In what could potentially be a preview of the Western Final, the Saskatchewan Roughriders take on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in Week 2 of the 2023 Canadian Football League (CFL) season. Both teams are coming off impressive victories in their opening games, and will look to keep the momentum going in this highly anticipated matchup.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers:
The Blue Bombers are led by quarterback Zach Collaros, who had a solid outing in Week 1, completing over 70% of his passes for 354 yards and three touchdowns. Collaros is aided by a dynamic backfield that features running back Brady Oliveira. Oliveira rushed for 113 yards and 1 touchdown last week against Hamilton.
In the receiving corps, the Blue Bombers have a trio of talented pass-catchers in Dalton Schoen, suspended Kenny Lawler, and Nic Demski. Schoen had a breakout type year last season scoring 16 touchdowns, while Lawler and Demski are both emerging stars in the league.
Defensively, Winnipeg is among the best in the CFL. Led by defensive end Willie Jefferson, who was named the league’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player in 2019, the Blue Bombers have a formidable pass rush that can disrupt opposing offenses. Linebacker Adam Bighill is another standout on the defensive side of the ball, and the secondary features rising star cornerback Deatrick Nichols.
The Roughriders are led by quarterback Trevor Harris who is a game-time decision to play after a vicious hit took place last week in Edmonton. Mason Fine is in line to play if Harris cannot go. In the receiving corps, the Roughriders boast a trio of talented pass-catchers in Jake Wieneke, Derel Walker, and Juwan Brescacin. Wieneke is a prototypical No. 1 receiver, while Walker is a former all-star receiver in the CFL. He is hoping to regain form in 2023.
On the defensive side of the ball, Saskatchewan is anchored by defensive lineman Pete Robertson, linebacker Larry Dean is another standout player on the Roughriders defense, while the secondary features lockdown cornerback Nick Marshall.
Saskatchewan QB Trevor Harris is a game-time decision for this game and may not play. Legendary WR Derel Walker is out. LB Derrick Moncrief is also listed as out and DB Nic Marshall has been downgraded to doubtful.
This game has the potential to be a high-scoring affair, with both teams boasting explosive offenses. However, the key matchup to watch will be between the two defenses, as both units are among the best in the CFL.
In the end, the outcome of this game could come down to which quarterback can make the most plays. While both Harris and Collaros are talented, I give the slight edge to Collaros, who has more weapons at his disposal and is more of a dual-threat quarterback.
Final Score Prediction: Winnipeg Blue Bombers 34, Saskatchewan Roughriders 30.
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