The second half of the 2019 CFL season begins on Friday night for the Edmonton Eskimos, who are chasing down first place in the Western Division.
The Eskimos will have the chance to pull even with the first place Winnipeg Blue Bombers as the two teams meet on The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium.
It’s the second meeting of the season between the two teams who played back on June 27 in Winnipeg. The Eskimos fell 28-21 to the Bombers, setting up Friday’s match-up.
If the Eskimos win, they will pull into a first-place tie with the Bombers (7-2). If the Eskimos (6-3) win the game by eight points or more, they will capture the season series and own a key tiebreaker.
Receiver Natey Adjei says Friday’s game gives the Eskimos a chance to remove the bad taste in their mouths stemming from their loss to the Bombers in late June.
“We looked at that game a lot and it hurt so bad because we stopped ourselves,” Adjei said.
“If we just keyed in on our details we would have been fine and we would have won that game by a landslide. It’s football and they get paid too and we feel like if we do similar things like we did last week in Toronto we will be fine.”
Listen below: Eskimos head coach Jason Maas says this week’s game vs. the Bombers has a different meaning
The Eskimos offence exploded last week in Toronto in a 41-26 win over the Argonauts at BMO Field.
The Eskimos scored touchdowns on their first three possessions and on five of seven trips to the red zone. The Eskimos recorded 11:43 of time of possession in the fourth quarter. Trevor Harris threw for 420 yards passing and three touchdowns while recording two rushing touchdowns.
The defence, despite giving up their second-highest point of the season as 26, continued their torrid pace to the opposing quarterback. The defence recorded four sacks and now has 30 sacks on the season to the lead the CFL.
Listen below: Eskimos defensive coordinator Phillip Lolley says offences are starting to adjust to his defence and he has to make some tweaks
The Eskimos will have fullback Calvin McCarty back in the lineup after missing the last two games with a lower-body injury.
Linebacker Blair Smith returns after missing the last six games because of injury.
Offensive lineman Tommie Draheim has been placed on the team’s six-game injured list after leaving last week’s game in Toronto with an upper-body injury.
Rookie Kyle Saxelid will make his third start of the season and first at left tackle. Also coming on the active roster are offensive linemen Kwabena Asare and Eric Lofton, along with defensive back Brian Walker.
Defensive backs Tyquwan Glass, Scott Hutter and Bryce Bartlett, along with fullback Peter Cender move back to the practice roster.
The following are the projected offensive and defensive starters for the Eskimos:
Quarterback: Trevor Harris
Running Back: C.J. Gable (Fullback: Calvin McCarty)
Offensive Line: Kyle Saxelid, Jacob Ruby, David Beard, Travis Bond, Colin Kelly
Receivers: DaVaris Daniels Ricky Collins Jr., Natey Adjei, Greg Ellingson, Tevaun Smith
Defensive Line: Kwaku Boateng, Almondo Sewell, Mike Moore, Nick Usher
Linebackers: Vontae Diggs, Larry Dean, Don Unamba
Defensive Backs: Anthony Orange, Money Hunter, Jordan Hoover, Josh Johnson, Arjen Colquhoun
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers suffered a major blow last week in their 32-16 win over the B.C. Lions. Quarterback Matt Nichols has been placed on the six-game injured list with a shoulder injury. Nichols is expected to miss four to six weeks of action.
Backup Chris Streveler will enter the game, making his fifth career CFL start and third against the Eskimos. Streveler has thrown one touchdown pass and three interceptions in 16 pass attempts this season to go with one rushing touchdown. Last season, Streveler threw for 11 touchdowns passes and 10 rushing touchdowns. Overall he has a 1-3 record as a starter.
You can hear Friday’s game between the Eskimos and Bombers on 630 CHED starting with Countdown to Kick-off at 5 p.m.
The opening kick-off on The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium is at 5:30 p.m. with Morley Scott and Dave Campbell calling all of the live action. Plus, hear analysis from former Eskimos offensive lineman and two-time Grey Cup champion Blake Dermott. Brendan Escott will be reporting from the Eskimos sidelines.