July 2, 2024

AMSOIL Power Rankings: Als in control

Kevin Sousa/CFL.ca

TORONTO — Going into Week 4, we wondered what the Montreal Alouettes’ clash with the Toronto Argonauts might do to these rankings.

An in-control Als team squashed those questions with a 30-20 win that left Argos’ head coach Ryan Dinwiddie saying that his team made it too easy for their opponent. The Als’ win, paired with BC, Calgary and Ottawa ensuring the league’s winless teams stayed that way for another week ensured there wasn’t a lot of movement in this week’s Power Rankings presented by AMSOIL.

Week 5 presents its own set of challenges and questions. The Als will look to move to 5-0 against the Stamps. If last week’s trip into BMO Field provided an emotional high for the Als, does a 2-1 opponent heading out on the road for the second time this year make for a trap game? Could the same apply for the Lions, who pushed the Elks to 0-4 and now head to Tim Hortons Field to face the 0-4 Ticats? Or the 2-1 REDBLACKS, whom Dru Brown will lead back into the familiar confines of Princess Auto Stadium and the 0-4 Bombers?

Finally, what about in Saskatchewan, where Trevor Harris is sidelined and Shea Patterson is set to start against an Argos team that’s looking to get back in the win column?

Those are things to think about for the coming week. Here’s the lay of the land right now, as eight teams ready for Week 5 action.

» Riders announce Trevor Harris to be placed on six-game injured list
» MMQB: Early adversity hits the Roughriders
» Landry’s 5 takeaways from Week 4
» Check Them Out: The Timber Mart plays of the week are in
» Sign up and watch CFL games on CFL+ in the U.S. and Internationally

1. Montreal Alouettes (4-0)

Last Week: 1
Last Game: 30-20 win over Toronto
Next Game: Vs. Calgary, Sat. July 6

Worth noting: There’s lots to love with the Als right now, who stand at a perfect 4-0 and have pushed their winning streak from last season to 12 games. What jumps out the most, week after week is the team’s confidence. There’s Jeshrun Antwi‘s dribble punt on a second-and-20 in the win over the Argos; there’s Caleb Evans‘ short yardage fakeout to find Cole Spieker for a touchdown. This is a team that’s feeling itself and that isn’t afraid to try different things to get wins. Of course, those risky plays usually only get this kind of love when they work, but right now for the Als a lot of things are working for them.

logo2. Saskatchewan Roughriders (3-0)

Last Week: 2
Last Game: 36-20 win over Hamilton (Week 3)

Next game: Vs. Toronto, Thurs. July 4

Worth noting: In the wake of Trevor Harrismove to the six-game injured list, the Roughriders come out of their bye week with a new look at quarterback, in Shea Patterson, and some new challenges as the 27-year-old shifts into the starting role. Until we see more of Patterson and get a feel for what the Riders’ offence will look like (the AJ Ouellette off-season signing feels even more important now), it will be hard to say what’s in store for the Riders over the next few weeks. It all happens quickly, though, with the Argos making their way to Mosaic Stadium on Thursday, fresh off of their first loss of the season.

hat3. Toronto Argonauts (2-1)

Last Week: 3
Last Game: 30-20 loss to Montreal
Next game: At Saskatchewan, Thurs. July 4

Worth noting: The Argos tasted defeat for the first time this season and for the first time at home in a regular season game since their finale in 2022, when they dropped an 11-7 decision to the Alouettes. Throw in last year’s crushing loss at BMO in the Eastern Final and it appears that the Als have the Argos’ number of late. Fortunately for head coach Ryan Dinwiddie and the Argos, they’re first up on the schedule this week and get the chance to put that loss behind them when they head to Saskatchewan to see former Argos’ DC Corey Mace, AJ Ouellette and the Roughriders.

dynamite4. BC Lions (3-1)

Last Week: 4
Last Game: 24-21 win over Edmonton

Next game: At Hamilton, Sun. July 7

Worth noting: The Lions fought through some in-game adversity to get their third win of the season. They held off a hungry Elks team in search of its first win and running back David Mackie managed to make good on a would-have-been touchdown that was fumbled away by getting a key, go ahead score late in the fourth quarter. From there, Vernon Adams Jr. had to do some Vernon Adams Jr. things to set up Sean Whyte for the walk-off 42-yard field goal. The Lions head east this week and face another winless team, in the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, on Sunday to close out Week 5.

5. Calgary Stampeders (2-1)

Last Week: 5
Last game: 22-19 OT win over Winnipeg
Next game: At Montreal, Sat. July 6

Worth noting: It may not have been the prettiest win, but the Stamps are above .500 and holding their own in the early weeks of the season. Jake Maier found Marken Michel for a much-needed fourth quarter touchdown and Demerio Houston is proving to be exactly what GM/head coach Dave Dickenson was hoping for when he signed him in the off-season, as his second interception of the season kept the Stamps alive in overtime. After Houston missed practice on Tuesday, his status will be a key thing to watch going into this week’s game. About that game: Maier and the Stamps get to take on the top dogs in the league as they head to Montreal to face the Alouettes on Saturday.

6. Edmonton Elks (0-4)

Last Week: 6
Last Game: 24-21 loss to BC

Next game: Vs. Ottawa, Sun. July 14

Worth noting: For the second week in a row, the Elks lost on a field goal that went through with no time on the clock. Penalties will haunt the Elks on their fourth loss of the season, as they were flagged nine times for a total of 92 yards. That showing pushed them to a league-worst 298 yards through penalties, with their defence flagged a league-worst 17 times this year and the special teams unit tied for a league-worst nine infractions. It’ll be a long bye week for the Elks, who don’t see action until the Week 5 finale when they host the REDBLACKS.

7. Ottawa REDBLACKS (2-1)

Last Week: 7
Last Game: 24-22 win over Hamilton
Next game: At Winnipeg, Fri. July 5

Worth noting: The aftermath of the REDBLACKS’ dramatic last-second win over the Ticats ushered in some eyebrow raising stats. They snapped a 10-game losing streak to the Ticats with their win on Sunday. It was also their first divisional win since 2018, when they topped the Ticats in the Eastern Final to advance to the Grey Cup game. That provides a glimpse into how lean times have been in the nation’s capital over the last few years; it also gives fans some long overdue reason to be hopeful about change with their team this year. Sure, it’s just a 2-1 record and there’s lots of football to be played, but the REDBLACKS are off to a good start and still have room to grow and improve. A win against the Bombers on Friday would give the REDBLACKS their best start since the 2016 season.

8. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (0-4)

Last Week: 9
Last game: 24-22 loss to Ottawa 
Next game: Vs. BC, Sun. July 7

Worth noting: The Ticats fell to 0-4 on Sunday and watched for the second time this season as an opposing kicker sent them to defeat at the end of a game. When you look at some of the key areas that usually dictate wins, the Ticats are checking those boxes. They forced two turnovers on Ottawa; they won the time of possession 32:34 to 27:26; they had more net offence (375 yards to 335) but once again came away empty handed. The TSN panel spoke about the difficulty of the Ticats’ schedule: they see BC this week, then Toronto, get a bye, face the Elks and then have the Als in back-to-back games. They need some wins in Hamilton and are heading into a very tough stretch.

2. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (13-4)9. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (0-4)

Last Week: 8
Last Game: 22-19 OT loss to Calgary
Next game: Vs. Ottawa, Fri. July 5

Worth noting: A difficult start to the season — the Bombers have now lost as many games this year as they did in all of 2023 — felt worse for the Bombers as Zach Collaros was forced out of the game with an injury. With Chris Streveler running the offensive show, the Bombers fought their way into overtime, only to have a familiar face and pair of hands, in Demerio Houston, take away a would-be touchdown with an interception. That set up Rene Paredes and his 52-yard game winner, pushing the Bombers to their worst start since the 2012 season. To the Bombers’ credit, the team is sticking together in its trip through this unchartered water. Another familiar face is headed back to Winnipeg this week, as Dru Brown and the REDBLACKS hit the field at Princess Auto Stadium on Friday.

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