LIVESTREAM PPV: CFL – Winnipeg Blue Bombers @Edmonton Eskimos, Friday, Aug. 23, 7p (9p EDT, 3a Aug. 24, CEDT)

EDMONTON — The top spot in the West Division is on the line between two of the league’s best teams.

Winnipeg (7-2) and Edmonton (6-3) will do battle in a Friday night encounter at the Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium. It’s their first meeting since June when the Bombers edged the Esks 28-21 at Investors Group Field.

Not only will a victory for the Bombers further their lead atop the division, but it’ll also give them the tiebreaker over their fellow division opponent. But Bombers coach Mike O’Shea is keeping things simple for his team.

» Depth Charts: WPG | EDM

“We’re not talking about playing for first,” O’Shea said. “We’re talking about beating Edmonton and how do we do that, and what do we need to do. What focus do we need? Where is our attention on our play? To be a better team than we were last week and to win a football game against a division opponent.

“It’s not really about the record or about their record or about first place,”

Meanwhile, Edmonton will try to keep their home record perfect. Quarterback Trevor Harris will carry the load for the Green & Gold. The 33-year old also leads the league in passing yards (3,051), completions (260), and touchdown passes (19). Harris is on pace to become the first quarterback in franchise history to throw for more than 6,000 yards in a season and break team records for completions and completion percentage.

Harris is also not preoccupied with the division lead fight, nor is he with whichever team is in front of him.

“I am never going to short you on effort, no matter what day of the week we’re playing, or who we’re playing, or what time of the year it is,” Harris said.

“This is years in the making,” Esks head coach Jason Maas said. “Eight years worth of experience combined with a work ethic that is second to none. If you saw what he does on a day-to-day basis to play a football game, you’d be shocked. I’m surprised, and I’ve been around some great quarterbacks. What he does to prepare himself to play is literally as good as I’ve seen.”

On the other side, Winnipeg starts Chris Streveler under centre. Quarterback Matt Nichols is out with an upper-body injury for the next four-to-six weeks, per the Winnipeg Blue Bombers website. The second-year quarterback has a pro record of 1-3 in his Canadian Football League career, but he’s amped for the Friday night game.

“I am just looking forward to going out there and playing tomorrow,” Streveler said. “It’s going to be a great game. Hopefully a good crowd. I know they’re going to come with a lot of energy.”

“He’ll be ready. That’s one thing you never have to worry about that guy.” Bombers quarterback coach Buck Pierce said.

Both teams also boast impenetrable defences, averaging less than 20 points allowed a game (WPG – 17.4, EDM 17.6). Edmonton, in addition, is the league-leader in sacks (30). Winnipeg is fourth (22).

“They’re good,” said Bombers slotback Nic Demski. “They play aggressive, they play fast. Their D-line causes a lot of noise up front. They’re the tone setters for that team and as long as we take care of that problem up front, we should be OK. They’re going to hit you in the mouth if you don’t hit them first.”

Canadian defensive back Dexter Janke will also draw into the lineup Friday for Winnipeg, along with defensive end Alex McCalister who was cut by the Bombers during training camp. Defensive back Marcus Rios will also be included in the lineup. Winnipeg will be without defensive end Chris Roh due to injury. Canadian running back Andrew Harris didn’t finish practice Tuesday, but he’ll start at running back.

Edmonton’s inclusions this week include fullback Calvin McCarty, who starts at fullback after being added from the practice roster earlier in the week. Offensive lineman Eric Lofton was also brought from the practice squad, and he’ll back up Kyle Saxelid at left tackle.

Defensive back Brian Walker will also be in the lineup, along with backup linebacker Blair Smith, as well as Carleton alum and right guard Kwabena Asare.

BY THE NUMBERS:

100 – Friday will mark Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea’s 100th career game as a Canadian Football League coach. His record is 52-47.

14 – Bombers running back Andrew Harris is 14 touchdowns away from matching Sean Millington’s record for most touchdowns scored by a Canadian. Harris is fifth on the all-time list.

22 – Trevor Harris has had that many consecutive games with over 20 completed passes in a game. He’s three games away from breaking the record set by Ricky Ray between 2005 and 2006.

3 – Edmonton has allowed three sacks all season. The fewest sacks allowed by a team through a full CFL season was seven, set by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 1999.

– With files from BlueBombers.com/Esks.com

AFI, Yare Media and the CFL

American Football International is collaborating with Yare Media and the Canadian Football League to present 2019 CFL games live. This is more than a livestream. This is a stream of the top flight TSN network television broadcast.

LIVE STREAM PPV: CFL –Winnipeg Blue Bombers @Edmonton Eskimos, Friday, Aug. 23, 7p (9p EDT, 3a Aug. 24, CEDT)

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