LIVESTREAM CFL: BC Lions @ Winnipeg Blue Bombers, June 23, 02:30 CET (2:30 am, 8:30 pm June 22 EDT)

WINNIPEG — It’s a battle of the best in the West on Thursday night as the BC Lions make the trip to IG Field to face the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

The Lions come into Week 3 fresh off a convincing 22-0 victory over Edmonton on Saturday.

On the other sideline, it’ll be a Blue Bombers team that put up yet another impressive offensive performance a week ago as they defeated Saskatchewan 45-27 on the road.

» Depth Chart: BC | WPG

Quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. continues to show that he can lead the Lions to where they want to go after completing 25 passes for 324 yards and a touchdown against the Elks.

But with the Blue Bombers impressive defensive front, which recorded three more sacks last week, and a talented secondary, Adams Jr. will need to come up with his best performance yet to keep his team undefeated.

He’ll also have to do it without his top receiver in Dominique Rhymes who is out with a foot injury.

Missing Rhymes certainly isn’t ideal but Adams Jr. has shown a strong knack for spreading the ball around, targeting four different receivers at least five times against the Elks.

Watch live. BC Lions @ Winnipeg Blue Bombers, June 23, 02:30 CET (2:30 am, 8:30 pm June 22 EDT)

With Lucky Whitehead ready to come off the one game injured list and the likes of Alexander HollinsJevon CottoyJustin McInnis and Ayden Eberhardt all making an impact in Week 2, the Bombers secondary will still have their hands full and need to tighten up their coverage to keep points off the board.

On the ground, rookie Taquan Mizzell has looked like a seasoned veteran. It’ll be a measuring stick game for the first year running back as the Bombers have been tough against the run, including holding the Roughriders dynamic duo of Jamal Morrow and Frankie Hickson to just 21 yards.

On the defensive side of the ball, it doesn’t get much better than posting a shutout but the Lions have yet to see an offence as efficient as the one led by quarterback Zach Collaros.

Part of Collaros’ success has been the time he’s been afforded by his offensive line that features the talents of Stanley Bryant, Jermarcus Hardick and Patrick Neufeld.

Those three will need to worry about defensive lineman Mathieu Betts, who has three sacks.

Linebacker Boseko Lokombo has also made life difficult on opposing quarterbacks and run games. Coming off a seven tackle game against the Elks and with 15 on the season, he’ll try to make his mark against the league’s top offence.

The Lions will want to avoid a run and gun style against the Bombers as they’ve put up 48 points in two games.

Head coach Rick Campbell isn’t shying away from the test that’s ahead of his football team.

“First of all we’re very excited,” Campbell told “Winnipeg is a very good team. I told our guys though, this is not a make it or break it game. It’s Week 3 of 18 and we need to make sure we’re improving each week. Yes, we’re totally excited for the game but at the same time we know the result of this game isn’t going to make or break the season. We want to show improvement and we’re totally on a mission to go there to try to beat these guys.”

Collaros completed 74 per cent of his passes against the Riders for 293 yards and two touchdowns and has shown everyone why he’s the reigning Most Outstanding Player.

After catching five passes for 60 yards in Week 1, Collaros found receiver Dalton Schoen eight times for 145 yards in their latest win. If Schoen has returned to his 2022 form, it will make for a long night in the secondary.

The connection between Collaros and Schoen will take on even more importance as running back Brady Oliveira is a game-time decision. Should he be unable to go, Johnny Augustine will assume the rushing duties.

Before Collaros and the offence even get on the field, Janarion Grant will aim to put them in good field position.

Grant has been a difference maker in the return game, just take last week as an example. He returned three punts for 121 yards and four kickoffs for 87 yards in the win. His presence will put considerable pressure on the leg of Lions kicker Stefan Flintoft as he tries to pin the Bombers deep.

Collaros credits the offence’s success to their ability to execute when needed thus far but knows his team has more to give, starting against their division foe.

“We’ve finished a lot of drives which is something we strive to do, we want to score touchdowns instead of kick field goals,” the quarterback told

“We’ve executed at a fairly high level. There’s been plays that we’ve left out there that we have to continue to get better at. It’s still a work in progress. I think we can get significantly better, it’s early in the season. I think I can play a whole lot better.”

As impressive as the offence has been, the Bombers defence is tied for the second most points allowed with 58, an aspect of their game that’ll need to be better if they hope to escape with sole possession of first place.

The talent in the secondary is undeniable, but will need to improve on the 413 passing yards they surrendered to Trevor Harris and the Riders.

Facing so many talented receivers and a quarterback who isn’t shy about sharing the football, defensive backs Brandon Alexander, Evan Holm, Desmond Lawrence and Deatrick Nichols will need to work collectively to limit big plays.

Demerio Houston, who has the only two interceptions of the season, is listed as out.

The strong defensive front of the Bombers will need to be just that. Not only will good games from Willie Jefferson and company go a long way in forcing Adams Jr. to make quick decisions, it’ll allow the secondary time to close gaps on receivers.

It’s a must-see game to begin Week 3 as sole possession of first place in the West Division is on the line.

Watch live. BC Lions @ Winnipeg Blue Bombers, June 23, 02:30 CET (2:30 am, 8:30 pm June 22 EDT)

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