Winnipeg Blue Bombers vs. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Week Three: Game Two
Time: 7PM EST on TSN
Last year, both teams entered Week Three with a 1-1 record, when heading into Ivor Wynne Stadium. This time last season, Winnipeg's offense was run by Stefan Lefors, who has since been suspended by the club for failing to show up at Training Camp, and is now back down South.
In his first two games at the helm, Stefan was 27 of 58, a 46 percent pass completion, two touchdowns, and one interception. Although Henry Burris went on a rampage with almost 250 yards, the Bombers would prevail by 12 after four quarters to win Game Two, heading with momentum to Hamilton.
Meanwhile, Hamilton faced off with Toronto and B.C., and would also win their second game of the season.
For the Tiger-Cats, their offense was haled by Quinton Porter, who many feel is the future for the Ti-Cat regime and should be a great player in the years to come. For now, he was 45 for 64, a 70.3 percent pass completion, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Hamilton built an early lead heading into the fourth quarter that B.C. was unable to penetrate after Otis Floyd intercepted Pierce on their final possession and lost the game 31-28.
This week, each team is poised to move forward and continue their season, as the Bombers look towards Week Three and a chance to leave Ivor Wynne Stadium with a 2-1 record after losing by two to the Toronto Argonauts in Week Two.
As for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, they are still looking for their first win of the season and their first in the last three games since losing to B.C. last season in the semifinals.
Of course, Hamilton's last win came against the Bombers last season in Week 19, clinching themselves a playoff spot. When looking down the last five years, Hamilton is 5-11 against Winnipeg, and have lost three of their last five games at home by an average of 26-24, a two point differential.
The Bombers rushed for 211 yards on the night in the season opener, while the Tiger Cats were held to just 94.
In their loss to Calgary last week, the Tiger Cats again were unable to capitalize on the run game, as DeAndra Cobb was ineffective once again. Probably Hamilton's biggest problem was allowing the Bombers quarterback to rush for 89 yards of his own, including one touchdown. Pierce followed that up with 103 yards against Toronto in their Week Two loss.
Week Three will prove two different storylines, as the Bombers look for their second win of the season, which came in Week Five, by one against Toronto and ended their first eight games, with a 3-5 record. This season, their first four of eight games are against the Tiger-Cats. A sweep gives them a minimum of a 4-4 record.
For the Tiger-Cats, they started the 2009 campaign 4-4 after their first eight games, something that will be in the back of their heads come Friday night, as a loss sends them to 0-3 and into the basement of the East division, while Winnipeg will continue progressing forward.
This season is their first full season with Kevin Glenn at the helm after a late start in 2009. So far he has put up some simple numbers, but nothing exciting and his inability to get to his receivers with less than stellar pass-coverage, has proved to be a deteriorate.
Look for Pierce to get the offense going early and strong, as the Bombers want to come out and make a statement with touchdowns in their mindset. The Bombers have a tendency to beat the Tiger-Cats, however fall short the following game, only to flip-flop each time. So a big key to the Bombers victory will be shutting down the Tiger-Cats return game.
In Week One, the Ti-Cats returned a missed field goal and a punt for touchdowns by Marcus Thigpen. The addition of Derrick Doggett should prove to be one of the missing keys on Special Teams to shut down the return game. If Serna's mishaps continue however, I don't see his future with the Blue and Gold lasting much longer than two games.
Elsewhere, Hamilton will need to muster all they can from all phases of the game, in order to come out of the game victorious, as Winnipeg has not been kind to them on their own turf. Kevin Glenn will need more help from his front seven as he looks to complete passes and try to get DeAndra Cobb into the game, while the defense will need to do a better job closing seams and stopping Pierce from running his way to the red zone.
Random Game Prediction:
31-25 score for Winnipeg.
Buck Pierce: Two touchdowns.
Kevin Glenn: One touchdown, two interceptions.
Terrence Edwards: Two touchdowns.