A lot has been said about the upcoming week 14 CFL game between the Calgary Stampeders and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Considering both teams are currently enjoying healthy winning streaks, this could be a fantastic game. But one team will play better, and come out on top. And each team has a very good chance of winning. For the Calgary Stampeders and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, defence will decide who wins.
Defence Will Decide: Stampeders vs. Blue Bombers
Both the Stampeders and the Blue Bombers have reasons to win. Some would say Calgary should win because they are on top of the league with a nine-game winning streak. The Stampeders offence, defence and special teams are playing their best football.
Critics would say that maybe Calgary is expecting to win, which could lead to their downfall. Winnipeg, on the other hand, has silenced those that said they were winning out of luck. They also boast an eight-game winning streak. The CFL will be watching two teams who are similarly matched in offence and special teams. Sure, Calgary will have home-field advantage and are slightly favoured to win, but never underestimate the underdog.
Offence and Special Teams
Offensively, the scales may tip a bit more in favour of Calgary. Bo Levi Mitchell is second in the league with 3,936 passing yards, while Matt Nichols is at 1,927. But that doesn’t tell the whole story. Nichols hasn’t started all games this season. He came in as starting quarterback in Week 5, and hasn’t lost a game since.
Calgary may have a few more passing targets that Mitchell can use, including skilled catchers like Juwan Brescacin and DaVaris Daniels. But Bombers receiver Weston Dressler is that often-forgotten hero for Winnipeg. And he consistently turns small plays into big ones that pay off.
Winnipeg might be slightly disadvantaged when it comes to their rushing game, as Andrew Harris is out injured. Timothy Flanders did just fine last week filling in against the Argos and ran for 102 yards in 19 carries. Winnipeg’s defence will definitely be looking for ways to stop Calgary’s Jerome Messam. Although, most teams probably do the same when facing Calgary, and very few do a good job.
For special teams, both Calgary and Winnipeg have the best kickers in the league in Rene Paredes and Justin Medlock, respectively. The game could come down to a field goal, and Medlock has successfully kicked a couple over 50 yards, including a game-winner against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Defence Will Decide
Calgary’s defence is ranked number one in the league with fewest points allowed, forced fumbles and pass knockdowns. The first two are followed by a very close second to Winnipeg. Calgary’s Charleston Hughes will be looking to increase his number beyond 10 sacks, although it won’t come easy with Winnipeg’s offensive line.
The Blue Bombers defence kept the Toronto Argonauts at bay for the second half of game last week. What’s most impressive about their defence is their knockdowns and interceptions. Maurice Leggett got two interceptions against Toronto, and leads the league with six interceptions. Also, Winnipeg has forced 29 turnovers in the last seven games. That’s something that Calgary will have to pay attention to.
It’s going to be a close game, but the game will come down to who controls the ball better, fewest penalties and fewest turnovers. Both teams have what it takes to win the game, but whose defence will be better on Saturday? Defence will decide which team will keep its winning streak alive.