STREAMING CFL PPV Western Final: BC Lions @ Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Nov. 13, 22:30 CET (10:30 pm, 4:30 pm ET)

The BC Lions have been the surprise of the CFL.

Few expected the Lions to win 12 games and finish second in the West. No one predicted Canadian-born quarterback Nathan Rourke would be the talk of the league. Who thought the Lions would keep winning even after Rourke was lost for eight games with a foot injury.

Come Sunday, in the Western Final against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, the Lions hope to pull one more rabbit out of the hat.

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“It’s less about being the spoiler and more about doing this team justice,” said Rourke, the West’s nominee as the league’s Most Outstanding Canadian. “I don’t think we’ve played our best football yet.

“I think it’s great that people aren’t picking us to win, because all the pressure isn’t on us. It’s on them, right? They’re supposed to win. They’re supposed to three-peat. We’ve got nothing to lose and it’s a good place to be in.”

Like a young boxer, the Lions know they will need to deliver a knockout blow to beat the champ when they face the Bombers at IG Field. The winner advances to the Grey Cup which will be played on November 20th from Mosaic Stadium in Regina.

As the Lions travel to Winnipeg for the Western Final, the forecast calls for clouds and temperatures between minus-five and minus-10 celsius.

Watch the game live here PPV. BC Lions @ Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Nov. 13, 22:30 CET (10:30 pm, 4:30 pm ET)

The two-time defending Grey Cup champion Bombers finished 15-3 this year, the most regular season wins in franchise history.

Quarterback Zach Collaros is on track to win his second consecutive Most Outstanding Player award after completing 305 of 436 passes for 4,183 yards, a league-leading 37 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

One of his favourite targets is Dalton Schoen, the West’s nominee as the top rookie, who led all receivers with 1,441 yards on 107 catches. He also led the league with 16 touchdowns while averaging 20.6 yards a catch.

The Bombers rushing tandem of Brady Oliveira and Johnny Augustine helped Winnipeg finish with the second highest rushing average in the league, running for 113.5 yards a game.

The Bombers averaged 29.9 points, second most in the league, and allowed 20.6, the least.

While the Lions are happy to wear the underdog label, the Bombers’ experience in big games gives them a quiet confidence.

“They are certainly not relying on any past results,” head coach Mike O’Shea said about his players preparation. “They are relying on the information they have gathered from past work habits.

“They know what it takes in terms of the effort, the focus, the elimination of distractions. They have a very good understanding of what it will take.”

Winnipeg beat the Lions in two of their three meetings this year, including a 43-22 statement game at BC Place in July, a time when some people were questioning how good the Bombers really were.

Collaros said the Bombers can’t afford to take the Lions lightly.

“I think it’s a good matchup,” he said. “They are in the position they are for a reason, as are we. Their (defence) is a great group. They are physical, they play hard. Their secondary has experienced guys. They are fast, they understand concepts in this league. Their front four really gets after the passer. It’s going to be a great challenge for us.”

The Lions advanced to the Western Final with a 30-16 decision over the Calgary Stampeders last Sunday. It was BC’s first playoff win since 2016.

Rourke completed 22 of 30 passes for 321 yards and two touchdowns. Running back James Butler ground out 95 yards on 20 carries.

The Lions defence held Ka’Deem Carey, the league’s leading rusher, to just 43 yards on eight carries and twice forced Calgary to turn the ball over on downs.

The Lions offence did not have any two-and-outs and moved the ball across mid-field eight times in Calgary territory.

Rourke thinks BC has the ability to play even better.

“When we played them in the summer, I don’t think I played my best game,” said the Victoria native who threw for 3,349 yards and had a league-leading 78.7 completion ratio in his first full season as a starter. “We’ve got to play our best football. It’s taking care of the ball, putting together long drives and putting points up. I think we’ve shown glimpses of that through the season but we’re due for all those things to click and hopefully that comes Sunday.”

The Lions will be without receiver Lucky Whitehead, who also missed the Semi-Final with an ankle injury. BC still has 1,000-yard receivers Dominque Rhymes and Keon Hatcher, plus sure-handed veteran Bryan Burnham.

Veteran left tackle Joel Figueroa will return after missing last week’s game with a shoulder injury and will help protect Rourke from Winnipeg defensive ends Willie Jefferson and Jackson Jeffcoat who combined for 11 sacks this year.

“They are a great group, they all play together,” said Figueroa. “That’s why they are at the level they’re playing at. Like any other week we respect our opponent but we go out there expecting to do big things.”

O’Shea said like most games, the Western Final could be decided by, “some sort of plays made or plays not made.”

One player capable of deciding the game is Winnipeg returner Janarion Grant.

Grant returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown in the first meeting between the teams. He also returned five punts for 172 yards and a touchdown in Winnipeg’s 40-32 loss to BC in Week 19.

“He’s tough, he’s courageous, he’s not a timid soul back there,” O’Shea said.  “When he’s got the ball in his hands, he’s going to enter that fray.”

Lions linebacker Bo Lokombo, who has 10 special team tackles this year, agreed Grant has the potential to be a game changer.

“He’s one of those guys who is a good returner but he’s not unstoppable,” he said.

Lokombo remembers some of the pre-season predictions had the Lions missing the playoffs for the fourth time in five years.

“We knew we were going to be a great team,” he said. “Now we’re playing Winnipeg, a two-time champion. “It’s going to be a tough challenge, but it’s going to be exciting. We are going to bring our A game.”

AFI, Visaic and the CFL

American Football International is collaborating with Visaic and the Canadian Football League to present 2022 CFL games live. This is more than a livestream. This is a stream of the topflight TSN network television broadcast.

Watch the game live here PPV. BC Lions @ Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Nov. 13, 22:30 CET (10:30 pm, 4:30 pm ET)

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