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Game Preview: Lions look to clinch playoff berth in Winnipeg

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Trevor Knapp Oct 08, 2016 3:34 am

The BC Lions will square off against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Saturday boasting a 9-4 record and, with a win, will seal a spot in this year’s playoffs. The Lions currently hold the longest active postseason streak in the CFL, and are set to extend it to 20 years in a row.

This will be no easy test however, as the 8-6 Bombers are coming off two straight losses, and are looking to get back on a hot streak.

Here’s three things to watch during Saturday afternoon’s contest.

Matchup

BC Lions (9-4) vs Winnipeg Blue Bombers (8-6)

Venue: Investors Group Field, Winnipeg

Date/Time: Saturday, October 8 at 1 pm

TV: TSN

Radio: TSN 1040

Lineup

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1. Lineup changes

Wide receiver Shawn Gore has been ruled out after leaving last week’s win with concussion-like symptoms, while right tackle Antonio Johnson will be replaced by offensive tackle Kevin Palmer, after Johnson injured his ankle during Tuesday’s practice.

Bishop University product Stephen Adekolu will start at the wideout position in Gore’s place.

2. Andrew Harris faces old team

Former Lions running back Andrew Harris returns to the Winnipeg lineup Saturday, after recovering from an ankle body injury sustained in the Bombers’ Banjo Bowl victory over Saskatchewan in early September.

Harris struggled in the Bombers new offence to start the season alongside the likes of first-year Bomber Weston Dressler, but really got hot up until that injury in which he was recovering from.

The former Vancouver Island Raider ran for two CFL All-Star selections, two more West Division All-Star nods, as well as the Most Outstanding Canadian in the 2011 Grey Cup as a part of the Leos organization from 2009-2015.

3. Pressure Matt Nichols

Since the promotion of veteran backup Matt Nichols into the starting lineup, the Bombers have come back from the dead after a dreadful 1-4 start to the season.

The Bombers won seven straight games when Nichols became the main man under centre, and he has enjoyed throwing the ball with a solid completion percentage of 68.7% through 11 games this season, and a quarterback efficiency rating of 100.3.

The Lions defensive line had trouble creating pressure on Ottawa QB Trevor Harris last week, so wreaking havoc in the trenches this time around will be one of the unit’s top priorities this time around.

Prediction

23-21 BC.

Although the crowd in Winnipeg will (and should be) fired up for this one, and even when you factor in that the Lions are slight underdogs today, BC is simply the better team. The Lions are the only team in the league right now that can really give West leading Calgary a run for their money, and Jonathon Jennings’ team will continue to show that with a win in the Peg’.


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Trevor Knapp
Daily Hive Vancouver sports writer

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