LIVESTREAM CFL: Montreal Alouettes @ Edmonton Elks, Oct. 14, 22:00 CET (10 pm, 4 pm EDT)

EDMONTON — The Montreal Alouettes have their eyes on locking up a home playoff date as they head into Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday to face the Edmonton Elks.

An Alouettes win or a Hamilton Tiger-Cats loss this weekend would seal the deal for the Als, who are looking to host the Eastern Semi-Final for the second consecutive year.

While the Elks were eliminated from the post-season conversation last week, they begin to build for next season and have the chance to impact this year’s playoff picture from the outside for their final two games.

The Alouettes’ defence has held its opponents to 15 or fewer points in each of its past three games, including a 29-3 win over Ottawa a week ago. If it’s true what they say and defence wins championships, it’s a trend that head coach Jason Maas has to be feeling good about.

» Depth Charts: EDM | MTL

Defensive linemen Mustafa JohnsonShawn LemonLwal Uguak and linebackers Tyrice Beverette and Reggie Stubblefield all had a sack on a mobile Dustin Crum in that win over the REDBLACKS. Applying similar pressure is needed again this week given the running ability of quarterback Tre Ford and running back Kevin Brown. The Elks are third in rushing yards with 126.1 per game and Brown himself has gone for 1,032 this year.

Beverette believes his team can play with anyone and expects the defensive front to step up again.

Watch live. Montreal Alouettes @ Edmonton Elks, Oct. 14, 22:00 CET (10 pm, 4 pm EDT)

“With this defence, you have to pick your poison,” Beverette told “If you go to the field side, you’ll get a guy named (Reggie) Stubblefield and if you come to the boundary side, you’re going to meet me. It makes it very fun; it makes it very easy. When we all play together and we play fast, good things happen.”

Montreal’s pass defence is anchored by a talented secondary that includes Marc-Antoine Dequoy and Ciante Evans. When it comes to limiting yardage, they’ve helped the Als hold opposing quarterbacks to 245.6 yards per game. Coming off a two-interception performance in a 35-12 loss to Toronto, Ford should be weary of the talent that awaits downfield.

With his defence looking to get him back on the field as quickly as possible, quarterback Cody Fajardo is aiming for extended drives. Fajardo sits fifth in passing yards with 3,534 and touchdowns with 12. He continues to target four main receivers in Austin Mack, Tyson PhilpotTyler Snead and Cole Spieker.

Finding those four will be a challenge against an Elks’ pass defence that’s surrendering an average of 253.4 yards. It’s a unit that works by committee and requires strong play from Ed GaineyKai Gray and Loucheiz Purifoy.

To make their defensive backs’ lives easier, applying pressure up front and making Fajardo uncomfortable should be the goal of defensive linemen Jake Ceresna and AC Leonard, who both have 11 sacks on the season. Adding to those totals is a definite possibility given the Als have given up 55 sacks.

Even though their playoff hopes are gone, Ceresna remains motivated to go out and perform.

“At the end of the day, this is what I love to do,” Ceresna told reporters. “We’re just focused on Montreal and playing this game. Nothing really changes for me, I’m motivated more than ever. I always stay motivated and I know our team stays motivated. It’s pro football, so we’re competing for jobs every single day. I want to beat them. I want to win every single game I play.”

The front’s hands will also be full with talented rushers Walter Fletcher and Jeshrun Antwi aiming to build momentum down the stretch. With running back William Stanback still sidelined, Fletcher should get most of the handoffs after carrying the ball 14 times for 43 yards against Ottawa.

With their attention turned to 2024, the Elks want to see Ford continue to show why he’s their answer under centre. His ability to scramble is clear, but Ford has also shown he can make an impact through the air, accumulating 1,565 yards since taking over in Week 10.

Now the goal is maintaining consistency and rhythm with his receivers. Eugene Lewis should be his top target as he navigates a talented Als’ secondary. If Lewis is blanketed, watch for Ford to turn to one of Emmanuel Arceneaux, Gavin Cobb, Dillon Mitchell or Kyran Moore with his next look.

Despite being on the outside of the playoff race looking in, Edmonton can surpass its 2022 win total with a victory in its home finale.

Watch live. Montreal Alouettes @ Edmonton Elks, Oct. 14, 22:00 CET (10 pm, 4 pm EDT)

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