Winnipeg – Second Place in the CFL West Division won’t be decided when the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and B.C. Lions complete their home and home series Friday at B.C. Place stadium. But the winner will definitely take the upper hand for the right to host the West semi-final. Both teams have 9 wins and 18 points but the Lions are technically in second spot because they have played one fewer game than the Bombers. That puts an extra emphasis on the Bombers to emerge victorious. If the Bombers win, they move two points up on the Lions and could clinch second spot by simply winning their final two games of the season, both of which are against Ottawa, regardless of what B.C. does. But if the Bombers come up short, they would need to win their final two games and hope that the Lions lose two of their last three.
The Bombers priority going into the game is to play better defensively. B.C. quarterback Jonathan Jennings passed for more than 400 yards and the Lions had over 500 yards of offence in Winnipeg’s 37-35 win at Investors Group Field last Saturday. Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea said “we gave up a couple more big plays than we should have, on special teams we didn’t corral Rainey as much as we are capable of. We will work hard to clean up those aspects of the game and at the same time play cleaner in terms of the penalty department and up the intensity in terms of the physicality.”
Lions receiver Bryan Burnham caught 9 passes for 208 yards in the game in Winnipeg. Containing Burnham and Manny Arcenaux is the challenge facing the Winnipeg defence. The return of Shawn Gore from injury only strengthens the B.C. receiving corps. The Bombers have also added to their receiving group as ex-Argo Tori Gurley will make his Winnipeg debut after just two practices with the club.
The Bombers are hoping that their dominance in the takeaway-giveaway category will continue. Winnipeg is a stunning plus 27 while the Lions are minus 4 in the critical turnover department. It’s unusual for a team that is minus 4 to have a 9-5 record but that’s a testament to the Lions explosive offence and their rock solid defence.
A major rainstorm is forecast for Vancouver this weekend. But the weather will have no impact on this critical matchup as the Bombers and Lions go at it in the climate controlled B.C. Place dome. We will have the game on 680-cjob starting at 7pm with a two-hour pre-game show.