Friday, July 19, 2024
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CFL Preview: Ottawa Redblacks (2-1-0) vs Winnipeg Blue Bombers (0-4-0)

WINNIPEG – The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are hoping to break into the win column for the first time this season when they host the Ottawa REDBLACKS at Princess Auto Stadium on Friday night.

The game is a rematch of the two teams Week 2 contest that saw the REDBLACKS come away with a 23-19 win.

Injuries have hampered the Blue Bombers and they now find themselves with Zach Collaros listed as their third quarterback after he left late in the first half of their Week 4 loss to Calgary.

The likely loss of Collaros means it’s Chris Streveler’s pocket to run with. He filled in admirably against Calgary, throwing for 170 yards and a touchdown.

Already without Dalton Schoen and Keric Wheatfall in the pass game, Streveler needs strong performances out of veterans Nic Demski, Drew Wolitarsky and rookie Kevens Clercius.

In their Week 2 matchup, Demski and Wolitarsky combined for 104 yards.

Streveler isn’t worried about who’s in or out, as he believes in all of the weapons at his disposal.

Defensive back Alonzo Addae and linebacker Adarius Pickett had an interception in their most recent meeting and once again anchor a defence with plenty of playmaking ability. As a collective, they held the Bombers to 285 pass yards but are giving up an above league average 333.6 yards per game.

For O’Shea’s offence to find consistent success, they’ll need a bounce back from running back Brady Oliveira after he rushed for 26 yards on 10 carries against Calgary. Going up against an Ottawa defensive line that’s among the best against the run, a big game won’t come easy for Oliveira.

Lorenzo Mauldin IV had a sack in the REDBLACKS win over Hamilton last week and is joined by the physical Bryce Carter at the line of scrimmage.

Behind Mauldin and Carter, Jovan Santos-Knox and Frankie Griffin are the second line of defence against the run, which has held rushers to 69 yards a game.

On the offensive side of the ball for Ottawa, quarterback Dru Brown is set to face his former team again after throwing for 238 yards and a touchdown the first time around.

Justin Hardy remains his top target with 328 yards on the season. Jaelon Acklin and Dominique Rhymes are the other two Ottawa receivers with over 100 yards with 150 and 119, apiece, while DeVonte Dedmon is a special teams threat, scoring the first kick return touchdown of 2024.

The Bombers secondary continues to round into form. Deatrick Nichols returned last week against Calgary and Evan Holm and Brandon Alexander are important parts of a defensive back corps that has to find a way to keep touchdowns off the board and get their offence back on the field.

Opposing Oliveira in the run game is Ryquell Armstead, who had his best performance of the season against the Bombers when he rushed for 95 yards on 16 carries.

The job of slowing him falls on a group of defenders allowing 94.5 yards per game.

Linemen Devin Adams and Willie Jefferson, who both found their way to Brown in Week 2 for a sack, are relied upon heavily in O’Shea’s defensive scheme.

Ali Fayad also provides support against the run game off the edge.

It’s unfamiliar territory for Winnipeg as they remain winless through four weeks, but a win would get them back on the right track as they try to climb into the West Division race.

Ottawa can jump out to a 3-1 start with a victory and put themselves in the conversation of top teams in the East.

Kickoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET. Catch the action on TSN/RDS. International and U.S. fans can watch on CFL+.

Sportsbook Advisor

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