LIVESTREAM PPV: CFL – Winnipeg Blue Bombers @Ottawa REDBLACKS, Friday, July 5, 7:30p EDT (1:30a July 6, CEDT)

OTTAWA — When the dust settles, one team will remain undefeated for the first time in some time.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers look to improve their record to 3-0 against another undefeated team in the Canadian Football League, the Ottawa REDBLACKS, in a Friday night matchup at TD Place in Ottawa.

The REDBLACKS are coming off a bye week and haven’t played since their high scoring affair in Week 2 versus the Saskatchewan Roughriders, which resulted in a 44-41 victory in Regina. Meanwhile, Winnipeg edged Edmonton 28-21 in their Week 3 game at home. Quarterback Matt Nichols threw three touchdowns for 200 yards in the win.

Bombers receiver Chris Matthews is happy with how his offence has been clicking — they have 61 points through two games — but feels there’s more to come.

“As an offence, there’s a whole lot of room for us to grow. There’s so much stuff,” Matthews told BlueBombers.com. “We’re 2-0 right now, but there’s no telling where we can go. We have a lot, but we really haven’t evolved yet.”

» Depth Charts: WPG | OT

Matthews’ debut in 2019 was a quiet one, hauling in just two passes for 16 yards. He was overshadowed by emerging star Lucky Whitehead, who caught touchdown passes of 75 and 41 yards while racking up 155 yards on seven catches.

On the defensive side, Winnipeg has also allowed the second-fewest points among CFL teams with 44. Defensive back Marcus Sayles also thinks his team can still improve.

“We just want to be more mentally focused on what we messed up on,” Sayles said. “Our defence isn’t at its peak. We messed up a lot. Granted, we still played good and we’ve gotten our wins but we can be so much better at everything that we’ve done.

As for the REDBLACKS, they have a number of former Blue Bombers set to play against their former team, including quarterback Dominique Davis. But the pivot won’t let friendships with former teammates get in the way.

“It’s family outside the lines but inside the lines things are different,” Davis said. “Each team’s trying to get a W and I just hope we come out with a W.”

Defensive back Chris Randle is also a former Bomber. The 31-year old spent five seasons in Winnipeg before joining Ottawa this past off-season.

“I saw (the game) on my schedule so I got my mind ready for it,” Randle said. “It’s going to be an exciting time to go out there and play the next game.”

The Bombers will be without 30-year old linebacker Adam Bighill Friday. The Montesano, Wash. native missed practice earlier in the week and is now on his team’s one-game injured list. He suited up Monday, but Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea felt it was better to rest him.

“It’s probably the best decision to give him a little more time,” O’Shea said. “He probably didn’t have that final gear that he probably needs.”

He’ll be replaced by linebacker Kyrie Wilson, who moves over from his usual WILL linebacker position, while Jesse Briggs and Nick Temple will take Wilson’s place.

Despite coming off the bye week, the REDBLACKS will have to adapt with a couple of players out of the lineup and on the one-game injured list, including linebacker Nicolas Boulay and defensive lineman Michael Klassen.

The silver lining, according to REDBLACKS head coach Rick Campbell? Local depth. Five of the seven players entering the lineup are Canadian, including offensive lineman Philippe Gagnon, slotback Nate Behar, and linebacker Mickael Cote.

“We have some pretty good players that aren’t playing,” Campbell said. “Good news right now that we have Canadian depth.”

BY THE NUMBERS

22.6 — Since 2014, both the REDBLACKS and Bombers average the same number of first downs per game in matchups against each other. Considering they’ve each won the same number of games against each other since 2014 (5), no surprise that they’re so close.

7 — Matt Nichols has won seven consecutive starts dating to 2018, matching a career-best streak from July-Sept. 2016.

3-0 — Both teams will look to start 3-0 for the first time in quite a while. Ottawa hasn’t started a season with three straight wins since 2004, when they were known as the Renegades. Winnipeg last started 3-0 in 2014. They’ve only done it twice since 1988.

57 — Ottawa REDBLACKS kicker Lewis Ward has made 57 kicks in a row and has missed only once in his career (a 48-yard kick on June 21, 2018).

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: CFL – Winnipeg Blue Bombers @Ottawa REDBLACKS, Friday, July 5, 7:30p EDT (1:30a July 6, CEDT)

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