CFL Week 1: Bombers Out For Revenge
Friday June 29th, BC Place
NWSB Matchup Insight
No title up for grabs in this week’s tilt but make no mistake, this game will be the backyard brawl CFL fans have been dreaming of.
Everyone remembers last November when the Bombers invaded BC Place and were ultimately defeated in the 99th Grey Cup final.
With nothing but pride and bragging rights on the line, the Blue Bombers are looking to exact some revenge.
The BC Lions will have ghosts of seasons pasts looming as they look for a better start than last year (yeah, remember 0-5). With a new coach on the sideline and entering the season as the odds-on favourite to repeat, the Leos are all but desperate to get this ride started on the right foot.
But let`s get back to specifics shall we. The Lions O could start every member from last year`s championship game. And on D, they have brought in 2 CFL All Stars from Toronto to their defensive secondary.
Winnipeg has let some key players go in the off-season but the core on offense still has the potential to put points on the board.
Here are my 5 Top Shelf keys to the game
Number One: Travis Lulay
Fitting that the CFL`s 2012 50 best players had Travis Lulay at the top. So it’s no surprise that he is at the top of this game match-up. Since taking the starting spot at QB last year Lulay has won 13 games, CFL Most Outstanding Player, Grey Cup MVP, and a shiny new ring.
Just imagine what he can do this year.
Number Two: Geroy Simon
Lulay`s go to receiver is only 67 yards shy of breaking Milt Stegall`s all-time mark for receiving yards. If there is any way the Blue Bombers are going to rain on the Lions parade it will be by shutting down number 81. You know that Winnipeg will try to preserve one of their greatest icons signature marks for as long as possible.
Make no doubt, Geroy Simon will be the career leader in yards but the Bombers won’t want that mark to be set on them.
Number Three: Winnipeg’s Secondary
The Lions may have a solid secondary core across the board but Winnipeg`s coverage boasts two of the top defensive backs in the league.
Jovon Johnson is the ultimate cover guy and the CFL`s reigning Defensive Player of the Year. Lining up next to him is Jonathan Hefney.
Hefney, a former East Division Rookie of the Year, is multi-talented with the skills to line up anywhere in the secondary and even take some snaps at Linebacker.
Number Four: Lions Pass Rush
In the weeks heading into the Grey Cup the Lions front four was more destructive than a tidal wave. But with Aaron Hunt and Brent Johnson both now off the squad will the D-Line still be able to get to Buck Pierce? Uhh,
Newcomers Jabar Westerman and Mo Evans will slot in to provide additional pressure and enhance a dynamic front line rotation.
Number Five: Swaggerville
Last November the BC Lions ripped the heart out of the Bombers, clinched the Grey Cup and kicked the hornet’s nest. 6 months in a long off-season when you lose the championship game.
Swaggerville has been a time-bomb looking to blow and they get a chance to set the fuse when they have wait through the Lions banner raising ceremony.
Tick. Tick. Tick…
Cut the tension with a battle-axe, the opening kick-off will register on Richter Scales throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Never have the CFL schedule makers been so right.
Making Winnipeg come back to the house where they last lost. Fuelled by envy, the Bombers will provide an excellent benchmark for the Lions as they hope to do away with traditionally slow starts.
Retractable roof or not both teams will be looking to blow the top off BC Place.
- Lions O-Line is banged up. Jon Hameister-Ries and Dean Valli may be available but look for Matt Norman and Patrick Kabongoto start at guard.
- Adam Bighill has won the right to start over James Yurichuk at Middle Linebacker.
- Some big name defenders won’t play in this re-match. Lions former LB Solomon Elimimian is now in Minnesota and Winnipeg dealt Odell Willis to Saskatchewan in the off-season. Leos’s Brent Johnson retired as did the Bomber’s Doug Brown. Two great Canadian Defensive Linemen.
- Winnipeg’s Buck Pierce will look to outshine his former back-up, Travis Lulay.
5:01, it’s the message and the motto of this year’s BC Lions and a number you’re going to hear a lot this year.
It is the signature time when the Wally Buono reign ended as coach and the Mike Benevides era began.
5:01, it signifies one work day over, another work day beginning.
Overtime if you will, where the blue collar guys bear down to get some serious work done. To finish the job. 5:01 is just the beginning for the Lions.
Cheers, The Bartender