Top 5 – Things to Watch for Riders in Banjo Bowl
Published: Friday, Sep 8th 2023, 11:09am
By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)
On Sunday, the Riders won the Labour Day Classic (it was a classic!) and tomorrow, we get the rematch… the Banjo Bowl. It’s my personal favourite road trip of the year and I’m excited to get on our bus packed with Rider fans and head on down the #1 to the ‘Peg! Here’s what I’m watching for in the final meeting of the regular season between the Riders and Bombers:
1. Keep the Emotions in Check – Labour Day Classics are no doubt emotional and this past one was no exception. It got chippy, players were barking at each other ALL night long… it was GREAT to see. I’m curious how the emotional ending to the LDC will carry over to the Banjo Bowl and how the Riders react to it.
2. Who Steps up for Pete Robertson? – Speaking of emotional, emotions got the best of Pete Robertson in the LDC, no doubt. I know the Bombers are going to come out aggressive and trying to goad the Riders into doing something stupid. Will they fall for it? With Robertson out, can the Riders get pressure on Zach Collaros? Is the gameplan for defense going to change up a bit and bring in some blitzes from linebackers more often?
3. The Deep Ball – Right before the Bombers got their first touchdown on Sunday evening, I looked up to the MaxTron and the stats were up there. The Bombers had 1 reception for 2 yards. Then the deep ball got going. The Bombers got some HUGE plays on deep routes… can the Riders secondary stop that this week?
4. Stop Oliveira – The Riders run D got gashed multiple times by Brady Oliveira in the LDC and they’ll need to tighten things up to keep this game close. He’s likely the top candidate for Most Outstanding Canadian this season, but the Riders need to limit him and make him a non-factor. They showed signs of it at times at the LDC, but Winnipeg will definitely work to get him going more this game.
5. O-Line Continues to Grow? – The Riders O-Line has turned in some really good games lately, but the injuries to Colin Kelly and Evan Johnson are massive. Logan Ferland did an outstanding job at tackle and Logan Bandy was quite good at guard as well. Hopefully the O-Line is done with the injuries, but they’ve been showing some real growth lately and I sure hope that continues sans Kelly and Johnson.
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