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Sooner or later, the Edmonton Elks are going to win a home game. The Toronto Argonauts would rather it be later.

The Elks (4-12) enter Saturday’s game with the East-leading Argos (9-6) on a CFL-record 15-game home losing streak. Visiting teams don’t want to be the squad that allows Edmonton to break its miserable run at Commonwealth Stadium.

“It’s about not getting ahead of your toes,” said Argos quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson, who threw for 352 yards in last week’s 23-20 win over B.C. “Being in that play, in that moment. The hard part is that they’ve got nothing to lose. They’re all playing for their jobs. Professional football is not an easy sport there’s no fear in them.

“We’ve got to not make it about them and definitely make it about us.”

Toronto would clinch first place in the division if Ottawa upsets Montreal on Friday night and the Argonauts beat the Elks.

“They’re not going to audition a bunch of players, they want to win this one,” said Argos head coach Ryan Dinwiddie. “We all know about their home streak. They want to win this game.”

Adding to the spice of this game is the fact that Elks general manager and head coach Chris Jones served as defensive co-ordinator for the Argos in 2021.

Jones, despite the Elks’ struggles this year, is known to create some unique defensive looks. He may also have some additional insight into the Argos, even though nearly a season has passed since he returned to Edmonton.

“I know Chris, he’s an aggressive guy, he’s going to mix it up, he’s going to go off our tendencies,” said Dinwiddie. “We have to call some more runs on second downs and whatnot. We have to mix it up.”

The Elks are out of the playoff race, but Jones said he wants to instill a different sort of environment with this team than what one might normally see when a club is eliminated from post-season contention.

“I told them as I pulled them up there that I am sure that there are other teams in the past that have handled this a little bit differently than how we’ve approached it,” Jones said. “And they [the players] have done a real nice job of studying film, you see them here early, you see them here late, you see how hard they practised today and I’m proud of the effort.”

Elks receiver Manny Arceneaux is expected to return this week after missing six weeks with an ankle injury. He has 456 receiving yards in 10 games this season.

“It’s hard to replace Manny,” Jones said of the 10-year CFL veteran. “He was a very productive part of what we were doing mid-season.”

The Elks lost Kenny Lawler, the CFL’s leading receiver from 2021, with a season-ending shoulder injury so getting Arceneaux back gives quarterback Taylor Cornelius another needed target in the slot.

“I’d be lying if I said I knew for a fact that I would suit up again in 2022. I don’t take anything for granted,” Arceneaux said. “I’m just looking to go out there and have fun, make plays.”

Meanwhile, the Argos will be without dynamic wide receiver and kick returner Brandon Banks. The team said he will be out due to personal reasons.

The Elks-Argos game is part of a football doubleheader at Commonwealth Stadium. Before the CFL players take the field, the University of Alberta will meet its fiercest rival, the University of Calgary Dinos.

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