Winnipeg Blue Bombers vs. Edmonton Eskimos
Week Four: Game Three
Time: 6:30PM EST on TSN
Eskimos Desperate For a Win
Entering Week Four, the Eskimos have found themselves digging a hole, one possibly too deep that they may not be able to get out of. Following the first three weeks, Edmonton has managed to put up points on the board, however failed to finish out games and have lost their last two games by an average of seven points.
The B.C. game showed their quick flaws and inability to find the end-zone but moving forward, they were able to keep control of the first half against Montreal and then Saskatchewan. However, they would end up shooting themselves in the foot and falling apart in the second half, with dropped passes that could have sealed the games and costly penalties which only added to their loss.
A big stat to take a look at, is Edmonton has yet to score a single point in the fourth quarter, a key factor if Saturday's game should still be within their grasps.
Onto the Bombers, they've lost their last two of three games, which possibly have caught fans off-guard following their stellar 49-29 win against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to open the season at home.
Moving into Week Two, their game against Toronto was one that many felt should have been put away in the third quarter; however, they let the game slip out of their hands late and the Argos took care of the rest in the fourth. Following last Friday's game in Hamilton, the team has left many questioning where they are headed.
Buck Pierce went down late in the third, bringing in back-up quarterback Steven Jyles. Jyles ended the night nine-for-13 completions, 95 yards, and one rushing touchdown. A play in the third quarter which saw the Winnipeg defense cause a fumble on Kevin Glenn, was overturned by a whistle, which set up a TiCat touchdown and the 21-0 lead into the fourth.
With Pierce out this week due to a right knee injury suffered in Winnipeg's loss to Hamilton, all eyes are on Jyles to lead this team into Saturday's home matchup against the Edmonton Eskimos.
How long Pierce will stay out for is yet to be determined, however Winnipeg is hopeful to have him in Calgary for Week Five before facing Hamilton back-to-back and finishing off Montreal in Week Eight before the Labour Day classic with Saskatchewan.
While it has been five years and things certainly have changed, Jyles might remember a couple things back when he played with Edmonton, which could be a useful tool Saturday. As well, being associated with head coach Paul LaPolice last season in Saskatchewan, the offensive schemes should be relatively quick for Jyles to pick up, as he will also take on the starting snaps during practice.
Edmonton Eskimos quarterback Ricky Ray has amounted 888 yards on the season so far, averaging 296 per game, with only one touchdown and two interceptions coming in their Game Two loss to Montreal. This could pose as a problem for the Winnipeg secondary if they are unable to contain the receivers or the run, otherwise look for Ray to fly through the air all night.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have managed, without much offensive production since Week One, to hold the opponent to an average of 106 yards rushing so far. Last week they were able to contain Marcus Thigpen, who had 18 yards on the night, and zero returns for touchdowns after securing a missed field goal and a kick-off returned for touchdowns.
If the Bombers want some assistance Saturday night, look for them to call on their front seven to provide pressure on Ricky Ray and get him mobile, as giving Ray time to find a receiver has proved to be costly in the past.
Look for the secondary to attempt to contain Fred Stamps and Kelly Campbell, as they will try to break the seam and find the end-zone any way they can. Edmonton will have to watch out for both Terrence Edwards and newcomer, Terence Jeffers-Harris, as they look to bring in the ball.
And don't forget about Aaron Hargreaves, who made some stellar catches against Hamilton last week, to continue drives. All this and possibly more should make this a great game.
This match-up will be beneficial to either team, as a win for Edmonton breaks their win-less streak, and a win for Winnipeg will improve their record to 2-2, therefore we could end Week Four with a possible three or four-way tie for first in the East.