The old saying in the football business is the biggest game for a team during a season is the next game. Look at the calendar and the Edmonton Eskimos next game is Friday night at home against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and it brings with it a lot of hype.
The Eskimos are in second place in the Western Division. The Bombers have a 7-2 record and have a two-point edge on the Eskimos for first place.
For Esks head coach Jason Maas, Friday is only one game, but he admits this game has some extra element of excitement to it.
“We talk about it every week and each week is different but it’s still the same focus which is 1 and 0,” Maas said. “It happens to be Winnipeg, they’re hot, leading the West, and we’re right behind them.
“It’s going to be a great matchup and I told our guys to be excited about the week. Be happy that we’re playing in a big game like this. We both earned it so now it’s about going out and seeing who’s the best.”
It will be the second meeting of the season between the two teams. The Bombers won the first meeting 28-21 on June 27 in Winnipeg. The Eskimos dominated the game in net yards (440-270), passing yards (345-200), first downs (29-14), offensive plays (77-41) and time of possession (36:20-23:40). Despite that, the Eskimos didn’t score a single touchdown, settled for seven field goals and the defence, despite holding the Bombers in check in most offensive categories, surrendered four touchdowns.
WATCH BELOW: Recent Global News coverage of the Edmonton Eskimos
Receiver Greg Ellingson says he’s looking forward to getting another crack at the Bombers.
“They take care of the ball, they’re sound, and a disciplined team,” Ellingson said. “We felt like we let one get away by making mistakes on our part and we just feel like if we don’t make those mistakes. We’re at home now and we have our crowd behind us that’s a good recipe to come out here and have a successful day against them.”
LISTEN BELOW: Eskimos receiver Greg Ellingson talk about the offence answering the challenge of Jason Maas to finish drives with TD’s vs. the Argos last Friday
To take the season-series against the Bombers, the Eskimos have to win by eight points or more. The Bombers won’t have quarterback Matt Nichols under centre for Friday’s game and for the next four-to-six weeks because of an shoulder injury suffered in last week’s win over the B.C. Lions.
That means Chris Streveler will start at quarterback and the Eskimos have had the fortune of facing him in two of his four career starts in the CFL. Against the Eskimos, Streveler has passed for 378 yards, throwing four touchdown passes and two interceptions and adding a rushing touchdown.
Eskimos safety Jordan Hoover says Streveler brings some different tools to the table compared to Nichols.
“Different quarterback type than Nichols obviously,” Hoover said. “I would say a little bit more run heavy so we got to have eyes for special packages and little keys. We’ve been watching film of him from last year and we know he likes to run the ball and when he does he runs downhill and he’s going to hit you. We have to hit him and be the hammer and not the nail.”
LISTEN BELOW: Eskimos safety Jordan Hoover on facing Bombers quarterback Chris Streveler again for a third time in the last season-and-a-half
Offensive lineman Tommie Draheim wasn’t at practice on Monday after leaving Friday’s game early. He was replaced at left tackle by Kyle Saxelid.
Offensive lineman Matt O’Donnell made his first appearance on field on Monday after suffering a knee injury on July 11 in Vancouver. O’Donnell has one-game remaining on the six-game injured list.
Friday’s night’s game on The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium is at 7 p.m. 630 CHED will have live coverage starting with Countdown to Kick-off at 5:30 p.m.