Defending Grey Cup champs set to host Blue Bombers in CFL Western Semi-Final
CALGARY – Football fans in Calgary are ready to brave the cold this Sunday and cheer on the Stampeders at McMahon Stadium in the CFL Western Semi-Final.
The Stamps and Winnipeg Blue Bombers will meet for the third time in four weeks. It's the second consecutive year the teams will face each other in the playoffs after last year’s Western Final was won by the Stamps in Calgary.
The last two contests between the clubs saw the Stampeders outlasting the Bombers 37-33 on Oct. 19 in Calgary followed by the Bombers squeaking out a 29-28 victory in Winnipeg the following week.
The Bombers captured the season series this year 2-1, the first time the team took the season series against the Stamps since 2002, but the three games were decided by a grand total of only eight points.
Calgary is 5-0 at home in the playoffs since 2013. The club just completed its 12th regular season with at least 10 wins or more, tying a franchise record.
The Stampeders also have six West-Division all-stars on their side, including receivers Reggie Begelton and Eric Rogers, offensive lineman Derek Dennis and Shane Bergman and defensive backs Tre Robertson and DaShaun Amos.
Calgary is no slouch at quarterback either with Bo Levi Mitchell leading the charge. Mitchell has a 11-3 career regular-season record versus Winnipeg. He's also 5-1 as a playoff starter
As for Winnipeg, the team is coming off a bye week and had the chance to rest some players. The club will look for a big game from quarterback Zach Collaros who threw for 221 yards and two touchdowns in his first start for the team in the last regular season game versus Calgary.
Winnipeg’s star kick return specialist, Janarion Grant, is also expected to be a threat. When the two teams met back on Aug 8., he returned two punts for touchdowns - one a 76-yarder, the other 83 yards.
The Blue Bombers led the CFL on the ground this season averaging 147.9 rushing yards per game and boasting the second best defence in the league against the run, allowing an average of just 64.2 yards against each game.
Kickoff on Sunday is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. at McMahon Stadium. Fans are encouraged to dress warm for the game as the temperature is forecasted to be well below freezing, approaching -13 C.