Bombers in CFL playoff hunt: Daley

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 12:19 PM ET

The Hatfields have taken the hill and are ready to pick off the last of the McCoys before they can even launch one last, desperate assault.

Winnipeg's arch-rival, the Saskatchewan Roughriders, are poised to kick their prairie cousins while they are down in yet another on-field feud at Canad Inns Stadium tonight.

The last-place Blue Bombers sneak into the second annual Banjo Bowl with a lowly 3-8 record but are only two points back of Saskatchewan (4-6) in the CFL West. The Calgary Stampeders (5-6) are four points ahead of the Bombers after last night's 16-11 win over the Edmonton Eskimos.

"We're facing a team that obviously has their backs against the wall," said Saskatchewan head coach Danny Barrett. "Every time we come in here, it seems like there's a situation like that. Those guys have a lot of pride here in what they do. It's a big game. There's a lot at stake for both teams here.

"There's still a lot of football left to be played. I don't think anybody's out of the woods yet but, more importantly, we think about ourselves because it gives us an opportunity to hopefully climb higher on the ladder."

A victory would vault the Roughriders four points ahead of Winnipeg with a game in hand.

REDUNDANT

"It's getting a little redundant saying it week after week but this game is actually critical to our survival to have any hope of going into the playoffs," said Winnipeg placekicker Troy Westwood, whose "insults" were the basis for the Banjo Bowl.

"Despite ourselves, we're still very much in a playoff hunt," said Bombers head coach Jim Daley. "(But) all of the discussion of playoff potential and crossover potential is meaningless unless we return to form."

Not only must the Bombers return to the form displayed when they posted two straight victories, they must start winning -- a lot.

"I hate to keep saying it but we are still in the playoff race," said Bombers linebacker Ryland Wickman. "You look at the other teams and they aren't winning and running away from us so, we are staying in the race. But we need to start winning because, if we keep losing, we are going to be out of it."

Saskatchewan sunk the Bombers 45-26 Sunday and has already won the season series, pushing Blue playoff hopes to the precipice.

FRUSTRATED

"I was frustrated last week and I'm ready to go out there and get some payback and show everybody that, hey, that ain't the defence that we are out here," Wickman said. "After last week's performance, there were a lot of doubters -- and rightfully so. Now, we need to go out there and get these people back on our side."

Actually, the Bombers are expecting a packed park tonight.

"You just treat it like any other game you need to win," suggested Winnipeg quarterback Kevin Glenn. "It will be different just because it's the Banjo Bowl and it's a western team but it's still a (needed) win. The significance of the game may be higher than any other game (thus far) but it's still a win."

Make that a must-win.

"It's going to be tough coming here trying to win," said Saskatchewan quarterback Marcus Crandell. "This is still a big game for us. We don't want to go back to Square 1 so we definitely need this win."

Saskatchewan snapped a five-game losing skid last week.

"Our team got a lot of momentum and we want to carry it on (tonight) and the rest of the season," said Roughriders tailback Kenton Keith.

NOTE: The Bombers will honour SB Milt Stegall for establishing a CFL record 119 TD receptions in a pre-game ceremony tonight.


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