TORONTO — One week into the 2023 season, a couple of teams have given us reason to think of the late, great Dennis Green.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the BC Lions are what we thought they were: Two clubs with a ton of talent that are capable of putting up a lot of points in short, effective bursts.
Vernon Adams Jr. and the Lions got it started for us on Thursday night with a great first quarter against the Calgary Stampeders. Then Zach Collaros and the Blue Bombers took the field and played like the Lions had left an open challenge to them to do something better. Collaros threw three touchdown passes in the first quarter, helping to blow open their game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. While neither team was perfect in their Week 1 wins, they showed enough to hold on to the top two spots in this week’s edition of the CFL.ca Power Rankings.
Things also got interesting at the bottom of our rankings. The Montreal Alouettes squeezed out a win over the Ottawa REDBLACKS to move up, but it may not be enough of a move up in some people’s eyes. Keep in mind that we’re just a week in and that there’s still a lot of time for teams to make moves as they build their identities.
» Steinberg’s MMQB: Three early season award picks
» Landry’s five takeaways from Week 1
» Watch: Timber Mart’s Plays of the Week
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1. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1-0)
Last week: 1
Last game: 42-31 win over Hamilton
Next game: At Saskatchewan, Fri. June 16
Worth noting: The Bombers stepped onto IG Field and announced to the league that they plan on being just as dominant as they’ve been the last two full seasons, even if this one didn’t start with a banner raising/ring ceremony. Zach Collaros (three touchdowns and 189 passing yards in the first quarter!) provided an incredible performance out of the gate.
2. BC Lions (1-0)
Last week: 2
Last game: 25-15 win over Calgary
Next game: Vs. Edmonton, Thurs. June 17
Worth noting: Speaking of strong quarterback performances, Vernon Adams Jr. came out firing against the Stamps with a perfect 9-9 opening drive. Also impressive was the Lions’ defensive effort. They had three sacks on Jake Maier and forced the Calgary pivot into a 154-yard, one-touchdown night. Now they head home to host the Elks (and LL Cool J) in their home opener.
3. Toronto Argonauts (0-0)
Last week: 3
Last week: bye
Next game: Vs. Hamilton, Fri. June 18
Worth noting: The Argos’ latest Grey Cup banner goes up on Sunday and 10,000 replica Grey Cup rings will be handed out at BMO Field (who doesn’t love a replica ring?). The lights go on and things get real for Chad Kelly and the Argos this week. Consistent play from their new starter will be the key to them opening the season with a win.
4. Saskatchewan Roughriders (1-0)
Last week: 6
Last game: 17-13 win over Edmonton
Next game: Vs. Winnipeg, Fri. June 16
Worth noting: Sacks allowed? Just two. Crucial, character-building goal line stands to help preserve a win? One very big one. The win is ultimately all that matters, but a win like that? That’s the kind of win that this Riders team (and maybe their fans) needed.
5. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (0-1)
Last week: 5
Last game: 42-31 loss to Winnipeg
Next game: At Toronto, Fri. June 18
Worth noting: It’s not often you’ll see a team score a special teams touchdown and a defensive touchdown and still lose a game. Discipline should be high on the Ticats’ list of things to clean up before Friday’s game against the Argos. They were whistled 14 times for 121 yards. Among those penalties was a belly flop — ask a pro wrestling fan in your life for a more technical breakdown — on an opponent from d-lineman Mo Diallo.
6. Calgary Stampeders (0-1)
Last week: 4
Last game: 25-15 loss to BC
Next game: At Ottawa, Thurs. June 15
Worth noting: A disappointing start to the season for Jake Maier and the Stamps, as they were stifled much of the night against the Lions in just about all facets of the game. A trip to Ottawa, where the REDBLACKS have struggled at home and are already banged up, could be just the tonic for Dave Dickenson’s team.
7. Edmonton Elks (0-1)
Last week: 8
Last game: 17-13 loss to Saskatchewan
Next game: At BC, Sat. June 17
Worth noting: The Elks will have to put being on the wrong side of that goal line stand behind them quickly. Spectacular Eugene Lewis TD catch aside, the team needs to get its offence going in Week 2. A 3-17 showing on second down won’t get it done this year.
8. Montreal Alouettes (1-0)
Last week: 9
Last game: 19-12 win over Ottawa
Next game: At Hamilton, Fri. June 23
Worth noting: Not the prettiest performance from the Als, but they started their season with a win. Cody Fajardo may have some oracle in him, after predicting going into Week 1 that the team had some gems at receiver that he was excited for people to discover. First up: Austin Mack and his four-catch, 120-yard game.
9. Ottawa REDBLACKS (0-1)
Last week: 7
Last game: 19-12 loss to Montreal
Next game: Vs. Calgary, Thurs. June 15
Worth noting: An injury-riddled team didn’t muster much of an offensive showing against the Als. As backup QB Nick Arbuckle told reporters after his three-interception showing, they need more touchdowns and less field goals going forward. This week: an opportunity to put the team’s home losing streak to bed