LIVESTREAM CFL: Calgary Stampeders @ Winnipeg Blue Bombers, July 8, 02:30 CET (2:30 am, 8:30 pm July 7 EDT)

WINNIPEG — The Winnipeg Blue Bombers will attempt to reclaim first place in the West Division while the Calgary Stampeders try to get back to .500 when the two teams meet for the first time this season on Friday night at IG Field. 

The Blue Bombers rebounded with a win over Montreal in Week 4 that followed a disappointing defeat at the hands of the BC Lions the week prior.

It’s been a back and forth season for Calgary so far as they’re coming off an overtime loss to Saskatchewan in Week 3 that dropped their record to 1-2.

Zach Collaros leads his offence into the game fresh off a two touchdown performance against the Alouettes, but he hasn’t broken 200 passing yards in either of his team’s past two contests.  

» Depth Chart: CGY | WPG

His next test will be against a Stampeders defence that has allowed 300 yards through the air only once this season.

While the pass game has stalled compared to their usual standards, Dalton Schoen looked more like himself bringing down 86 yards and a touchdown last week.  The receiving corps will also get a boost in the return of Nic Demski after he missed a game due to the birth of his child.

The Stamps had a tough time slowing down Jamal Morrow in Week 3 and will see another star rusher in Brady Oliveira, who’s coming off his best performance of the year. Oliveira carried the ball 20 times for 120 yards in the win over the Als. Don’t be surprised to see head coach Mike O’Shea utilize his run game early and often as he tries to kickstart his offence.

As Collaros and company aim to regain their rhythm, the Bombers defence will look to get them back on the field quickly.

The defensive front heads into the game off a five sack performance, with defensive lineman Cameron Lawson and Willie Jefferson having recorded two apiece in Montreal.

The Stamps are no stranger to dealing with aggressive defences as they held Saskatchewan without a sack.

Calgary Stampeders @ Winnipeg Blue Bombers, July 8, 02:30 CET (2:30 am, 8:30 pm July 7 EDT)

With Calgary quarterback Jake Maier having thrown five interceptions through three games, the Bombers secondary will be looking to capitalize on mistakes.

Defensive backs Brandon Alexander and linebacker Alden Darby both had a pick against the Als. Add in Demerio Houston and Deatrick Nichols, and Maier will need to be on his game to keep the offence on the field and limit costly turnovers.

Speaking of the Calgary offence, they limp into the game without key players in receivers Malik Henry and Luther Hakunavanhu and running back Ka’Deem Carey.

It’s not all bad news on the injury front, however, as Reggie Begelton returns.

Aside from Begelton, Tre Odoms-Dukes and Cole Tucker will need to step up like they did against the Riders when they totalled 123 receiving yards.

Maier didn’t mince words when asked what a win in Winnipeg would mean for his team.

“It would mean a lot,” Maier told“Not to sugar coat it, it would mean a lot. It’s a helluva place to play a football game. It could give us some momentum and would be good for our team who have gone through some things early in the year, adversity, injuries, whatever it may be. It’d be awesome for us.”

With uncertainty surrounding the receiving game, the Stamps will lean heavily on running back Dedrick Mills to provide offence. Mills has carried the ball 33 times for 176 yards since Carey went down with an injury.

He’ll be in tough though as the Bombers have proven they can control the running game. They held William Stanback to 42 yards in their most recent victory.

With the injuries piling up on offence, head coach Dave Dickenson will need his defence to be up to the test the Bombers playmakers pose.

The Stamps will want to add to their six sacks as a team as making Collaros uncomfortable in the pocket will be important to the outcome of the game.

Linemen Mike Rose, James VaughtersDerek Wiggan and defensive back Michael Griffin will all try to find their way through the offensive line like they did against the Riders.

In the secondary, Griffin and Branden Dozier are tasked with keeping the Bombers receiving game in check for the third straight week. If they can, it’ll give the offence an opportunity to make the game tight.

Dickenson knows it’s always a challenge heading into Winnipeg but expects his team to be ready to compete.

“They’re business like, they’ve always been a team that doesn’t beat themselves,” Dickenson told“It’s a tough atmosphere. It’s going to be a fun game. We’ve had some good battles, we just haven’t come out on top of them lately so hopefully we can push through. We just have to play better and improve. Let the outcome take care of itself.”

With a win the Bombers can take back first place and separate themselves even further from the Stamps in the standings.

Calgary needs a win to get back to .500 and keep pace in a tough West Division.

Calgary Stampeders @ Winnipeg Blue Bombers, July 8, 02:30 CET (2:30 am, 8:30 pm July 7 EDT)

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