Winnipeg Blue Bombers (4-2) at Hamilton Tiger-Cats (0-6)
Tim Hortons Field
Sat., Aug. 11
Game time: 7:30 p.m.
TV: TSN Radio: TSN 1150
The storyline for Hamilton: This week, the Ticats installed a new offensive system under the direction of new assistant head coach June Jones, demoted defensive coordinator Jeff Reinebold in favour of linebackers’ coach Phillip Lolley, released their second-leading tackler in Will Hill for a “lack of commitment” and are starting their fourth different right tackle in the first seven games. Oh, and they are 0-6 and desperately need a win to save their season.
Key injuries and roster changes: The Ticats are finally starting to get (kind of) healthy with all-star defensive back Emanuel Davis, Canadian safety Craig Butler, receiver Giovanni Aprile, defensive tackle Evan Gill and back up quarterback Everett Golson all making their season debuts. Newcomer Tony Washington starts at right tackle after being signed this week.
Three funky Hamilton stats:
1. The Ticats had nine sacks and 33 quarterback pressures in their first four games but have just one sack and eight pressures in their last two contests.
2. Only one team in CFL history has ever started the season 0-6 and made the playoffs (B.C., who went 5-11 in 1969.)
3. Last week Hamilton ran the ball just six times at Edmonton, a season-low and the fewest by any CFL club since 2008 (Montreal with five rushes for 13 yards against Saskatchewan).
The storyline for Winnipeg: The Bombers are 4-2 on the season but have needed some late-game heroics to get there and aren’t considered in the upper-echelon of West Division teams – at least not yet. To get there, they’ll need to take care of business against an East opponent, who are collective 2-16 against the West, and start winning some intra-divisional games (they have Edmonton next week.)
Key injuries: The Bombers starting lineup has been the most consistent in the CFL this season with 18 of a possible 24 players having made all six starts thus far, and 23 players have made at least four starts. They have just four players on the injured list, though three – receiver Weston Dressler, linebacker Ian Wild and defensive lineman Tristan Okpalaugo – are starters.
Three funky Winnipeg stats:
1. Winnipeg has overcome deficits of 5, 8, 12 and 14 points to win this season. The last time that Winnipeg had back-to-back wins overcoming at least an eight-point deficit in each game was in August 1996.
2. Quarterback Matt Nichols has now led three fourth quarter game-winning drives in 2017 and has engineered eight in his last 15 starts. Overall, Winnipeg is 10-5 in that stretch.
3. The Bombers are 9-3 on the road in their last 12 starts compared to a 6-6 home mark since the start of 2016. They have had at least an even or better road than home record in five of the last seven seasons.
TSN play-by-play: Rod Black and Duane Forde
Weather: Clear, 20 degrees, winds out of the West at 25 km/h.