LIVESTREAM CFL: Edmonton Elks @ BC Lions, June 28, 04:00 CET (4 am, 10 pm June 27 EDT)

Two West Division foes meet on Thursday night when the Edmonton Elks visit the BC Lions to open Week 4.

For the Elks, there’s positives they can take from their first three games despite an 0-3 start but coming away with a win certainly trumps any moral victories.

The Lions have won two straight and are starting to look like one of the Grey Cup favourites many suspected they would be.

The offence hasn’t been the issue for the Elks as McLeod Bethel-Thompson has led a unit that’s scored 77 points through three games, including 36 in their Week 3 loss to Toronto.

Bethel-Thompson found four different receivers for a touchdown against the Argos and is working with a group flush with playmaking ability.

Watch live. Edmonton Elks @ BC Lions, June 28, 04:00 CET (4 am, 10 pm June 27 EDT)

» Depth Chart: EDM | BC 
» Game Notes: Edmonton at BC

Dillon Mitchell has been among the best wideouts through three weeks, totalling 274 receiving yards.

With plenty of confidence in their quarterback, Chris Jones’ team has the ability to spread their receiving corps and create space downfield.

The Lions secondary seems to be rounding into form after holding Winnipeg 247 pass yards in their win last week.

Ciante Evans and Garry Peters continue to be the leaders of the defensive backs. With Bethel-Thompson having three interceptions on the season, this could be the week the Lions defence breaks out.

Watch live. Edmonton Elks @ BC Lions, June 28, 04:00 CET (4 am, 10 pm June 27 EDT)

As focus falls squarely on the Elks pass game, more is expected out of running back Kevin Brown, who has just 100 yards on the season.

It’s a physical front he’ll face on Thursday. Linebacker Josh Woods is second in the CFL in defensive tackles with 24.

In front of him, Joshua ArchibaldMarcus Moore and Pete Robertson all have a pair of sacks and will be focused on making Bethel-Thompson question his decision making.

With a shortened five day week and east to west coast travel, Elks head coach Chris Jones is accepting of the challenge and knows his team is capable of beating anyone on any given day.

“What we’re likening it to is the Grey Cup because you have to go over to Vancouver on a short week with a travel,” Jones told reporters. Regardless of what the situation is, you’ve got to play a really good football team. Our guys are ready to play, it’s not like we’ve played poor football. We’ve unfortunately lost three professional football games and it comes down to one or two plays we need to learn to make. When we do, we’re going to have a lot of success.”

The Lions aren’t the only ones capable of making quarterbacks uncomfortable as Elks defensive lineman Noah Curtis leads the league with three sacks and teammate Elliott Brown has two.

Much like their opponents, getting to Lions’ quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. is critical to their success.

Adams Jr. is the only pivot to break the 1,000 passing yard mark so far this season with 1,038. While his two favourite targets, Alexander Hollins and Justin McInnis, rank one and three in receiving yards.

It’s sure to be quite the test for top defensive backs Darrius BrattonKai Gray and Loucheiz Purifoy. As the trio will be locked in on Hollins and McInnis, watch for Stanley Berryhill III to see more passes thrown his way after catching four of five against the Bombers.

Getting to Adams Jr. is part of the job for the Elks front but so is shutting down running back William Stanback, who finds himself atop the leaderboard in rushing yards with 187. He’s coming off 83 on 16 carries against Winnipeg.

If head coach Rick Campbell gets consistent production out of Stanback, it makes game planning against the Lions offence that much more difficult for Jones’ defence.

Campbell isn’t letting the Elks record fool his team and wants them to be prepared like they would be for any opponent.

“They’ve lost close games every single time,” Campbell told reporters. They have good players, their quarterback is playing well. No different drill for us. We expect these west games to be battles and to be close. We’re trying to pull off the three in a row here with Calgary, Winnipeg and Edmonton.”

It’s going to take their best effort for the Elks to snap their three-game losing streak.

On the other side, the Lions can make it three wins in a row with a victory.

Watch live. Edmonton Elks @ BC Lions, June 28, 04:00 CET (4 am, 10 pm June 27 EDT)

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