Game Preview : Bombers at Riders for all of the Home Playoff Game Marbles
Published: Friday, Oct 4th 2019, 8:10am
By: Stephen Safinuk (@Safimod)
The Bombers have been rather successful in games at Mosaic Stadium not held on Labour Day over the past few years, but if the Riders want any hope of a home playoff game, they need to end that streak tomorrow evening in Regina.
The 9-5 Winnipeg Blue Bombers will stroll into Regina to take on the 9-4 Saskatchewan Roughriders with a lot on the line. Winner of this battle will find themselves a win ahead, with the season series, as we roll in to the last 4 weeks of the season. Should the Riders win, they would be effectively clinch at least 2nd place, barring a complete meltdown to end the season. 2 wins over the final 4 games, or any combination of 2 wins/2 more Winnipeg losses, would be enough. With BC, Edmonton and Edmonton to close it out, that looks promising. But to get to that point, they need to take care of business at home versus the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Home field advantage bodes well for Saskatchewan, who find themselves 6-1 in the friendly confined of Mosaic Stadium. Meanwhile, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are a much less impressive 3-4 away from IG Field in 2019. That’s where we come in, Rider Nation. Be loud. Make noise from the moment the Blue Bombers offense takes the field, until they find themselves back on the bench. Let’s show Winnipeg
We have heard ad nauseum about the Riders not having beaten “a real team” yet. In the end, you can only beat the teams put in front of you, and the Bombers team that the Riders will face on Saturday is arguably the best team they have come up against in many weeks. The only thing missing is an actual quarterback. The game plan, defensively, is simple. Stop the run and force Chris Streveler to beat you with his arm. You do that, and you’re going to win more often than you lose. Sure, you might run up against a Dom Davis week-2 Career game like performance, but in the end, its unlikely. Stop the ground game, and you stop the Bombers.
Offensively, the game plan is a 3-step process in my mind.
- Establish a legitimate running game.
- Don’t make Cody Fajardo hold on to the ball any longer than he has to.
- Get on the board early. No slow starts
For all the talk about Andrew Harris’ return from his steroid suspension, the Riders will have an improved run game this time around with the return of Brendon LaBatte to the offensive line. Words cannot express how important Blue is to our offensive line, and he will be tested early and often against the Bombers front 7.
Speaking of “returns”, Jordan Williams-Lambert will make his 2019 debut on Saturday afternoon, and what a great weapon he will be for Cody Fajardo and the Riders offense. A big bodied receiver who catches basically anything thrown his way is a huge addition this late in the year. He joins a much-improved offense over the one he left behind at the end of 2018. Who knows how big of a role he will have in his first game back, but I expect to see the team try to get him involved early and often.
Still speaking of “returns”, the Riders special teams coverage will need to do a much better job of containing the Bombers return game. They cannot afford to give up any big returns against Winnipeg. The last thing you want is to give Chris Streveler good field position. Make him earn every single yard out there on that field.
As much as I want to predict a Roughrider blowout tomorrow afternoon, we all know that isn’t the way these 2019 Riders work. The cardiac kids will give us all yet another heart attack on their way to yet another late victory.