The BC Lions visit Winnipeg Thursday. It’s a rematch of the 2022 West Division Final and arguably the best 2 teams in the league. IG Field is going to be rocking in Winnipeg as these 2 titans of the West clash.
BC Lions (2-0): The BC Lions are coming off another impressive defensive performance in which they allowed only 98 passing yards against Edmonton and held them to 0 points scored. The offense is also working well as Vernon Adams is the only quarterback in the league to throw for over 300 yards each game he has played in.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers (2-0): The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are coming off a thrilling victory on the road against Saskatchewan. There was a combined 706 passing yards between Trevor Harris and Zach Collaros who both were in the top 2 for passing efficiency in week 2. Winnipeg’s defense allowed 413 passing yards but did limit Saskatchewan to 21 rushing yards from their running backs.
Date/Location: Thursday, June 22 / IG Field, Winnipeg, MB
Kickoff Time: 8:30 PM ET, 5:30 PM PT
Channel: TSN (Canada), CFL+(USA, International)
Spread: BC +6.5 (-110), Winnipeg -6.5 (-110)
Moneyline: BC +210, Winnipeg -250
Over/Under: 49.5 (Over -105, Under -115)
BC Lions @ Winnipeg Blue Bombers Breakdown
Vernon Adams has filled in well for BC at quarterback following the departure of Nathan Rourke. Adams is 2nd in passing yards with 624 trailing only Winnipeg’s Zach Collaros who has 647. Adams is third in QBR among starting quarterbacks as he has thrown 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions and has also picked up a rushing touchdown. For Winnipeg, Collaros leads the league among starting quarterbacks and has thrown 5 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, and also has a rushing touchdown.
BC Lions’ rookie running back, Taquan Mizzell, leads the league in rushing yards with 174 and has a very impressive 5.8 yards per carry. Thursday will be a tough matchup as Winnipeg is coming off a very good run-stopping performance against Saskatchewan. Winnipeg’s runningback, Brady Oliveira, is second in rushing yards but is listed as doubtful for the game. If he is unable to go Johnny Augustine will get the start for Winnipeg who is very good and making defenders miss.
Winnipeg receiver, Dalton Schoen is listed as questionable coming off a 146-yard day against Saskatchewan. Winnipeg’s receiver room is already without Kenny Lawler who is dealing with an immigration issue. If Schoen is unable to go Winnipeg will lean heavily on other talented receivers such as Nic Demski, Drew Walitarsky, Rasheed Bailey, and Carlton Agudosi.
BC’s pass defense has been the best so far this season and will face its toughest test so far going against Winnipeg. BC had three defensive players recognized by Pro Football Focus on the Week 2 Team of the Weak in LB Bo Lokombo, LB Ben Hladik, and HB Emmanuel Rugamba. Winnipeg also had a defensive player listed on the team of the week in DE Celestin Haba who began filling in for an injured Jackson Jeffcoat.
Winnipeg’s pass defense is also very good and was tied last year with BC in the fewest passing yards allowed. Winnipeg is also the only team to have 2 players with 2 sacks on the season so far in Celestin Haba and Willie Jefferson.
At offensive line 4 of the 5 players named to the PFF Team of the Week were from these 2 teams with LT Jarell Broxton and RG Sukh Chung named from BC and C Chris Kolankowski and RT Jemarcus Hardrick named from Winnipeg.
Winnipeg vs BC is a heavyweight fight and a must-watch matchup.
BC Players to Watch:
#13 Alexander Hollins WR
Has stepped into a bigger role as there have at times been injuries to all three of BC’s receivers who had 1,000 yards last year now. Hollins is 9th in the league in receiving yards with 138 yards on 11 catches.
#18 Justin McInnis WR
McInnis had the most targets and yards for BC last week catching 4 of 8 targets for 79 yards.
#86Jevon Cottoy WR
Caught 5 of his 5 targets last week for 54 yards. Even had a forced fumble getting the ball back for BC following an interception.
#90 Mathieu Betts DE
Is one of 4 CFL defensive players with 2 sacks on the season so far. Had 1 sack and 4 tackles last week.
#47 Sione Teuhema DE
He did not record any stats against Edmonton last week but was a big contributor to the nightmare Edmonton experienced. Teuhema played a major role in the frequency in which Taylor Cornelius was pressured often having to get rid of the ball within 3 seconds of the snap.
#20 Bo Lokombo
Was all over the place against Edmonton and led the team in tackles with 7.
BC Lions Injury Report/Game Status:
Dominique Rhymes who has the third most receiving yards is ruled out with a foot injury.
Lucky Whitehead missed the last game with a hamstring injury and was a full participant in practice this week.
I could really see this game going either way. Both teams have been performing so well on both sides of the ball. I do predict Winnipeg to win this game for a few different reasons.
- BC’s defense played incredible last week yet the offense was only able to score 1 touchdown despite the defense going out and constantly getting the ball back for them.
- Dominique Rhymes is out. He accounted for 172 of the 624 receiving yards for BC thus far. That’s a huge loss.
- Winnipeg just finds a way to win. They have only lost 6 games in the last 3 seasons including this one and 2 of those losses in games late in the season that did not have implications on the standings.
I predict Winnipeg to win by a score of 27-19.
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Stay tuned for my updated running back and wide receiver rankings!
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