Preview: Alouettes battle Lions in B.C. on Sunday

Date: Sunday, July 9th at 7:00 p.m. ET
Watch: TSN, RDS
Listen: TSN 690, 98.5FM

Alouettes (2-1) vs. BC Lions (3-1)

Passing yards hard to come by:

The Alouettes and Lions will head into this week with the first and second ranked pass defences in the CFL. The Lions are only allowing 182.8 passing yards per game, which is the best in the league, while the Alouettes, who allow 233 passing yards per game, are second in that category.

As you’d imagine, these two teams have found a way to limit the number of completions against. The Als head into this game allowing just 55.7 percent of the opposition’s pass attempts to be completed, which is the best mark in the CFL. B.C. is third in that category at 62 percent.

“I believe it’s just the camaraderie that’s building,” linebacker Tyrice Beverette said when asked about the defence’s success this season. “Nobody is bigger than the team and we all play together. Everybody is willing to do their job. That’s the most important thing about this team. We don’t have any egos on this defence.”

The Alouettes are one of three teams in the league that have a positive turnover ratio. Their plus-6 turnover margin is second in the CFL behind the Toronto Argonauts (+9), who managed to intercept Lions quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. six times last week.

Explosive plays on offence:

The Als offence didn’t score a touchdown against Winnipeg last week, but they’re still first in passing plays of 30 yards or more (9). That’s impressive considering they have already had a bye week in 2023. Most of those plays have come on Cody Fajardo passes to Austin Mack and Kaion Julien-Grant.

The changes made at the receiver position during the off-season allowed the coaching staff to change their approach offensively. With a speedier receiving corps, the Als can stretch the field a little more regularly.

“Going into the season, we knew we were going to have younger receivers,” offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Anthony Calvillo explained. “We also knew we had explosive receivers. A lot of the defences are focused on taking away (William Stanback) and it’s been opening up opportunities to go down field. Cody (Fajardo) has been doing an amazing job of getting the ball down field and the receivers have been coming up with great catches.”

The Lions defence is stingy, so this should be an intriguing matchup.

Protecting the QB:

A lot has been made of the fact that the Alouettes have given up 15 sacks through three games. The Lions are tied for first in the CFL in sacks, with 14. This will be a good test for Als offence.

“We always look at the sacks we allow, but there’s a lot that goes into a sack,” veteran guard Kristian Matte said. “Sometimes it’s a coverage sack, sometimes we didn’t block someone, or we didn’t identify the right person to block…We need to focus on the details of the game. We, as offensive lineman, have to do the right things…we have to look at where the pressure is coming from.”

Lineup notes:

The Alouettes defence will get some reinforcements heading into this game. Middle linebacker Avery Williams will be back after missing one game with an upper-body injury. Defensive back Dionte Ruffin (lower body) will also return after a one-game absence.

Two receivers will be making their first CFL starts, as Quartney Davis and Tyler Snead will draw into the lineup.

Left guard Pier-Olivier Lestage will return to the starting lineup. He missed the last game due to injury.