The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are going to face their biggest challenge when they roll in to BC Place to take on the 3-0 Lions.
Yes the Bombers are 4-0, but they have played Ottawa twice, the Tiger-Cats once, and the Argonauts once. Combined those teams are an abysmal 1-14. Look, you play who you play. However, the Bombers’ have not run away with any of those games. So far this season the Bombers have scored a combined 87 points. Conversely they have allowed 63 points.
The BC Lions on the other hand are 3-0. They too have not played any great teams. In the season so far they have faced Edmonton, Toronto, and Ottawa. Combined those teams are 2-10. Yet when you look at BC’s points for and against they have scored a screaming 137 point and only allowed 49 points!
This is going to be the toughest game for Winnipeg so far, and some would argue the same will be true for BC.
For a second straight week Winnipeg is likely to see a large amount of run plays. BC has two rushers in the top five so far with James Butler and quarterback Nathan Rourke. Butler has accumulated 210 yards in three games and Rourke has 180 yards.
If Butler keeps playing like he has, and Winnipeg struggles to stop the run game like they did in Toronto, then Butler will be greeting the Winnipeg’s secondary often and keeping the fans entertained. If this were a game of Clue and I had to make a guess on my first turn, I would say the Butler did it, in the A-gap, with the pigskin. My second guess would be Rourke did it around the outside with his legs.
Winnipeg will be coming into this game on a short week. Having played in Toronto on Monday, Winnipeg flew back home and had one practice. Personally, I think Winnipeg should have flown straight to BC and got used to the time change. However, Coach O’Shea says the team is ready.
Head here for all the coach’s interviews.
Winnipeg is going to be without some more of its players on this short week.
Kyrie Wilson suffered an achilles injury in Toronto and will be replaced by Clements. When Clements came into the game he did register 6 defensive tackles, 1 special teams tackle, and 1 quarterback sack. This will be another chance for Clements to prove his worth as Wilson was moved to the six-game list.
Things will not get any easier for Winnipeg’s offence. Nic Demski is still on the shelf, and boy is he missed. Winnipeg tried to get production out of the swing pass in Toronto, but that is a play that Demski executes well. Apparently, he is the only one on the Bombers that can complete that play.
Winnipeg’s offence has showed glimmers of hope this year, opening an earlier game with a downfield strike to Ellingson. Ellingson is Winnipeg’s leading receiver with 268 yards, and fifth in the league in reception yards. The next time a Winnipeg receiver shows up on the CFL leading receivers list is Dalton Schoen in fourteenth place with 215 yards. You will not see another Bomber on that list until you scroll way down to twenty-fifth place and find Rasheed Bailey with 144 yards.
It is the inconsistency that has hindered Winnipeg from putting teams to bed like they did in 2021.
You can head here for the Bombers 48 Hour Primer.
If the Bombers do not get their offence going the Lions are going to feast on Winnipeg and get the lion’s share of the points.
Fan’s 3 Keys To The Game
Here is what Sarah Said with The Parleh has to say about the matchup.
The Bombers trail the Lions in almost every statistical category.
Be that as it may, I would not be too quick to count the Bombers out. They just seem to find ways to win. However, this game is going to be revealing for both teams. Up until now both teams have played far weaker opponents. In this game we are going to find out who the Bombers really are, and who the Lions really are. With Calgary decimating Edmonton this week, 49-6, the Bombers need to win to stay in the top spot. *I predict that Lucky Whithead is going to have a big game receiving, against his old club. He has 237 yards on the season, and if he plays all game I think he gets another 80 yards.
I believe Lucky will be serving it up down-field like on the plane. Flawless.
*I predict Rourke throws for over 400 yards. This Bomber team has shown that it is susceptible to big plays.
*I predict Butler runs for over 125 yards (add that to what Rourke throws for and the yards are racking up).
*I predict the Bomber’s run game is slightly better – at some point they have to try something new instead of trying to perfect what is not working. Practice does not make perfect. Practice makes permanent, and right now this poor running game better not stay permanent.
*I predict Collaros is going to throw for just over 300 yards.
*I predict that the Bomber defence is going to step up once again with pressure, picks, and forced fumbles.
*I predict Rourke will put up impressive numbers but it will be one of those games where the numbers do not transpire to the desired result.
*I predict (however unlikely it seems) a Bomber win. Absurd you say? Until the Bombers prove me wrong, be like Journey and don’t stop believin’.
Am I correct?
We will find out Saturday night, BC Place . Action begins at 6:00pm Manitoba time, on TSN and ESPN.
What did I get right? What did I get wrong? Let me know in the comments.
Written by a Bomber fan, for the Bomber fans
Follow me on Twitter @DonCruickshank1
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