WINNIPEG —; With the Winnipeg Blue Bombers failing to get any help over the final weekend of the regular season, they’ll open the playoffs on the road. The Bombers will travel to Vancouver to tangle with the B.C. Lions in Sunday’s West Division Semifinal and there’s a new feeling of excitement around the team as they begin the quest for the Grey Cup.
“You definitely don’t take these opportunities for granted,” said veteran receiver Weston Dressler.
Dressler is in his ninth season in the CFL. He won one Grey Cup with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and knows these chances don’t come along every day.
“Playing as long as I have, been in the playoffs quite a bit but I’ve also missed a couple times. And it’s not fun to be at home.” Dressler said.
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“It’s what you always play for,” said quarterback Matt Nichols. “You don’t know how many times you get an opportunity like this, so you know that this exact team isn’t going to be together next year, so just as a team we’re excited to go on this journey together.”
The Bombers are listed as five point underdogs for the division semifinal but defeated the Lions in both their regular season meetings.
“This team has the talent and has the want to, to go in and win and we feel like we can play with anyone,” Nichols said. “Your goals is to get into the playoffs because you never know what can happen in the playoffs. We feel very confident in our abilities to go in and win this football game.”
When the Bombers face the Lions on Sunday it’ll be the first playoff game for the franchise since the 2011 Grey Cup game which was also coincidentally against the Lions. For many on the team this will be their first taste of the playoffs, but there’s still plenty of post-season experience around the dressing room.
“I played in the Western semifinal against Saskatchewan,” said Nichols. “I think it was -20 degrees or something and I think we won that game like 18-5, so I do have a playoff start.”
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“I think the biggest thing for me as a younger player when I experienced my first time in the playoffs, you notice just how much the intensity level of the game has risen,” said Dressler. “You feel like you’re giving everything you got throughout a season, once you get to the playoffs you find a way to dig a little deeper.”
Playing on the road is obviously not ideal but keep in mind this is a Bombers team that went 7-2 on the road in the regular season.
“We don’t look at it as a road game or a home game,” said defensive back Chris Randle. “We go out there and try to prepare for each game the same and go out there and give maximum effort. It’s something about how we execute in road games that’s been working well for us.”
The Bombers won’t practice again until Wednesday. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 pm central time on Sunday.
WATCH: Raw Matt Nichols Interview