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Rick Zamperin: Tiger-Cats vs. Blue Bombers, a Grey Cup preview?

Hamilton Tiger Cats receiver Brandon Banks (16) celebrates his game-winning touch-down during second half CFL football game action against the Calgary Stampeders, in Hamilton, Ont., on Saturday, July 13, 2019.
Hamilton Tiger Cats receiver Brandon Banks (16) celebrates his game-winning touch-down during second half CFL football game action against the Calgary Stampeders, in Hamilton, Ont., on Saturday, July 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power

While we are just about to complete the first third of the Canadian Football League season you can’t help but wonder, the way things are playing out if we are going to be watching a preview of the 107th Grey Cup Friday night in Hamilton.

The 5-0 Winnipeg Blue Bombers have risen to power in the ultra-tough West Division while the 4-1 Hamilton Tiger-Cats have been menacing in all but one of their games so far this year.

When the two teams clash under the lights in Steeltown, each will have an opportunity to put the league on notice.

READ MORE: Tiger-Cats, Blue Bombers set for collision course at Tim Hortons Field

Head coach Mike O’Shea has guided the Blue Bombers to a brilliant start in 2019, not only winning on each occasion but doing so by an average margin of victory of nearly 18 points per game.

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The Ticats have scored more points (187) than every other team through their first five games of 2019 and are on pace to finish with the third-most points scored (673) in a single season in CFL history. The 1994 Calgary Stampeders hold the record with 698, an astonishing average of 38.7 points/game.

The Cats and Bombers also have stingy defences, phenomenal special teams units and are well-coached.

It’s Week 7, way too early to be anointing a Hamilton-Winnipeg matchup in the CFL final on November 24 at Calgary’s McMahon Stadium. So much can — and probably will — happen between now and when the snow starts flying around.

READ MORE: Ed Tait’s Five Things for the Blue Bombers showdown in Hamilton Friday night

But each team knows that a win Friday night will send a message throughout the league.

Winnipeg is on the verge of becoming the just the eighth team since 2000 to start a season 6-0, while Hamilton can prove their Week 4 loss in Montreal was a blip on the radar and show that by taking down the unbeaten Bombers they are a legitimate title contender.

Friday night’s game will have the feel of a title fight, almost exactly four months before the real thing.

Blue Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea chats with the media

RAW: Blue Bombers Mike O’Shea Media Briefing – July 24
RAW: Blue Bombers Mike O’Shea Media Briefing – July 24