The Winnipeg Blue Bombers begin what will certainly be a challenging, and also what could be a rewarding final third of their schedule when they play the first of back-to-back games versus East Division opponents on Saturday afternoon in Montreal.
Bob Irving, Doug Brown, and Ed Tait will set up the broadcast on the pregame show starting at 1 p.m. on 680 CJOB. (Insert shameless plug here for 7:30 p.m. broadcast of Winnipeg ICE home opener following the Bomber Post Game show.) But before all of that- here are your weekly prep notes from the Director of Digital content for Bluebombers.com
1. The Bombers are coming off their second of three bye weeks this season and, with a 9-3 record, remain in first place in the CFL’s West Division — two points up on the Calgary Stampeders and Saskatchewan Roughriders, both at 8-4. Winnipeg still has one game remaining against the Riders, in Regina on October 5th, and two more versus the Stamps, on Oct. 19 in Calgary and a week later here on Oct. 25. The Winnipeg-Saskatchewan season series is tied 1-1, while the Bombers are up 1-0 in their three-game set with Calgary.
2. This is the first meeting between the Bombers and Alouettes this season, with Montreal coming here on Oct. 12. Bomber Hall of Famer Khari Jones has done a superb job in leading the Als in his first stint as a head coach, and especially after being named to the position just a week before the start of the regular season, with GM Kavis Reed having been fired and the franchise still seeking new ownership. Oh, and one more thing: Antonio Pipkin was the Alouettes starting QB when the season opened, but was injured and replaced by Vernon Adams, Jr. and Jones has helped turn him into a dangerous threat as a passer and rusher. Adams, Jr. is fifth in the CFL in passing yardage and is tied for the CFL lead in rushing touchdowns with 10.
3. When we last saw the Bombers — and that would be in their thorough 35-10 beatdown of the Riders in the Banjo Bowl — they were significantly under-manned because of an assortment of injuries. The club will get some help back this week as running back Andrew Harris returns to the starting lineup after missing the last two games due to a suspension. Even after taking a seat for two weeks, Harris continues to lead the CFL in rushing with 908 yards.
There is also the hope that receivers Lucky Whitehead and Nic Demski could return, while a handful of other players in sick bay are closer to getting back on the field, including offensive lineman Pat Neufeld and defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat.
4. The Bombers are 2-1 since the injury to Matt Nichols and with Chris Streveler at quarterback. Streveler has always been a dangerous running threat in his two years in Winnipeg and this season his nine rushing TDs is second in the CFL and he leads all quarterbacks in rushing with 406 yards, seventh best in the league. His passing numbers have also improved in each of his three starts, from 89 to 161 to 180 yards.
5. This week’s juicy stat: the Bombers are 6-0 coming off bye weeks dating back to 2017: 1-0 this year, 3-0 last year and 2-0 in 2017.
Next: The next home game at IG Field is Friday, Sept. 27, 7:30 p.m., when the Hamilton Tiger-Cats are in town. That night Hall of Fame punter Bob Cameron will be added to the club’s Ring of Honour.
Fans seeking tickets should call 204-784-7448 or visit bluebombers.com/tickets.