I am not sure which comment is more controversial; that this is a must win game for Winnipeg or that this is not a guaranteed win for Winnipeg!
A Must Win Game
With four games remaining on the schedule, Winnipeg does not have to beat Toronto to lock up first place…but it would go a long way! You can find a more in depth breakdown of how Winnipeg can clinch first in the West right here.
Yet the reality remains that Toronto will be resting a contingent of their starters, just like I speculated they would a few days ago. As it stands, Toronto’s first string quarterback Chad Kelly was not taking first team reps at practice. Instead, Cameron Dukes is taking first team reps, and is listed as the starter. Combine that with the fact that Toronto’s running back Ouellette did not play last week it makes one believe that Toronto may rest a bunch of starters. That fact alone makes this a must win game for Winnipeg.
It should be noted that Ouellette is listed as a starter, but I would not be surprised in the least if he only played part of the game…Toronto has four running backs listed on their depth chart. While they may want to give Ouellette some touches, with Harris on the six game injured list they need Ouellette healthy! McMahon only had 43 yards on 12 carries last week vs. Hamilton, and Adeboboye only had 14 yards on 3 carries.
Winnipeg has struggled at times this year in games that they should have won. I get it, everyone shows up to play, they get paid too, blah, blah, blah. The reality is that good teams regularly win the games they should win. However, this year Winnipeg has left a question mark there. If the Bombers want to put the league on notice, their fans on notice, whoever they will face in the Western Semi Final/Final on notice, they better win this game decisively!
Should Winnipeg lose, or win a close one, other teams are really going to look at Winnipeg as beatable! Toronto will look at Winnipeg as completely beatable, if Winnipeg loses, and that is a bad thing considering these two team are favored to face off in the Grey Cup.
We should not forget that though he will not be playing, Andrew Harris will likely be on the sidelines. I really hope they honor him in some small way, but believe me the fans want to see his current team lose!
So while not for the standings, but for every other reason listed above, this is a must win game for Winnipeg!
Not A Guaranteed Win
However, make no mistake about it; no matter how many starters Toronto sits this is not a guaranteed win! Winnipeg has struggled beating new quarterbacks this year. Crum, beat the Bombers and then later Ottawa went on and dropped seven straight. Before Winnipeg’s bye week Hamilton and Powell beat the Bombers.
Bomber’s Depth Chart
Toronto Depth Chart
Some fans on social media, as early as Wednesday, we calling it a slap in the face that Toronto was resting their starters. However, let me throw a different slant at this…Bomber fans should love it! Do Bomber fans really care if two of the front runners for Most Outstanding Player (Collaros, and Kelly) face off this week; or do they want to see their team in the Grey Cup? Winnipeg needs to stack wins to win the ability to host the Western Final. Although there are no gimmes, Bombers fans should want the easiest path forward! We suffered for many years with futility.
Bomber fans should also remember that this game is the School Supply Drive game! If you are able to, bring some school supplies for some less fortunate kids…that will be a guaranteed win!
Will the Bombers play down to their opponent (Toronto is a good team but they will be resting starters) or will Winnipeg use this as a revenge game for last year’s Grey Cup?
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