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Bombers vs Stampeders: CFL Week 12 Preview & Predictions

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers look to get back to their winning ways after the bye week.

After getting some much needed rest the 9-1 Winnipeg Blue Bombers are set to host the 6-3 Calgary Stampeders on Thursday August 25 at IG Field, kicking off Week 12 in the CFL. The Bombers could have been 10-0 heading into the bye week, but lost at home to Montreal by a score of 20-17. You can read more about that here.

With respect to the bye week Bomber Head Coach Mike O’Shea said, “I just hope they had some fun and they got what they needed.”

If you are wondering what the Bomber players did in their bye week, you can find out right here.

In their outing last week the Stampeders did not look terribly sharp against the Toronto Argonauts. Yes they beat Toronto 22-19 but it was not a pretty win. In fact, Bo Levi Mitchell was eventually pulled from the game and replaced by Jake Maier. Bo looked completely out of sorts in that game completing 9/16 passes with no touchdowns and throwing 2 Interceptions. For his part, Calgary’s backup quarterback Jake Maier would complete 14/18 passes, throw no touchdowns, but would throw 1 interception.

Logan Payton was the only player for Calgary’s offence to score a touchdown on a 29 yard run in the second quarter. Bouka would add another touchdown for Calgary when he ran back his interception 62 yards to the house.

The busiest guy for the Calgary Stampeders was kicker Rene Paredes who went 3/3 on field goals.

So what can Winnipeg expect when they meet for a third time with Calgary?

Quarterback Question:

Winnipeg had to prepare most of the week not knowing which quarterback is going to start the game for Calgary. While the coaching staff will tell you the team prepares the same way, regardless who is at quarterback, sometimes it changes how you get ready for the game. However, in this situation, I do not think it would change how Winnipeg approaches the game. Jake Maier has shown that he can run the complete playbook that Calgary has.

Late on Wednesday it was confirmed by Calgary’s head coach that Jake Maier would be starting.

How They Matchup:

I thought it would be interesting to look back at how these teams matched up in Week 8 vs how they matchup in Week 12.

I will not go through all the numbers, you can see them below. I will make this general observation: while Winnipeg has stayed fairly consistent, they have improved in areas they needed to improve on more than Calgary has. Winnipeg has dropped off in some areas, but overall their drop offs are less significant than Calgary’s.

Depth Charts:

Calgary Stampeders

Let me first say that I do not like the way that Calgary puts out their depth charts – not very easy to screen capture, so I added the Twitter link.

Of great notice is that Jake Maier will be the starting quarterback for Calgary. But do not think that makes things easier for the Bombers. Maier has shown that he can make all the throws, and he gets the ball out quickly! Maier almost led Calgary to a win over Winnipeg last year, but they lost when Rene Paredes missed a game winning field goal – which is super rare for Paredes. In fact that game was a late August game also played in Winnipeg – August 29 to be exact – and the Bombers won 18 – 16.

The stampeders will also be without Wall and Philpot.

Wall is a big loss for Calgary as he has recorded 2 special teams tackles, 3 interceptions, and 2 quarterback sacks on the season. The Bombers’ run game should benefit from Wall being out.

Jalen Philpot is another big loss for Calgary. On the season he has recorded 9 receptions for 95 yards and 1 touchdown. While those numbers do not jump off the page, Philpot is a good receiver and will be a great receiver in the future. He is looking for a break-out game, but the Bombers will not have to worry about him on Thursday. He is also a well abled returner averaging 28.9 yards per return. This all-purpose player is also used in the backfield and has averaged 6 yards per carry. However, Ka’Deem Carey does draw back into the lineup. In Week 8 Carey torched the Bombers on the ground for 92 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers will also be missing some weapons on Thursday night. Notably, Janarion Grant, and Greg Ellingson will not be in action on Thursday night. Grant has been placed on the 1-Game Injured List, and Ellingson – after getting injured in practice earlier this week – has moved to the 6-Game Injured List.

You can find the Bombers’ complete injured list here.

Needed Improvements:

Run Game

Earlier this season it was like the Bomber’s run game was part of a magician’s disappearing act…poof, it is gone! However, in the last four games, Winnipeg’s ground game came alive. Do not forget that it was the game back in Week 8 vs Calgary that really sparked Winnipeg’s ground attack. In that game Oliveira rushed for 110 yards! Winnipeg will need more of that if they are going to defeat the Stampeders for a third time this season.

Kicking

Certainly the Bombers will need to see great improvement in the kicking department. I do not want to open up any old wounds, and in fact I said that I fully expect Liegghio will be better than he was in Week 10.

However, if Liegghio does struggle you know the kicking conversation from fans will be back on…especially since Lirim Hajrullahu was waived from the Dallas Cowboys.

O-line

In the Bombers’ last two games before the bye week – both games being against Montreal – the Bombers’ offensive line looked like swiss cheese and Zach Collaros was running for his life. In Week 10 Zach was sacked a staggering 5 times, and it would have been 6 times if he had not tossed the ball away while being tackled.

Predictions:

*I predict that the Calgary quarterback that starts the game will not be the Calgary quarterback that ends the game – and I hope that is not due to injury!

*I predict that the Bombers do a better job stopping Calgary’s run game limiting the team to under 80 yards rushing!

*I predict that Zach throws for over 400 yards – Calgary has given up the most receiving yards in the CFL this season!

*I predict that Oliveira rushes for over 100 yards!

*I predict that the Bombers have a hard time getting to Jake Maier, but do to incompletions, knockdowns, and interceptions that Maier is pulled in the 3rd quarter and Bo Levi Mitchell sees some action.

*Finally, I predict that IG Field will be rocking – as over 27,500 tickets have been sold – and the Bombers treat their fans to another win at IG Field!

Fan’s 3 Keys To The Game:

Grant Hoe brings this week’s Fan’s 3 Keys To The Game. Check in the comment section as Ryan Friesen also provided his 3 Keys.

You could do one for the next game! This is your invitation right here. Video, 2:20 minutes or less – hey it could be 30 seconds. Put it up on YouTube. Mention me, and I will grab it and put it in the article for the game it pertains to.

If you do not have Twitter and you are reading this on Facebook. Send the video to me in Messenger.

I am sure all of you have 3 things the Bombers could do each game to win.

If I have 2 in an article, no big deal!

If I get 10, I’d make a tweet thread and use them all!

Bonfire Sports 3 Keys To The Game:

I have to give a huge shout out to Zach Schnitzer and Darrin Bauming for answering a call! Earlier in the week it looked like I might be lacking a Fan’s 3 Keys To The Game and I put out an open invite. Zach and Darrin stepped up big time and did a 3 Keys To The Game on their Bonfire MidWeek show!

I highly recommend watching Bonfire Sports weekly shows, and after the game check out their live postgame show GameDay After Dark! They provide an excellent commentary on the game and the live chat is always on fire! Find all their social links here.

What did I get right? What did you disagree with? Let me know in the comments.

Find all my articles here.

Written by a Bomber fan, for the Bomber fans.

Follow me on Twitter @DonCruickshank1

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