Leo’s and Bombers engage in Red River Riot
Headline: The BC Lions pack up their 3 game winning streak and head to Winnipeg to face the Bombers.
The Lions seemed to have turned a corner after getting off to a less than stellar start. The strength and depth of the Defence has been the story the last few games while the offence is rounding into mid-season form.
But it’s a short week for the Leo’s with a travel day to boot, and they could be ripe for the picking as they face a Blue Bombers squad that has won 2 of their last 3.
Including a victory over the high flying Tiger-Cats last week-end and both wins coming at home.
Let’s dig deeper into this matchup as we uncover the Top Shelf Keys to the game.
The Lions recent success has come from the improved play of the defensive secondary. The D-Backs were without an interception for the first 5 games of the season but have rebounded with 4 picks in the last 2 contests.
Williams continues to lead the CFL with 7 sacks. Sustained pressure by the Line will result with an increased INT total.
After back to back light duty games, Offensive Co-ordinator Jacques Chapdelaine needs to call on RB Andrew Harrismore this Friday at the ‘Peg.
On a short week of game prep, the timing needed for long distance plays may not be there but quick hitting plays to the Non-import Running Back will be available. Harris is due for another break-out game this season and the rushing attack has been an afterthought for the past three weeks.
Even with only three days of practice, Harris’s legs should be well rested.
Reigning Defensive Player of the Week , Winnipeg’s DE Alex Hall, has been on a tear lately. But the Lions Offensive game plan can be modified to avoid him.
As I mentioned in the last key, this can be accomplished by handing the ball off to Andrew Harris or by tossing quick passes to the backs, keeping Lions QB Travis Lulay out Hall’s grasp.
Hall has the freedom to move to either side of field setting up key match-ups for both Tackles: Ben Archibald and Jovan Olafioye.
In week One of the CFL the Lions Defence feasted on two Blue Bomber quarterbacks, Buck Pierce and Alex Brink. This time around all eyes will be on Winnipeg’s third QB, Joey Elliott.
While young and slightly inexperienced, Elliott is also the current Offensive Player of the Week.
The Purdue product torched Hamilton for 406 yards and 1 TD last week, leading to his first weekly honour in only his third professional start. Elliott brings the league’s second highest passer rating to the game, trailing only Hamilton’s Henry Burris among the CFL starters.
If the Lions are to have any success they must get to the young pivot early and often, much like they did in week One when the D-Line recorded 4 sacks.
Last week BC had 3 INT’s and one forced fumble. Winnipeg had zero picks but had 5 forced fumbles. It goes without saying then, that both Defences are opportunistic in nature and will try to win the game on their own.
Even if this competition appears as a mismatch on paper, the turnover ratio will level the playing field.
The key here is for the Offences to keep control of the ball.
The Lions D have kept opponents not just out of the End-Zone but also out the Red-Zone in the last three games. While not allowing any touchdowns opponents have only had one snap within the Leo’s 20 yard line.
BC-Winnipeg boasts a battle of brothers. Lions Safety Cauchy Muamba’s brother, Henoc, will start at Middle Linebacker for the Bluebombers
Kierrie Johnson remains sidelined. Ernest Jacskon will start again. Jackson is coming off two strong games and last week recorded his first CFL touchdown.
Former Lions OL and BC boy, Justin Sorensen will start at Center for the Blue and Gold.
Jon Hameister-Ries and Dean Valli could both suit up at Guard for BC. Alongside Archibald, Olafioye and Center Angus Reid, this is the first time this O-Line has been together since last year’s Grey Cup.
Lions DT Khalif Mitchell is wrapping up his 2 game suspension against Winnipeg. Jabar Westerman will start.
While it’s a mirror image of season records, the 5-2 Lions will face off against the 2-5 ‘Bombers. But don’t let those stats fool you into thinking this will be a cake walk for BC.
The Lions have only had 3 practice days and have had to travel to Manitoba.
The Blue Bombers are feeding off of their adrenaline filled Rookie QB and a signature victory against the league’s best club will do wonders to turn their dismal season around.
But in order achieve victory Winnipeg will have score TD’s, something Mike Benevides club hasn’t allowed in over 200 minutes of football.
Cheers, The Bartender