Streveler the Bombers' starter now with incumbent Nichols injured

Chris Streveler is again the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' starting quarterback.

The second-year pro will be under centre for the foreseeable future with incumbent Matt Nichols (upper body) on the six-game injured list. Nichols was injured in Winnipeg's 32-16 win over B.C. last week and will be re-evaluated in four-to-six weeks but won't require surgery.

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So Streveler will start Friday night when Winnipeg (7-2) visits the Edmonton Eskimos (6-3) in a battle of the West Division's top two teams. It will be just his fifth career start.

The six-foot-one, 216-pound Streveler opened last season as Winnipeg's starter after Nichols suffered a calf injury during training camp. The 24-year-old posted a 1-2 record but proved to be a dual threat, completing 54-of-86 passes (58.2 per cent) for 570 yards with six TDs and two interceptions while rushing for 183 yards and two TDs on 22 carries (8.3-yard average).

Streveler also started in a 33-24 loss to Edmonton last Nov. 3, completing 9-of-15 passes for 190 yards and a touchdown while running 10 times for 76 yards and a TD. The Bombers had already clinched a post-season berth by that time.

Over his CFL career, Streveler is 95-of-156 passing (60.9 per cent) for 1,216 yards with 12 TDs and eight interceptions. He's also run for 617 yards and 15 TDs on 116 carries (5.3-yard average) in 27 contests.

Streveler takes over a Winnipeg offence that's first overall in offensive touchdowns (25) and second in offensive points (26.1 points per game). And while Nicholas completed 171-of-240 passes (71.3 per cent) for 1,936 yards with a CFL-best 15 TD passes and just five interceptions, he didn't record a 300-yard performance this season.

The Bombers have the CFL rushing leader in Winnipeg native Andrew Harris (819 yards) behind a stellar offensive line. The West Division leaders also boast the league's second-best ground game (136.1 yards per game), with Streveler now presenting another threat.

Winnipeg's defence is also ranked first in fewest offensive points allowed (17.4 per game) and most turnovers forced (27) while standing second in fewest offensive TDs allowed (13) and interceptions (13). The Bombers' special teams is tied for first in punt returns (13-yard average) with Montreal, second in big-play returns (eight) and tied for second with B.C. in return TDs (three).

But Edmonton's offence is led by Trevor Harris, the CFL leader in pass attempts (361), completions (260) and yards (3,051) with 13 TDs and just two interceptions. The Eskimos have also allowed a league-low three sacks.

Harris was a one-man show in last week's 41-26 road win over Toronto. He threw for 420 yards and three touchdowns while running for two others.

Edmonton leads the CFL in net offensive yards (433 per game) and passing yards (339). The defence isn't exactly chopped liver, either, with a league-high 30 sacks while standing second in fewest offensive points allowed (17.6).

This contest means plenty to Edmonton, which dropped a 28-21 road decision to Winnipeg on June 27. Here's thinking Harris gives the Eskimos an edge this time around.

Pick: Edmonton.

Ottawa Redblacks versus Saskatchewan Roughriders (Saturday night)

At Regina, this game features two teams heading in different directions. Ottawa (3-6) won the first meeting 44-41 in June but is just 1-6 since. Saskatchewan (5-3) has reeled off wins in five-of-six contests following that loss. What's more, the Riders are home — where they're 3-1 this year — and coming off a bye week. Their defence is also tied for second in sacks registered (25). The Redblacks lost 21-7 last week to Hamilton and are ranked second-last in offensive points (17.3 per game) and net offensive yards (305.8).

Pick: Saskatchewan.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats versus B.C. Lions (Saturday night)

At Vancouver, backup Dane Evans has led Hamilton (7-2) to consecutive wins, including a come-from-behind 35-34 home victory over B.C. (1-8) on Aug. 10. But the Ticats are 14-31-3 all-time in Vancouver and just 1-6 there since 2012. The win was a 24-23 decision in '17 on a late 50-yard field goal by Sergio Castillo, the Lions current kicker. The Leos have allowed a CFL-high 36 sacks, including four in Hamilton, and are 0-3 at B.C. Place Stadium. But the trek west always seems to take a toll on East Division teams.

Pick: B.C.

Montreal Alouettes versus Toronto Argonauts (Sunday afternoon)

At Moncton, N.B., Montreal (4-4) comes off an epic 40-34 overtime win last week over the Calgary Stampeders. Quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. threw for 389 yards and two TDs with two picks while scoring both overtime touchdowns. DeVier Posey and Eugene Lewis both had over 100 yards receiving while Jeremiah Johnson added 107 yards rushing. It continues to be a dismal season for Toronto (1-7), whose inability to score early touchdowns proved costly against Edmonton. The Argos will be the home team but are 1-3 at BMO Field and 0-4 away from it.

Pick: Montreal.

Last week: 3-1.

Overall: 26-13.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version incorrectly had Winnipeg hosting Edmonton this week.

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