Wary of ticking Bomb

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:24 AM ET

WINNIPEG -- On paper, this matchup is lopsided.

On one side, the Calgary Stampeders are solid in every facet, coming off a blowout win that made them 3-1 on the season.

Facing them is a team in turmoil, losers of four straight and dealing with fresh faces in the lineup.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are switching their quarterback and replacing their middle linebacker, plus they don't have their emotional leader due to injury.

Easy pickings, right? Forget that notion.

The Stampeders have a history of taking struggling teams lightly, especially on the road, which makes tonight's visit to Canad Inns Stadium (6 p.m., TSN) much more interesting than it would first appear.

"I would rather be going into Saskatchewan this week instead of Winnipeg," said Stamps safety Wes Lysack about the 4-0 Roughriders.

"I compare it to the last couple of years where we've played Hamilton in this situation. The hardest games to play are the ones against teams desperate for wins.

"It's especially true for a team like Winnipeg because they aren't a 0-4 team. For whatever reason, that is their record right now. When they start playing the way they can, they will be a lot different than 0-4."

The Bombers offence ranks dead last in yardage this season, so that means No. 1 pivot Kevin Glenn shoulders the blame and will take a seat in favour of Ryan Dinwiddie.

Perennial CFL rushing leader Charles Roberts ranks eighth in yardage and has just a 4.1-yard average.

The CFL's leading tackler, Barrin Simpson, tore a pectoral muscle last week and is out for the season. That can't help a defence that is ranked dead last with 424 yards allowed per game.

Plus the Bombers won't get star receiver Milt Stegall back until next week.

The Stamps just so happen to be first in offensive yardage and third in defence, making this even more lopsided.

"I'm not real concerned about (numbers)," said Stamps head coach John Hufnagel. "I am concerned that they are a talented, veteran football team. They are playing at home and are up for the game. We need to make sure we do everything possible to win this game."

The biggest worry from a Calgary standpoint is the upcoming home-and-home series with the undefeated defending Grey Cup champion Riders starting next weekend at McMahon Stadium. If the Stamps get caught looking ahead, they could be road kill once again. In the past two seasons, the Stamps have won only one game outside of Alberta.

"They need to look at us as a serious opponent because they should know we have a good team," said Blue Bombers left tackle Alex Gauthier, who played with the Stamps in 2005 and 2006.

The last time the Bombers played at home, they were booed off the field by disgruntled fans. They've lost again since then, in B.C., so they know there are high expectations to turn it around.

"Especially after what we were able to do last year," Gauthier said about winning the East Division title but losing the Grey Cup to Saskatchewan. "All off-season, people talked about us as Grey Cup contenders. After our start, they want us to do better. People here feel part of the team, so they are hard on us.

"It's positive because we probably needed a slap in the face to make sure we actually give everything we got. They pay their money to see the show, and we need to give them a good one."

Lysack is sure once the Bombers stop the bleeding, his former team will be dangerous.

"It's almost a snowball effect," Lysack said. "When things are going bad, they seem to continue to go bad.

"Then if it goes well, then it snowballs good as well ... They need to right the ship and will try to do that this week."


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