LIVE STREAM PPV: CFL – Winnipeg Blue Bombers @Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Aug. 12 @ 7:30p EDT (Aug. 13 @ 1:30a CEST)

By Ben Andrews

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats (0-6) return home to face their sixth consecutive West division adversary in the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (4-2).

In other words, the Tiger-Cats have faced West division opponents in six of the first seven games of the season. Through seven weeks, the CFL’s West division holds an overwhelming record of 15-2-1 in games against the East. The Tiger-Cats aren’t the only Eastern team that has struggled against the West. In fact, every Eastern team except the Alouettes is winless in interdivisional play. Montreal has broken the mold, securing its only two victories against Western franchises – one over the Roughriders in week one, and another over Calgary in week four.

The Tiger-Cats have played the fewest home games of any team thus far, and hope that the Hamilton crowd can push the Ticats into the win column. The Tiger-Cats have played better football at home than on the road, including a game where the undefeated Eskimos were pushed to the brink.

Compared to the Esks, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have looked vulnerable, especially against East Division teams. Two weeks ago, the Bombers relied on a miraculous late game surge, coupled with a softening Montreal defence, to secure the victory by a single point against the Als. The following week, the Bombers trailed late into the fourth quarter only to narrowly capture the win over the 1-5-1 Redblacks.

Ticats’ Brain Tyms tries to control pass while covered by Lions’ T.J. Lee during CFL first quarter action in Hamilton on Saturday, July 15th, 2017. (CFL PHOTO – Dave Chidley)

The Blue Bombers have lost to Calgary and BC, teams with a combined record of 10-3. The four teams the Bombers have beaten own a combined record of 7-17-1. The Bombers have barely secured victories over the league’s struggling teams, and have lost to the league’s elite. The Blue Bombers have a strong veteran core, and they know how to win. But so far this season, they have been manufacturing victories against incredible odds.

The Bombers average 34 points a game, and have undoubtedly won on the strength of their offense. Winnipeg allows a lot of points (second most in the league), and a lot of passing yards (second most in the league), which could be a downfall when facing a pass-first team like the Tiger-Cats. In short, the Bombers are beatable, but can never be counted out of any contest.

The Tiger-Cats have weathered the worst their schedule has to offer, and now look to gain some traction in three home games and a bye week over the next month.

Numerous Tiger-Cat veterans stepped up their play in week seven against Edmonton. Zach Collaros played his best football of 2017, scrambling well, stretching the field, and putting the ball in the end zone on three occasions. Collaros gave the team a chance to win, and that’s what you expect from your starting quarterback.

Sukh Chungh (69) of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers during the game against the BC Lions at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, BC., on Friday, July 21, 2017. (Photo: Johany Jutras)

Brandon Banks was another example of improved play from a veteran. Speedy Banks’ numbers have been below his career standard so far this season, but there was marked improvement in his return game in week seven. Against Winnipeg, Banks faces the worst team in the league in terms of kick/punt return yards allowed. Perhaps against the Bombers, Banks can maintain his recent ascent in the Tiger-Cats’ record books by jumping into third all-time in Ticats history in punt return yards.

Major shake-ups to the Tiger-Cats coaching staff may also leave their mark. The promotion of Coach Phillip Lolley to Defensive Coordinator, and the addition of Coach June Jones as assistant Head Coach could have an impact on the Ticats’ play against the Blue Bombers. In a post-practice media scrum, Coach Lolley stressed that his coaching is focused on simple football and sound fundamentals. His main point appeared to be: let your stars make plays.

The Tiger-Cats hope that against the Blue Bombers, their stars make enough plays to secure their first victory of the season.

AFI, Yare Media and the CFL

American Football International is collaborating with Yare Media and the Canadian Football League to present 2017 CFL games live. This is more than a livestream. This is a stream of the top flight TSN network television broadcast.

If you can’t watch it live, each game is available for 48 hours after the original broadcast.

LIVE STREAM PPV: CFL – Winnipeg Blue Bombers @Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Aug. 12 @ 7:30p EDT (Aug. 13 @ 1:30a CEST)

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