CFL Preview - Hamilton (4-7) at Winnipeg (2-9)|
From The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, CFL Editor
DATE & TIME: Friday, September 21, 8:00 p.m. (et).
GAME NOTES: The two weakest teams in the CFL get together on Friday night at
Canad Inns Stadium, as the slumping Winnipeg Blue Bombers tangle with the
Since the beginning of August, the two clubs have combined for a mere two
victories in 12 opportunities. However, one of those wins came last Saturday
as the Tiger-Cats halted a five-game slide with a 51-8 thrashing of Edmonton
at home. With the win, Hamilton is now 4-7 on the season overall, ahead of
only Winnipeg (2-9) in the East Division standings.
Hamilton fell behind by an 8-0 score in the first quarter of that meeting but
then dialed up the pressure on both sides of the ball by outscoring the
Eskimos 51-0 the rest of the way. The hosts churned out 571 yards of total
offense, thanks in large part to quarterback Henry Burris who converted 23-
of-33 passes for 418 yards and three touchdowns, offsetting a couple of
interceptions and two sacks.
Chris Williams was responsible for eight catches, leading to 125 yards and a
score for the 'Cats, while running back Avon Cobourne made a huge splash by
posting a game-high 121 yards and a major on 18 carries for Hamilton as well.
Williams continues to be a thrill to watch as he leads the league in
touchdowns with a total of 12, six on receptions and another six on returns,
the latter total setting a new single-season CFL record.
Over on the other side, the Blue Bombers have had some close calls this
season, but last week was not one of them as the team folded against Calgary
on the road, 44-3. The team has now won just once in the last six outings and
has been outscored in the last three contests by a combined 121-27.
The team used a total of three quarterbacks versus the Stamps, starting with
Joey Elliott, then Alex Brink and finally Justin Goltz. the trio combining to
convert just 12-of-25 through the air for a mere 90 yards and one
interception. On the ground, the squad accounted for 101 yards, 86 coming from
The Bombers certainly didn't help themselves by being flagged for 10
penalties, amounting to a loss of 92 yards.
Watching the Bombers fumble around at the quarterback position is something
that has been going on all season long as they are the only team in the league
that is completing passes at less than 60 percent (.565). Winnipeg has a mere
eight aerial touchdowns, just a fraction of the 27 that Burris has at the
moment to lead the entire league. It also doesn't help that this rag-tag group
of signal-callers has tossed a league-high 12 interceptions.
With the offense suffering all season long, the defense has needed to make
some plays for the Bombers and that simply hasn't happened. In fact, Winnipeg
has allowed more points than any team in the league (365), which averages out
to a hefty 33.2 ppg.
If there is anything encouraging for the Blue Bombers heading into Week 13 it
is knowing that Hamilton's defense can be exploited as well. The Tiger-Cats
are permitting 31.5 ppg, second-most behind Winnipeg, and it could have easily
been higher if not for Edmonton's total ineptitude last week.
Then again, there are times when Hamilton has given up a significant number of
points and is still able to remain competitive thanks to a league-high scoring
average of 31.6 ppg. Burris gets much of the credit, now that he is second in
the league in total passing yards (3,364) and he has the best efficiency
rating (106.6) of any regular starter in the CFL to this point in the
Having kicker Luca Congi to lean on is certainly another advantage for the
Tiger-Cats, his 104 points placing him second in the league in that
As far as the all-time, regular-season series is concerned, the Bombers own a
58-45 edge dating back to the 1950 campaign. Even though Winnipeg has
struggled in 2012, the team won the first meeting back in the middle of August
by a score of 32-25 at home, which means the squad has taken four straight
The squads are set to clash once more during the regular season in Hamilton on
Unless something unforeseen happens to Burris and the Hamilton offense begins
to sputter, this is a meeting that the visitors should have well in hand,
especially since there is a measure of revenge involved.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Hamilton 37, Winnipeg 25
09/19 11:13:11 ET