CFL Preview - Winnipeg (0-2) at Edmonton (1-1)
From The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, CFL Editor
DATE & TIME: Friday, July 13, 9:00 p.m. (et).
GAME NOTES: The team that competed in the 99th Grey Cup last season against the
British Columbia Lions finds itself sitting in a tie for last place in the East
Division after two games, as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers hope to solve their
problems before they hit the field against the Edmonton Eskimos at Commonwealth
Stadium on Friday night.
Winnipeg, which has yet to put a tally in the win column, is on a four-game
road trip to kick off the 2012 campaign so perhaps there's good reason for the
rough start. But already the team has as many defeats as it did through the
first nine contests of 2011 when it began 7-1 before struggling through the
second half of the year.
Last Friday, the Bombers nearly doubled their offensive output from week one
with a hefty 30-point effort against Montreal, but the defense simply was not
up to the task as it allowed Anthony Calvillo and the Alouettes to generate 41
points in the meeting.
Buck Pierce was back under center for Winnipeg as he converted 18-of-26 passes
for 255 yards and a score, but he was also intercepted once and sacked two
times. Backup Alex Brink converted three of his four pass attempts for 57 yards
and scored a major on a one-yard run as well.
Wideout Chris Matthews recorded eight catches for 131 yards and a touchdown,
while Terrence Edwards responded with six grabs for 126 yards in the losing
Winnipeg's pass defense allowed a hefty 445 yards to the Als, which might be
why the club has signed import defensive back Jeremy McGee to the roster. McGee
appeared in just one preseason game with the squad before being cut, but he
obviously showed the staff enough to warrant a call-back.
While the Winnipeg defense has obviously struggled, special teams might be
finding a leader in Demond Washington who was credited with an 82-yard punt
return for a score against Montreal. Washington finished with more than 200
yards on kick returns versus the Als, and now has close to 400 combined return
yards through two outings.
As for the Eskimos, the CFL has them fifth in the power rankings this week,
but that's only because the team won its season opener. In a sport that sees
outrageous scoring bursts on a regular basis, to have a team come up with just
a single point through 60 minutes of action is abysmal, and that's what
happened to the Esks in their 16-point road loss at Saskatchewan on Sunday
Edmonton thought it could move on from the traded Ricky Ray with Steven Jyles
at quarterback, but Jyles looked awful in the pocket in the second game of
the season as he converted just 10-of-19 passes for 91 yards and was sacked
three times before heading to the bench.
Kerry Joseph stepped in and tried to rally the troops and give them reason to
think they could compete in the low-scoring affair, but he was equally as
ineffective as he hit on just 4-of-8 attempts for 34 yards, was picked off once
and sacked three more times. Because of those sacks, Edmonton was credited with
fewer than 200 yards of total offense.
Kicker Burke Dales was credited with a single in the second quarter following
one of his 10 punts in the meeting.
Adding insult to injury comes the news that Eskimos wide receiver Adarius
Bowman will miss the remainder of the season after tearing both the ACL and
MCL in his left knee. Bowman, who was coming off the best season of his five-
year career after delivering 62 receptions for 1,153 yards with four majors in
2011, had nine catches for 145 yards through the first two games of this season
before it was cut short.
Last season the teams split a pair of matchups, each winning on their home turf
as the Bombers captured a 28-16 victory in early August, and the Esks returned
the favor in the middle of October with a 24-10 decision.
Edmonton has won two of the last three meetings and owns a 91-79-3 edge in the
all-time, regular-season series against Winnipeg as well.
The two are scheduled to meet once more during the regular season as the
Eskimos drop in on Winnipeg in the latter's home opener on July 26.
Edmonton should have the advantage with being at home for this contest, but if
Jyles continues to struggle a team like Winnipeg could steal a victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Winnipeg 28, Edmonton 13
07/11 11:27:05 ET
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