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Week 12 Montreal At Winnipeg: Collaros & Fajardo Are Back!

If you would have asked me a month ago, I would have told you that the Bombers essentially had this one in the bag! Sure, they would have to come out and play for 60 minutes, but they would be able to make some mistakes and still come out on top. Now? My mind has changed.

If you saw the Montreal vs. Ottawa game last week you will have noticed a couple of things. First you will have seen that Alouettes’ quarterback Caleb Evans threw 2 interceptions and 2 touchdowns – not a great ratio, but they still won the game. Next you will have seen that Ottawa’s quarterback Dustin Crum threw for 0 touchdowns and 1 interception, and lost the game. At some points it seemed like neither team wanted to win. However, I guarantee you that will not be the case when the Alouettes come into Winnipeg!

What can we learn about Montreal from that game? We can learn that Montreal has found ways to win. They are now sitting at 6-3 having won 4 in a row. I will not break down who they have won against, because this year it does not seem to matter who has beat who. Winnipeg is going to have to play a good game to beat Montreal on Thursday night.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers Depth Chart

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ Facebook page features the picture below. While some might think that means Dru Brown is starting this week, it really means that he has embraced the club’s motto F.I.F.O.

Football fans, in particular Bomber fans, will be pleased to see that Zach Collaros is back in the starting quarterback position. On the flip side, Grant is still not back returning punts and kicks, and the Bombers will once again go with McCrea. I do not expect the Bombers to have great returns…but I hope I am wrong.

For the Bombers to be successful they will need to protect Collars – something they did not do well in the game against Edmonton which led to Collaros’ injury. As for Zach, it will be interesting to see if he continues to wait for receivers to become open (as he has admitted that at times he holds on to the ball too long) or if he is going to be a little more cautious. As for me, I think Zach plays his best football when he either stands in the pocket, even when pressure is coming, or rolls to the outside. I hope his injury is fully healed and he does not hear the footsteps of ghosts.

As noted, McCrea will be handling the return duties. While it would be great to see him have some massive returns, even more importantly is ball security. I am confident that the Bombers can make their way down the field, even without great station field position…but McCrea must secure the ball!

Montreal Depth Chart

On the other side of the field a similar story appears – Montreal will have their starting quarterback, Cody Fajardo back in the lineup.

For Montreal to win, they too will need to protect their quarterback. But that alone will not get the job done! What Montreal really needs to do – if they want to continue their winning ways – is stop Winnipeg’s run game. Montreal does have run stoppers in their defense, but will they be able to stop Oliveira – the leagues rushing leader – and runs sprinkled in for Demski? We will find out! If they can, they have a real chance of beating the Bombers, because without the run game the Bombers struggle.

Other Keys

The Bombers Find Ways To Win

Not all their wins have been pretty, some have been down right ugly – like last week’s win. Yet, I will stand by my comments that the Bombers are elite! After BC lost its game to Saskatchewan in Week 11, the Bombers are the top team – for now – in the CFL. I expect that BC should beat Hamilton this week, so Winnipeg will need a win against Montreal to stay lone wolfs in the top spot. However, regardless of what happens in the Bombers’ game or the Lions’ game, the Bombers still are an elite team!

What Fajardo Will We See?

This is a big question in my mind! Will we see the Fajardo that early on in his career seemed to torch the Bombers with his legs? Or will we see the Fajardo that a a propensity to hit the uprights and crossbar?

Photo Credit Sports Illustrated

Sure, Fajardo is wearing a different color jersey in this upcoming game, but you can guarantee that Bomber fans and players will remind him how he has faired against Winnipeg as of late.

How Does Montreal Win?

As mentioned earlier, pressure on Collaros, and stopping the run are paramount for Montreal to come out with a win. But I think they need to get lucky as well. Whether that is a Bomber defender tripping on a long pass; Winnipeg taking uncharacteristic penalties; Montreal cultivating turnovers; or bad officiating…Montreal is going to need some help.

How Does Winnipeg Win?

If the Bombers play their brand of football, they will come out with a win. The Bombers would love to be leading the whole game, but they have shown that they can come from behind. Speaking about what they have “shown” I will be looking for Dalton Schoen to have a big game and get back on top of the receivers’ leader board. I also think the Bombers – with Collaros at the helm – will go to Lawler early and often. Essentially, the Bombers win by playing clean football and by having over 30,000 fans make life a nightmare for Montreal!

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Don Cruickshank Reporter
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