August 21, 2023

Power Rankings: Finding ways to win

Kevin Sousa/

TORONTO — There’s a familiar feeling of doom when you watch a team lose one of its most important players to injury.

This season, just about every team in the league has been tested by that sinking feeling. As we move into Week 12, we’re seeing teams take that initial punch to the gut, gather themselves and move forward and find ways to win.

Week 11 was highlighted by that. We saw Caleb Evans dance his way into the end zone for a game-winning touchdown. We saw Dru Brown step in and help the Bombers continue to win without Zach Collaros. On Sunday, Jake Dolegala led the Riders to a huge win over a favoured BC Lions’ squad, providing some direction for the team in the wake of losing Trevor Harris.

Tre Ford didn’t get into the game because of injury, but the once sidelined pivot helped the Elks get their first win of the season in Hamilton, providing a desperately needed boost for a club that’s been on the wrong side of their first nine games this year. Teams are finding ways to win and their efforts are rewarded for that in this week’s edition of’s Power Rankings.

» MMQB: Argos’ Kelly leads mid-season award picks
» Landry’s 5 takeaways from Week 11
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1. Toronto Argonauts (7-1)

Last week: 1
Last game: 44-31 win over Ottawa (Week 10)
Next game: Vs. Calgary, Friday, August 25

Worth noting: The Argos approach the midpoint of their season looking every bit the defending Grey Cup champions. They come out of their third and final bye week with a 10-week gauntlet in front of them as they’ll look to hold on to that top spot in the East Division. They kick that off with a shot at righting the one wrong on their record thus far, when they host the Stamps on Friday at BMO Field.

2. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (8-2)

Last week: 2
Last game: 19-18 win over Calgary
Next game: Vs. Montreal, Thursday, August 24

Worth noting: Dru Brown (17-27, 171 passing yards) stepped in and helped the Bombers grind their way to their eighth win of the season. Demerio Houston‘s pick six also played a big part in that win over the Stamps, coming up with the only touchdown that either team would score on the night. Despite the absence of Zach Collaros, this deep, experienced Bombers team has the most wins in the league.

3. BC Lions (7-3)

Last week: 3
Last game: 34-29 loss to Saskatchewan

Next game: Vs. Hamilton, Saturday, August 26

Worth noting: The Lions encountered a new form of adversity on Sunday, as they weren’t able to complete the comeback against the Riders. The loss to Saskatchewan saw a hobbled Vernon Adams Jr. fight through some pain to put up 455 passing yards and three touchdowns to one interception; part of a five turnover night for the Lions. After losing to the Bombers and Argos this season, the Lions’ loss to the Riders is the first upset they’ve endured. Still, we feel they’ll respond well, with the Tiger-Cats coming to visit this week.

4. Montreal Alouettes (6-3)

Last week: 4
Last game: 25-24 win over Ottawa

Next game: At Winnipeg, Thursday, August 24

Worth noting: Caleb Evans found his way into the end zone and led the Als into the win column for another week. Head coach Jason Maas’ team is finding ways to win — with their streak up to four games now — despite injuries piling up around them. While the Argos have gotten a ton of (justified) hype for their strong start to the season, the Als have very quietly snuck up behind them in the standings, sitting in second in the East and just two points behind the defending Grey Cup champs. This week’s game against Winnipeg should be a good one.

5. Saskatchewan Roughriders (5-5)

Last week: 7
Last game: 34-29 win over BC

Next game: Vs. Winnipeg, Sunday, September 3

Worth noting: Having dropped four of their last five games, the Riders may have scored their biggest win of the season to this point in topping the mighty Lions on Sunday night. Jake Dolegala threw for 239 yards and three touchdowns, while staying clean with a zero-interception showing. The Riders’ win over BC puts them back at .500 and should breathe some hope into the locker room after losing Trevor Harris and the footing on the promising start to their season. Craig Dickenson’s team goes into the bye, with their OK Tire Labour Day Weekend battle with the Blue Bombers up next.

6. Ottawa REDBLACKS (3-7)

Last week: 5
Last game: 25-24 loss to Montreal

Next game: At Edmonton, Sunday, August 27

Worth noting: The REDBLACKS took a heartbreaking L at home this past week against the Alouettes; a tough loss compounded by the fact that it was to a divisional opponent (the REDBLACKS are 0-5 against the East this season). If fans in Ottawa feel like their team can’t catch a break, here’s a log on that fire: the REDBLACKS head into Edmonton this week to face an Elks team that just picked up its first win of the season and will no doubt be hungry to put that painfully long home-losing streak to bed.

7. Calgary Stampeders (3-7)

Last week: 6
Last game: 19-18 loss to Winnipeg
Next game: At Toronto, Friday, August 25

Worth noting: Coming off of a loss to the Bombers that felt like one that slipped away from them, the Stamps should go into Friday’s game against the Argos full of confidence, as they handed the Double Blue their first and only loss of the season back in Week 9. On the other side of that confidence sits the possibility of this team enduring its first three-game losing streak of the season. While the likes of the Lions and Bombers have pulled away in the West standings, the Stamps still have the Roughriders in their sights, sitting two games behind them for third in the division.

8. Edmonton Elks (1-9)

Last week: 9
Last game: 24-10 win over Hamilton

Next game: Vs. Ottawa, Sunday, August 27

Worth noting: What would you have given to be on the Elks’ flight home from Hamilton on Thursday night, after their 24-10 win over the Ticats? The Elks will surely focus on that one win and seeing what they can produce over their next eight games. They have a great opportunity to put their home losing streak to bed this week, with the Ottawa REDBLACKS making their way into Commonwealth Stadium on Sunday, capping a long week of prep for Tre Ford and Co.

9. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (3-6)

Last week: 8
Last game: 24-10 loss to Edmonton 

Next game: At BC, Saturday, August 26

Worth noting: The Ticats get the unfortunate distinction of being the first team to lose to the Elks this season, as the negatives (injuries, a change at offensive coordinator and a disappointing record) swirl around them in the year where they’re hosting the 110th Grey Cup. A silver lining, for a team and fan base that could use one: The Ticats still hold third place in the East and are in position to battle the REDBLACKS for that final playoff spot, with the second half of their season still in front of them.

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