July 10, 2023

Power Rankings: Some rare calm water

Kevin Sousa/CFL.ca

TORONTO — After a three-week stretch that saw three different No. 1 teams in the CFL.ca Power Rankings, we have a semblance of stability as we wade into Week 6.

The top of the rankings remain unchanged primarily because the top-ranked Toronto Argonauts had a bye in Week 5. Both the BC Lions and Winnipeg Blue Bombers (second and third, respectively) won, so they’ve stayed the same and that created…well, what’s the opposite of a ripple effect? An anti-ripple effect? Calm waters? That’s what we have through much of this week’s edition of the Power Rankings.

The one place where change is felt in these rankings sits, appropriately with the Ottawa REDBLACKS. Jeremiah Masoli‘s non-contact injury was a gutting one to witness and while everyone hopes for the best for him, the unrelenting show must go on. The prospects of Masoli not in the lineup — and compounded by last week’s news that Tyrie Adams is out with a torn ACL — has led to the REDBLACKS’ stock taking a hit this week.

Of course, what’s static can get jolted in the matter of one week, or one upset win. Here’s how things shake out this week, as the Argos come back from their bye and the Lions slide into theirs.

» Steinberg’s MMQB: How the West is being won
Landry’s five takeaways from Week 5
» Watch: Timber Mart’s Plays of the Week
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1. Toronto Argonauts (3-0)

Last week: 1
Last game: 45-24 win over BC 

Next game: At Montreal, Fri. July 14

Worth noting: The Argos come out of their second bye week of this young season and head out on the road for an East Division showdown with the Alouettes in Montreal. Given what’s transpired with the REDBLACKS in Week 5, might we be getting a very early look at a possible East Final pairing?

2. BC Lions (4-1)

Last week: 2
Last game: 35-19 win over Montreal

Next game: Vs. Saskatchewan, Sat. July 22

Worth noting: Vernon Adams Jr. and the Lions put their dispiriting loss to the Argos behind them with a solid win over the Als. Shaun Shivers made an impact at running back (remember when that position was a question mark for this team, six weeks back or so?) and with a bye, the Lions can hope that Taquan Mizzell continues to heal up ahead of the Lions’ July 22 game against the Riders.

3. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (4-1)

Last week: 3
Last game: 24-11 win over Calgary
Next game: At Ottawa, Sat. July 15

Worth noting: Things in Bomber land feel a little more normal now that the team is back on a win streak. Props to Greg McCrae, who stepped in and played like a star with his opportunity against the Stamps. The warning that we gave last week to the Riders can apply here as well this week, with a Bombers’ trip to Ottawa in the wings: beware the trap game.

4. Saskatchewan Roughriders (3-1)

Last week: 4
Last game: 12-11 win over Edmonton

Next game: Vs. Calgary, Sat. July 15

Worth noting: We turn last week’s Fast and the Furious quote from the REDBLACKS’ section to the Riders this week: it doesn’t matter whether you win by an inch or a mile (or a centimetre or kilometre), winning is winning. Is there something to build on from all three of the Riders’ wins coming by the skin of their teeth? The Riders will tell you yes, there is. Their fans might like a sliver of comfort in the next W.

5. Montreal Alouettes (2-2)

Last week: 5
Last game: 35-19 loss to BC

Next game: Vs. Toronto, Fri. July 14

Worth noting: The Als were stymied by the Lions on Sunday at BC Place, but there were also examples of offensive disconnect in the second half. Cody Fajardo and his offensive teammates will need to iron that out quickly this week, as they ready to host the first-place Argos on Friday.

6. Calgary Stampeders (1-3)

Last week: 6
Last game: 24-11 loss to Winnipeg
Next game: At Saskatchewan, Sat. July 15

Worth noting: With Ka’Deem Carey, Malik Henry, Peyton Logan and Josh Coker highlighting a lengthy injury list for the Stamps, R.E.M.’s Everybody Hurts comes to mind. That slow, melancholy feeling might loom for Stamps fans right now, as their team is off to an uncharacteristic but not entirely unfamiliar start. If they’re looking for some hope, they can look back to the 2021 season and the team’s 2-5 start that turned into an 8-6 finish and a playoff appearance. We’re almost a third of the way through the season, but it’s still young.

7. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (1-3)

Last week: 8
Last game: 21-13 loss to Montreal 

Next game: At Edmonton, Thurs. July 13

Worth noting: After an unsettling first three games, the Ticats picked up their first win of the season this past week. Now, they head to Edmonton and have a chance at building some momentum, if they can extend the Elks’ home losing streak one more game. Depending on the severity of Masoli’s injury, the balance of the East Division may have shifted somewhat. The Ticats face Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal in their games after this one in Edmonton. There’s an opportunity there for them to make their presence felt in the East over the next month.

8. Ottawa REDBLACKS (1-3)

Last week: 7
Last game: 21-13 loss to Hamilton 

Next game: Vs. Winnipeg, Sat. July 15

Worth noting: The loss stings, but seeing Jeremiah Masoli on crutches in his first game back from injury is a crushing blow for both REDBLACKS fans and fans of the league. The game does the REDBLACKS no favours, as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers roll into town on Saturday, intent on adding to their now two-game win streak.

9. Edmonton Elks (0-5)

Last week: 9
Last game: 12-11 loss to Saskatchewan 

Next game: Vs. Hamilton, Thurs. July 13

Worth noting: You’ll be hard pressed to find a tougher loss for a now 0-5 team to get over. The reality is that this is where the Elks sit and the only ones that will get them out of this slump are sitting in that locker room. For better or worse, every team that sits at 0-5 no doubt looks at the 2011 BC Lions, who also sat in that very spot in the standings before turning their season around and winning the Grey Cup. It’s a tough mountain to climb, but you take the inspiration that you can get in these moments.

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