With starter Matt Nichols down and out, the Blue Bombers hopes and dreams now rest on quarterback Chris Streveler. Streveler was 1-4 in four starts last season with eight touchdowns passes and only two interceptions.
It’s a massive game in the West division and the game of the week for week 11 of the CFL season. The Bombers are holding on tight to a one-game lead with the Eskimos right behind them. If the Bombers are to increase the lead, they’ll have to do it with a key piece to their offence.
CFL Odds and Betting
The Eskimos are one of three CFL teams (Blue Bombers, Tiger-Cats) with a perfect home field record.
These two teams met in Manitoba in the second week of the season where the Bombers squeezed out a 28-21 win. The Eskimos made is close in that one outscoring the Bombers 9-0 in the fourth quarter. Trevor Harris completed a personal season-high 35 passes in the loss.
Overall, the Bombers are 5-2 against the spread in the last seven games against the Eskimos. The under is a remarkable 6-1 in the last seven games played in Edmonton.
Of note, the Eskimos are 0-5 ATS in their last five games following a ATS win, and the Bombers are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games following a straight up win.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers
The Blue Bombers enter this game on a two-game winning streak, with a record of 7-2 and first place in the West division. But the major question evolving this week at practice was “can this team win without starter Matt Nichols.” That question will soon be answered now that Chris Streveler is at the helm for the foreseeable future. Nichols was injured (right arm) with just over nine minutes remaining against the Lions after taking a blindside hit from defensive end Shawn Lemon. Head Coach Mike O’Shea updated the media on Monday saying Nichols will be added to the six-game IR list but surgery is unlikely.
Nichols is having an MVP type season – leading the CFL in touchdown passes (15) and has led a team averaging almost 30 points (29.8) per game. Streveler was 1-4 in four starts last season with eight touchdowns passes and only two interceptions. This season he has played in short yardage options but has been ready to start. He’ll face an Eskimos defence that has given up the least amount of points over nine games (164), averaging 18.2 points against.
Look for Andrew Harris to have an even bigger impact on the offence in the coming weeks. On Friday, the Bombers running back became the all-time leader among Canadian players for yards from scrimmage and made it into the league’s top 10 all-time rushing list.
The Eskimos come into this game on a two-game winning streak with wins against the Redblacks and Argos in the last two weeks. As mentioned, it’s been all about the defence for the Eskies led by Mike Moore and Kwaku Boateng, who have combined for 11 sacks on the season.
Eskimos Quarterback Trevor Harris has arguably been the best free agent signing by any CFL team. Through nine games, Harris has 3051 passing yards (1st in the CFL), 13 passing touchdowns (2nd), and is one game away from tying an all-time CFL mark of 24 consecutive games with at least 20 completions (dating back to last season).
Receiver Ricky Collins Jr. is quietly having his best professional season with the Eskimos. Collins 741 yards receiving is tops among all CFL receivers. Entering this game with the Bombers, he is averaging 82. 3 yards per game. Keep an eye on the Collins versus Winston Rose match-up, because it could happen at times during the game. Rose’s six interceptions are tied for first in the league.
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