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Winnipeg Blue Bombers At Calgary Stampeders: Week 8 Preview And Predictions

The 7-0 Bombers roll into the 4-1 Calgary Stampeders – after having what I believe was Winnipeg’s worst game of the season. But do not call them lucky for beating the Elks in Week 7, I do not want to hear any of that.

In Week 6 the Bombers beat the Stampeders 26-19 in a game where it was a calamity of errors.

Those that are Calgary fans will point to that other game against Winnipeg and say, ‘Calgary will not play that bad again.’ They also might look at Winnipeg’s game in Week 7 and say, ‘Winnipeg definitely looks beatable’” Does anyone else see an error in that logic? I do. Calgary fans cannot assume that their team will play better yet Winnipeg will not. Lets all agree on one thing, neither the Bombers nor the Stampeders are going to play as bad as they did in their last game.

History

With Dave Dickenson as the Head Coach, Calgary has won 12/14 games coming off their bye week. However, neither in 2019 nor in 2021 did they play the Bombers right after a bye week. Therefore, we know that Calgary comes out of a bye week prepared. However, they have not come out of a bye week and faced the best team in the CFL over the last two seasons.

It makes sense why Calgary comes out of the bye weeks prepared. A Dave Dickenson team is a well-coached team. They can use the bye week to look at their opponent’s game the week before. However, if that is Calgary’s strategy they are not going to glean much insight from watching Winnipeg’s Week 7 game against the Elks. About the only thing they are going to learn is that Winnipeg is a really good team that can win even when they have a pretty bad game.

Here is the recap to their last matchup in Week 6.

Looking Forward

At this point it looks like the Bombers will square off against the Stampeders on Saturday night. While there was no official questioning of the game going ahead, it was reported that a number of Calgary players were out with illness. That illness was later reported to be COVID and pneumonia. Charlie Moore currently the only player listed with “illness” who was not back – as of Thursday.

One health question does remain amongst the Calgary receivers; have they got over the case of the dropsies that was plaguing them two weeks ago.

Here are the expected line ups from both teams:

The Bombers do have some injuries, but they have positioned themselves well heading into the last 2/3 of the season. They will get some later season byes to get healthy where as Calgary has already had two bye weeks.

Where The Bombers Need To Improve

If the Bombers are going to again go 1-0 this week (the Bombers’ mantra “We are just trying to go 1-0 this week) there are a couple areas they are going to need to improve upon.

*Stop the run

In the last meeting Ka’Deem Carey had 12 carries for 110 yards. You know the Stampeders are going to give him a lot of work, and unlike last time if the Stampeders get close to scoring I fully expect they will hand it off until they score. Carey will carry the mail.

*Limit explosion plays

The Bombers have shown that a chink in their armor is explosions plays. In the CFL a big play is one that is 30 or more yards. But we do not have to get that technical. Just go with the eyeball test. The Bombers need to limit plays were Winnipeg fans that are watching live or on television go, “Oh no!”

*Run the ball effectively

If you have been watching the Bombers this season you know that they are not abandoning the run. Yell and scream at your television or from your seat in the stands all you want – I know you have – but they are not going to give up on the run. Last time against the Stampeders they ran the ball super ineffectively. They are going to need to be more effective in the run game to keep Collaros clean. In Week 6 Calgary had 4 sacks on the Bombers; Titus Wall with 2, Mike Rose with 1, and Florian Orimolade with 1.

400

Yah, that’s the number that Calgary is looking at. Should they win on Saturday against the Bombers they will be the first CFL team with 400 home wins. Since 2016 Calgary is 65-21 and Winnipeg is 62-24. The Bombers are going to try and make Calgary wait a bit for that record because if Winnipeg wins this game they have the season series versus Calgary.

Here’s how the teams stack up on paper.

Fan’s 3 Keys To The Game by Richard Allan Wilson @RichardAllanWi2

1. Richie Hall Defense. Bend but don’t break. Doesn’t matter how many yards gained. Opposition can’t score from 20-25 yard line. Play like Ironmen. Play 70% or more and make clutch plays 4th quarter.

2. Running game. Bombers may not have one. Oliveira averages 3.44 yards a carry. Augustine averages 4.6 yds. May be the only team that passes to set up the run. Running keeps other teams honest.

3. Zach Collaros. Cannot say enough about his ability to extend plays. Has escapability factor. Moves in backfield to find receivers. At last possible instant releases the ball to find a Bomber receiver playing back to the quarterback. Big gains, small gains. Many drives extended by finding open targets. Dalton Schoen or Greg Ellingson recipients of many of the footballs.

Predictions

*Ka’Deem Carey gets less than 60 yards rushing.

I know he won’t agree with me, based on this Tweet, but he also does not know that I again picked him in fantasy. I suck at fantasy football. So I am giving him my fantasy jinx!

*Bo Levi Mitchell throws for just over 300 yards.

*Bo Levi Mitchell gets sacked 3 times.

*Collaros throws for 385 yards.

*The Bombers’ run game gets going.

*Demski makes an immediate impact and also opens up other receivers.

*The Bombers’ defence plays the way we expect them to play – making huge stops at critical times. Jefferson says that is is not done yet, and that is scary!

*The Bombers saddle up and ride out of Calgary 8-0.

It should be a great tilt in Cow Town on Saturday night! So whether you are at home, at the cabin, or out camping, make sure to find the action on TSN, CJOB, or ESPN2. Kickoff at 5:00pm MT/ 6:00PM CT/ 5:00PM ET.

For your post game show I would suggest heading over to Bonfire Sports and get in on the live chat!

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

Written by a Bomber fan, for the Bomber fans.

Follow me on Twitter @DonCruickshank1

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