October 2, 2023

Power Rankings: A fun Monday

The Canadian Press

TORONTO — Week 17 was another interesting chapter in the story that’s being written of this season, with one notable addition to it.

It was announced on Saturday night that Green Day will perform at the Twisted Tea Halftime show at the 110th Grey Cup in Hamilton. CFL fans across the country have eaten up the news and there’s a palpable enthusiasm around the rock icons’ performance, which is now just over seven weeks away.

Riding that wave of enthusiasm, we’ve done our best to work a suitable Green Day reference/bit of info into each of our team breakdowns this week.

We can’t claim the skills that the great Milt Stegall can in this field, but we’ve given it our best shot.


» MMQB: An epic Thanksgiving Weekend showdown
» Landry’s 5 takeaways from Week 17
» Play CFL Pick ‘Em presented by Old Dutch

1. Toronto Argonauts (12-2)

Last week: 1
Last game: 31-21 loss to Winnipeg
Next game: Vs. Edmonton, Fri. Oct. 6

Worth noting: What is it about these Argos? Over the last two years the team has shown the tiniest glimpses of its inexperienced quarterback depth but those peaks are always intriguing. Cameron Dukes got about as tough an assignment as a rookie QB can get in his first-ever CFL start, facing a Blue Bombers team that needed a win to make its push for the West Division crown. The 25-year-old showed that he can hang and that there isn’t a cliff-like drop off at the position without Chad Kelly at the controls. Throw in the defensive performance given in Winnipeg and that Javon Leake looked like he was on the verge of dancing to the end zone almost every time he touched the ball and the Argos looked as good as a team can in a loss. It’s something unpredictable, this Argos’ season, but in the end it’s right. At 12-2 and waiting for the Eastern Final, these players are having the time of their lives.

2. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (11-4)

Last week: 2
Last game: 31-21 win over Toronto
Next game: At BC, Fri. Oct. 6

Worth noting: The Bombers had the spotlight this past week with their one-off meeting with the Argos. This week they get the biggest regular season stage they can get, as they travel to BC for a first-in-the-West showdown with the Lions. We can count on Brady Oliviera featuring heavily in the game plan, after he rushed for 169 yards in last week’s win, pushing his league-leading total on the ground to 1,359 yards. There’s no Green Day lyric here, but if we’re talking big stages, the band played in front of 350,000 people at Woodstock ’94.

3. BC Lions (11-4)

Last week: 3
Last game: 33-26 win over Saskatchewan

Next game: Vs. Winnipeg, Fri. Oct. 6

Worth noting: What can we expect in this week’s Lions-Bombers game? That’s not a rhetorical question, we’re actually asking you because we’re not sure. The Lions rolled to a 30-6 win over the Bombers in Week 3. The Bombers responded with a 50-14 drubbing in Week 9. They meet now, nine weeks later, with the winner in tremendous position to claim the West Division and the right to play at home on Nov. 11, just a win away from a Grey Cup appearance. Sharing two blowouts, the Lions and Bombers may not know each other but they might hate each other. Strange how they’ve become each other’s biggest enemy.

4. Montreal Alouettes (8-7)

Last week: 4
Last game: 31-15 win over Ottawa

Next game: Vs. Ottawa, Mon. Oct. 9

Worth noting: We won’t lie to you: if you didn’t quite understand that dribble kick for a first down that Jeshrun Antwi executed on Saturday, you’re not some kind of American idiot. That was new to a lot of eyes, regardless of which side of the border you call home. The Als have put their recent four-game slide behind them and are back to their winning ways, locking up a playoff berth with their win over Ottawa. And if you forgot during those losses to the league’s top teams over the last few weeks, the Als’ defence is for real. The group is coming into this week off of a six-turnover, two-touchdown, five-sack showing against the REDBLACKS.

5. Edmonton Elks (4-11)

Last week: 5
Last game: 37-29 loss to BC (Week 16)

Next game: At Toronto, Fri. Oct. 6 

Worth noting: The Elks come out of their bye week with the possibility of crossing over to the East for the post-season taken off of the table. While they head to Toronto this week to face an Argos team that will likely continue resting/limiting its key players, the Argos’ showing in Winnipeg tells us that they aren’t in shut-it-down mode by any means and that a win isn’t guaranteed, as much as the Elks need it right now. Regardless, the team’s turnaround behind the play of Tre Ford has been inspiring and pumps some hope into a franchise that was running thin on it just a few weeks back. With Ford under centre you have to wonder if this is the dawning of the rest of the Elks’ lives.

6. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (7-8)

Last week: 6
Last game: 22-15 win over Calgary

Next game: At Saskatchewan, Sat. Oct. 7

Worth noting: For all of their ups and downs — even in their Saturday win, which saw Matthew Shiltz take over at quarterback — the Tiger-Cats are playoff bound. That should serve as a sigh of relief to a Ticats’ organization that went all-in for this season as it hosts the 110th Grey Cup. Still, we wonder what this team is and what it can be. Sometimes they give us the creeps, with that still-forming identity.  Sometimes they make us feel like our minds are playing tricks on us. As the games continue to add up, are we just cracking up? A strong showing against the Riders this week would go a long way to ease what’s ailing us, whether it’s paranoia or something else.

7. Saskatchewan Roughriders (6-9)

Last week: 8
Last game: 33-26 loss to BC 

Next game: Vs. Hamilton, Sat. Oct. 7

Worth noting: You can wake the Riders up; September has ended. After their OK Tire Labour Day Weekend win over the Blue Bombers, the Riders nosedived through the rest of the month, piling up a 1-4 record that was punctuated by their Saturday night loss to the Lions. We referenced this last week and it holds true today, too: the Riders are aided by the struggles of the teams around them. With Edmonton, Calgary and Ottawa all sitting at 4-11, the Riders’ fingernails are dragging through that third seed in the West Division. Those three other teams are still on their heels and the best way to get rid of them — and to create some much-needed late-season momentum — is with a win.

8. Ottawa REDBLACKS (4-11)

Last week: 7
Last game: 31-15 loss to Montreal

Next game: At Montreal, Mon. Oct. 9

Worth noting: A disappointing loss to the Alouettes has pushed the REDBLACKS to the brink this season, leaving the club hoping against hope to become the first-ever East Division team to cross over to the West for the playoffs. The REDBLACKS have this week to lick their wounds and line up again against those Alouettes. Depending on your perspective, that’s a good or a bad thing. We know that TD Place is on Bank Street in Ottawa. Should the REDBLACKS miss the playoffs, we’ll be zooming in as heavily as we can on Google Maps to see if it intersects with a boulevard of broken dreams.

9. Calgary Stampeders (4-11)

Last week: 9
Last game: 22-15 loss to Hamilton
Next game: Vs. Saskatchewan, Fri. Oct. 13 

Worth noting: This is not the time of the season that you want to be going into a bye week (a situation that’s out of their hands), but here the Stampeders are, sitting at 4-11 and forced to watch teams jostle in the standings in Week 18. As the lights dim on the Stamps’ 17-season playoff appearance streak, the melancholy of the situation is hard to escape. As our Grey Cup halftime performers first belted into a mic 29 years back: One light, one mind, flashing in the dark, blinded by the silence of a thousand broken hearts.

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