5 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW
Following a two week break, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers will look to advance to their second consecutive CFL Western Final with a win in Calgary on Sunday Afternoon.
680 CJOB’s Bob Irving and Ed Tait will “bundle up” to bring you the broadcast starting at 1 p.m. from McMahon Stadium with a two-and-a-half hour pregame show, leading up to the 3:30 p.m. kickoff Winnipeg time.
And without further adieu, here are some “need to know” topics of discussion surrounding this game, courtesy of the Director of Digital Content of Bluebombers.com.
1. The Bombers and Stamps meet for the third time in four weeks and for the second consecutive year in the playoffs after last year’s Western Final, won in Calgary by Calgary. The winner advances to next Sunday’s Western Final in Regina against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
The Bombers captured the season series this year 2-1 — a first against the Stamps since 2002 — but the three games were decided by a grand total of eight points.
The Bombers won in Winnipeg 26-24 in August, lost in Calgary 37-33 back on Oct. 19th and then won 29-28 six days later at IG Field.
And an ugly number that means nothing when the ball is put on the tee Sunday but is still worth noting: the Bombers are just 5-26 in regular-season games in Calgary dating back to 1990.
2. Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea will be tight-lipped about this right up until the weekend, but expect Zach Collaros to get the start at quarterback. Collaros helped give the Bombers passing game a boost in his first start for the club — the regular-season finale victory over the Stamps — by throwing for 221 yards and two touchdowns.
Chris Streveler has practised this week after missing the last game of season with an ankle injury. His availability could offer the Bombers offence that extra dimension on Sunday, as he finished sixth in the league in rushing with 726 yards.
Couple that with Andrew Harris, who led the CFL in rushing for a third-straight year, and the Bombers run the ball better than any team.
3. Related to our second item is the weather forecast for Calgary, which is currently calling for a high of -13 C with a low of -23 C.
That would seem to favour the team that can pound the football along the ground, and the Bombers led the CFL with an average of 147.9 yards per game — the highest total by a Winnipeg squad since 1976.
The Stamps, meanwhile, ranked last in the league in rushing while the Bombers had the stingiest defence in the league against the run, averaging just 64.2 yards against — the second-best total in CFL history.
Countering all that is this: Calgary ranked second in passing yards this season while the Bombers were last.
4. A salute here to the Stamps, who just completed their 12th regular season with at least 10 wins or more — tying a club record. By comparison, the Bombers have posted four consecutive double-digit win seasons, a first since 1984-87.
5. Sunday’s Western Semi-Final will feature 12 West Division all-stars — six from each team. Named to the squad this week from the Bombers were Andrew Harris, Stanley Bryant, Willie Jefferson, Winston Rose, Marcus Sayles and Mike Miller.
Calgary’s six all-stars include receivers Reggie Begelton and Eric Rogers, offensive linemen Derek Dennis and Shane Bergman and defensive backs Tre Roberson and DaShaun Amos.
Next: A win on Sunday would propel the Bombers to their second straight Western Final, in Regina on Nov. 17. A loss means it’s next-year country. Win or lose, fans seeking season tickets for 2020 should call 204-784-7448 or visit bluebombers.com/tickets.