the Lions.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes


With the clock ticking down to another exciting weekend of Canadian football, here is PFF's CFL Week 4 preview, highlighting the must-watch matchups and players set to shine on the field.

EDMONTON ELKS VS. OTTAWA REDBLACKS

The battle of these winless teams should be an interesting one. The Elks have struggled majorly out of the gate, losing three straight and never really feeling like they had a chance in any. A quarterback controversy may be brewing as starter Taylor Cornelius (43.2 passing grade this season) was pulled last week for Jarret Doege, who had a mixed bag of results (53.6 pass grade). Meanwhile, the Redblacks are still without starting quarterback Jeremiah Masoli and are now turning to second-year QB Tyrie Adams to start in his place after an ineffective first two games from QB Nick Arbuckle. Someone’s going to walk away with a win and may come down to which quarterback makes the fewest mistakes.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: EDGE LORENZO MAULDIN IV, OTTAWA VS. RT JOSIAH ST. JOHN, EDMONTON

It’s been a rocky start for last season’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player. Mauldin has two sacks, a hit and five hurries, but five of those eight pressures were clean-up plays. He’s only won 6.7% of his pass-rushing stats, and his grade of 59.3 is not up to his usual standards. Nonetheless, he has a good opportunity to improve on that this week. St. John has allowed 14 total pressures so far this year, the most in the CFL and five more than the second-most. His 20.6 pass-blocking grade is the lowest of any starting offensive lineman. If his struggles continue, Mauldin could have a field day.

PLAYER TO WATCH: QB TAYLOR CORNELIUS, EDMONTON

There haven’t been many bright spots on either team this season, so instead, we’ll look at a player that may be on his last chance. Cornelius has been given many chances as the Elks’ starting quarterback, but last week, he was pulled in what might be a sign that his job is finally in danger. Cornelius’s 43.2 passing grade sits third-lowest among all quarterbacks this year. He is the only QB that has yet to make a big-time throw, and his average depth of target is a league-low at 8.6 yards. If he struggles again, the Elks could make the permanent switch to Doege or even third-string QB Tre Ford.


WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS VS. MONTREAL ALOUETTES

While some people may have predicted the Bombers to lose to the Lions last week, nobody could have predicted they’d get blown out and score just six points. They were really let down by their offensive line, which allowed six sacks and 17 total pressures. If they can’t pass block, QB Zach Collaros and this electric passing game just can’t get going. Now, they must go up against a Montreal defense that has been one of the best in the league so far this season. Led by LB Avery Williams (77.1 grade) and CB Ciante Evans (76.6), stopping Winnipeg will be their biggest test of this young season.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: WR DALTON SCHOEN, WINNIPEG VS. HB CIANTE EVANS, MONTREAL

Evans has been one of the top halfbacks in the CFL over the past two seasons. He started off the season that way, allowing just two catches for 17 yards and making two interceptions. Nevertheless, last week was one of the toughest games of his career, as he allowed three catches for 150 yards. He’ll be seeing a lot of Schoen across from him this week, and he’ll need to tighten up that coverage. Schoen has not been quite the dominant receiver as a year ago, but he’s still second in the CFL with nine explosive receptions.

PLAYER TO WATCH: QB CODY FAJARDO, MONTREAL

While Collaros has been as good as expected this season and BC Lions’ QB Vernon Adams Jr. has looked as impressive as ever before, Fajardo sits at the top of the CFL with a 90.1 passing grade. He may not push the ball downfield as much as those two, but his efficiency is second to none. Fajardo has four big-time throws in his two games compared to just one turnover-worthy play. He has an 83.3% adjusted completion percentage, which leads the league. If he can keep that up, he could lead the Alouettes to a big upset in this one.


BRITISH COLUMBIA LIONS VS. TORONTO ARGONAUTS

The top team in the West against the top team in the East. Neither of these teams has played a close game yet, but this one should be a tight one. The Lions are led by QB Vernon Adams Jr., whose overall grade of 86.5 has him second among offensive CFL players. Toronto, meanwhile, is leaning on an unstoppable ground game, averaging over 150 rushing yards per game. It’s anchored by RB AJ Ouellette (81.1 rushing grade) but also getting big contributions from RB Andrew Harris (78.5) and from QB Chad Kelly (79.3). If Toronto can control the ground and the clock, it could pull off the win.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: WR ALEXANDER HOLLINS, BRITISH COLUMBIA VS. CB JAMAL PETERS, TORONTO

With BC potentially missing a couple of receivers due to injury, Hollins slides into that top target role. He’s performed very well so far, sitting second in the CFL with 11 first downs gained as well as eight explosive receptions and multiple contested catches. Peters just made his way back to Toronto two weeks ago and was immediately thrown into his old starting role. A year ago, Peters was the highest-graded defensive player in the CFL (90.5 grade). Can he get back to that and lock down Hollins?

PLAYER TO WATCH: DI DEWAYNE HENDRIX, TORONTO

A year ago, Hendrix was one of CFL's top pass-rushers, recording 57 total pressures for a 77.7 pass-rush grade. He missed the Argonauts' first game of the season this year but debuted in Week 3 with an unbelievable performance. His 89.4 pass-rush grade led the league, as he recorded two sacks and seven pressures. If he can continue to generate pressure up the middle, he alone could wreak havoc on the Lions’ passing game.

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