Blue Bombers, Lions square off in battle of unbeaten West Division teams

It has been quite the start to the 2023 CFL season for Zach Collaros and Vernon Adams Jr.

The two veteran quarterbacks are ranked first and second in CFL passing through the opening two weeks. More importantly, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and B.C. Lions both sport 2-0 records heading into their showdown Thursday night at IG Field.

Collaros, the CFL’s outstanding player the last two seasons, leads the league in passing yards (647) and touchdown tosses (five) and has yet to throw an interception. He has completed 44-of-61 passes (72.1 per cent).

Adams is second in passing yards (624) but tops the CFL in completion percentage (74.6), having completed 53-of-71 passes. He has three TDs with two interceptions.

Not surprisingly, Winnipeg leads the CFL in offensive points scored (39-point average) and offensive touchdowns (nine). The Bombers are also tops in net offensive yards (437 per game).

B.C. is third in offensive points (23 per game) and second in offensive yards (426) and tied for second in offensive TDs (four). The Lions are coming off a 22-0 home win over Edmonton but the Bombers have posted consecutive 40-point contests, including last week’s 45-27 decision over the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

The shutout was B.C.’s first since a 30-0 victory over the Toronto Argonauts in August 1977.

Receiver Dominique Rhymes (foot) won’t play for Lions but receiver Lucky Whitehead (hamstring) will be available.

Winnipeg running back Brady Oliveira (thorax) is listed as a game-time decision.

The Bombers have won six of their last seven meetings against B.C., the Lions’ lone win coming last season with Adams under centre. But Collaros has won all four of his starts against the Lions while with Winnipeg and sports an overall 63-36 mark.

What’s more, no West Division club has won in Winnipeg since Saskatchewan did so during the ’18 campaign. If the Lions can manage to do so, they’ll be 3-0 for a second straight year, something they haven’t done since 1994-95.

This is a rematch of last year’s West Division final, which Winnipeg won 28-20. This will undoubtedly be the game of the week in the CFL but until a team shows it can beat the Bombers at home, here’s going with Winnipeg.

Pick: Winnipeg.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

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