3Down Power Rankings: Riders tumble

Even with 18 players on the injured list and many of them starting calibre, Edmonton staved off a late surge from the only winless team in the CFL to remain the lone undefeated squad.

The top four teams are unanimously ranked in the same order by the 3Down crew. After that, rankings begin to vary.

Edmonton Eskimos players celebrate a touchdown against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats during first half CFL action in Edmonton, Alta., on Friday August 4, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson.

1. Edmonton Eskimos (last week 1)

“Next man up” has really been embraced by Edmonton. Every single position – except quarterback – has had a starter suffer an injury, yet the team keeps on winning.

Calgary Stampeders slotback Marquay McDaniel (16) celebrates his touchdown against the Toronto Argonauts during second half CFL football action in Toronto on Thursday, August 3, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

2. Calgary Stampeders (last week 2)

As Bo Levi Mitchell said on TV, Calgary made beating Toronto look “too expletive easy”. 101 points in two games means the 2016 CFL MOP and the Stamps offence is in high gear.

B.C. Lions’ Chris Williams makes a reception during the first half of a CFL football game against the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday August 5, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

3. B.C. Lions (last week 3)

Chris Williams made an impact in his Lions debut and it’s clear that B.C. owns the most lethal receiving corps in the league. The question now becomes which quarterback – Jonathon Jennings or Travis Lulay – will be distributing the football?

Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ Chris Randle (8) celebrates his touchdown against the Ottawa Redblacks with teammates during first half of a CFL football game in Ottawa on Friday, Aug. 4, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

4. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (last week 4)

The Bombers put up 10 straight late game points to record another comeback victory. Let’s not forget: football is a 60-minute game. Just because a team is leading with a small amount of time left doesn’t mean they were “supposed” to win. Full credit to Mike O’Shea and his troops for never wavering and playing hard until zeros were on the clock the last two outings.

Calgary Stampeders defensive lineman Michael Kashak (99) hits Toronto Argonauts quarterback Ricky Ray (15) during second half CFL football action in Toronto on Thursday, August 3, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

5. Toronto Argonauts (last week 5)

All eyes on are on Ricky Ray and his throwing shoulder. The 38-year-old took a vicious shot from Michael Kashak that had teammates bracing for some possible time without him.

6. Montreal Alouettes (last week 8)

Even though the Als sat idle with a bye week, Montreal moved up the rankings. A crucial home-and-home set with Toronto looms.

Ottawa Redblacks’ Quincy McDuffie (16) runs past Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ Patrick Neufeld (53) during first half of a CFL football game in Ottawa on Friday, Aug. 4, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

7. Ottawa Redblacks (last week 7)

The Redblacks have five defeats by 13 points, but a loss is a loss and in pro football margins are going to be close. Ottawa needs to find a way to close.

Saskatchewan Roughriders’ head coach Chris Jones stands on the sideline during the first half of a CFL football game against the B.C. Lions in Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday August 5, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

8. Saskatchewan Roughriders (last week 6)

This sums up the Riders’ showing in B.C.:

Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback Zach Collaros (4) is sacked by Edmonton Eskimos’ Marcus Howard (91) during first half CFL action in Edmonton, Alta., on Friday August 4, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson.

9. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (last week 9)

It wasn’t 60-1 in Edmonton so there’s that. June Jones should inject some runnin’ and shootin’ into Hamilton’s offence and Phillip Lolley takes over on defence.


39 Comments on 3Down Power Rankings: Riders tumble

  1. sixbeamers // August 7, 2017 at 5:32 pm //

    If these are indeed “power” rankings, as the title suggests, it seems odd to place the undermanned Edmonton Eskimos at No. 1, despite their unblemished record. While that sounds counterintuitive, Edmonton is treading water — albeit successfully — through a crushing load of misfortune due to injuries. To suggest the team “embraces” the concept of “next man up” is hardly the case. They embrace nothing. The Esks are patchwork through pure necessity. What other choice do they have? Tremendous credit to the players and coaching staff. But nobody should suggest the Esks are the power of the CFL, given their weakened condition. The most resourceful and resilient team? No debate there.

    • 1. I am NOT an eskimo fan.
      2. Are you for real???????

    • Good points, for those who disagree just remember a power ranking is not the same as the standings. Power rankings should take into account things such as injuries as well as who you’ve played and who you’ve yet to play, not strictly point totals. The Esks are first in the standings but that doesn’t mean they should automatically be first in power rankings.

    • dangnabbit // August 8, 2017 at 12:45 am //

      I’m inclined to agree. Power rankings are forward-looking and should be evaluated on their predictive ability; that is to say, the fewer upsets (lower-ranked team defeating a higher-ranked team), the better the power ranking. So it makes perfect sense that a team should fall in the rankings if circumstances reduce our confidence in their ability to win. Power rankings answer the question “How good is my team right now?”

      Standings, on the other hand, are a backward-looking measurement. There isn’t a tiebreaker of “who beat whom more recently” because performance four months ago is as important as performance yesterday. Having a lot of upsets doesn’t reflect poorly on the method of computing standings like it does for power rankings, because that’s not what standings are supposed to do. Standings answer the question “How well has my team done this season?”

      Edmonton’s two squeakers against Hamilton have reduced my confidence they will dominate their division. Calgary has early blemishes on their record, but seems to have found their footing and completely dismantled their last two opponents. Between the two, Calgary is the hotter team, Edmonton’s early-season superiority notwithstanding.

    • George Porge // August 8, 2017 at 10:10 am //

      “To suggest the team “embraces” the concept of “next man up” is hardly the case. They embrace nothing. The Esks are patchwork through pure necessity.”

      Teams that embrace the “next man up” mentality continue to win games despite injuries. Teams that do not start an early downward spiral after only one or two injuries. “Next man up” is more than just an empty platitude – it is the realization that football teams *will* have injuries, so players who may not be starters today still need to be coached, still need to practice and work out, and still need to be treated as an integral part of the team. Some teams do this well, some teams do this poorly.

      It is clear that Edmonton embraces the “next man up” mentality.

  2. Scottsask // August 7, 2017 at 5:42 pm //

    Until Edmonton loses to anyone, there is no debate. Hands down best team in the league. Labour Day is going to be exciting Alberta!

  3. White Horse // August 7, 2017 at 5:52 pm //

    Scott’s ask is absolutely correct. Labour Day will determine if Edmonton remains there. Till then they are # one.

  4. Evil Empire // August 7, 2017 at 6:09 pm //

    That’s a salty opening post. The Esks are winning. That’s always what power rankings are about. But, they really don’t mean much to most. The standings are what matter. If the Eskimos can continue to win until they can hopefully get healthier. It could mean the difference between playing at home, or on the road in November.

  5. Undefeated is undefeated. Sixbeamers is the type of guy who ask “how” instead of ‘how many.” I will take a winner every time. They have to be number 1 until they lose. And I think the “next man up” mantra is embraced albeit out of necessity. …obviously.

  6. Red&White Forever // August 7, 2017 at 7:22 pm //

    I’m good with this. I would say that Edmonton gets it based on record. Perfect is perfect. I know what my eyes tell me after watching, but until Calgary and Edmonton meet, the Stamps have lost, Edmonton hasn’t.

  7. Paul Bomber // August 7, 2017 at 7:55 pm //

    Not sold on Smirkin’ Mike O’Shea and no elite level QB. BC, Edm and Cgy are legit, but Wpg will be fighting it out with sks for the crossover. If we had Ray or Harris, more would be possible.

  8. pantsonfire // August 7, 2017 at 9:36 pm //

    So what if they’re winning with a weakened club. It only shows that they’re beating clubs with backups. On that basis, sixbeamers, how powerful are they if they can beat a club like BC twice with large portions of the team injured. It doesn’t dilute the ranking because they are an undermanned team. In fact it may be just the opposite. They have beaten a powerhouse club TWICE with a banged up lineup who haven’t been beaten by anyone else. Where’s the issue??

  9. Like Mike Reilly said in his post game interview, “We haven’t won anything yet, we have just given ourselves an opportunity”. He is right of course. Labor day is not the Grey Cup.

  10. IMAN ICE HORSIE // August 7, 2017 at 9:58 pm //

    I know the algorithm won’t all allow it but really its a situation right now where you have 1a and 1b. That being Edmonton and Calgary. Fall for riders but good news is you’re not likely to fall any further this year with the way Hamilton is going.

  11. IMAN ICE HORSIE // August 7, 2017 at 10:42 pm //

    Really when you think about it Calgary should have beat Ottawa in the game they tied. It was just a missed field goal by the then struggling Peredes. The lose in Montreal was just a strange game with the injuries and ejection of Messam.
    Calgary is virtually undefeated too

    • George Porge // August 8, 2017 at 10:12 am //

      There are always things that “should have happened” in any given football game. What really happened is Parades missed a field goal, and the game ended in a tie.

      There are no moral victories. Ever.

  12. pantsonfire // August 7, 2017 at 10:51 pm //

    Ok let’s not get silly here. Yes, Calgary is winning games by 100-0 out East but you don’t get 3 points for a 59 point win & only 2 for a 3 point win. Esks have beat EVERYBODY to date, including a team who has lost to NOBODY not named Eskimos TWICE. Calgary is clobbering the Eastern teams – NOT. They have lost to a 2 win Eastern club & tied a 1 win Eastern club, two clubs who were beaten by those same Eskimos. How does a team who has lost to & tied two of the worst clubs in the CFL get in the conversation with an undefeated club who has TWICE beaten 1 of the best clubs in the league. There is no 1a & 1b here. There may be a case for a 2a & 2b because both BC & Calgary have 5 wins. I like the Stamps but they had the top ranking for, what, probably 17 weeks last year so maybe show a little humility & accept the fact that they don’t always have to be up there & for part of a season at least perhaps there is a better club. I think that when the Esks are winning with 15 or so starters missing that is a good indication of what kind of club they have, especially since they have beaten a quality opponent twice more than the Stamps. No offence intended.

  13. How is a team with a loss & a tie virtually undefeated? I guess the Riders are virtually undefeated as well because they should have won all but 2 games. Yea for my Riders. I guess the Eskimos are virtually 1-5 because they’re only winning close. As for the RedBlacks they definitely are virtually undefeated. They have a point differential of 8 over 7 games. If you give the Stamps credit for any loss to a team they should have beat, you can argue they have been virtually undefeated for a number of seasons now. Congratulations on winning the virtual Grey Cup

    • IMAN ICE HORSIE // August 7, 2017 at 11:20 pm //

      That is being ridiculous. The point is; look at the way Calgary is beating teams. Remember too Calgary was number 1 when we had a tie compared to Edmonton being undefeated. It was only once we lost that Edmonton was given number 1. The difference is paper thin between the 2 is paper thin. Like I say Calgary isn’t clear cut 1 but it should be a tie

  14. If you want to talk about the way Calgary is beating teams vs the way Edmonton is beating teams, Edmonton is beating clubs like BC with 2nd string players. Your loss to Mtl wasn’t close. You lost by a converted TD & were leading by 20-16 going into the 4th Qtr. A “strange game with the injuries and ejection of Messam”. Really??? The mighty Stamps were outscored 14-3 in the 4th Qtr because they lost their starting RB & had injuries. Gee Edmonton beat Mtl without White or Sherritt & more in their game so I guess that means Edmonton had no advantage over Calgary in their game over Mtl. Hey you’re not cutting the Eskimos slack for their injuries, don’t sit there & make excuses for your favourite team. Coulda, woulda, shoulda – DIDN’T. You’ve got beat by a 2 win club & tied a 1 win club. That doesn’t add up to a no loss club in my book. Aren’t the best teams supposed to overcome adversity when they face things like the Messam & injury deals you mention? Or does it count more that they win big but not all the time & come up short when they face adversity? Last point. Since we’re talking about virtual wins. Last year that 15-2-1 club was lucky to win vs BC who was up by 2 scores with minutes to play until Jennings had a couple of brain cramps. They were losing to Wpg with 15 seconds to play in Calgary, on their 29 yard line, & the Bombers blew it. They were tied with Esks in Edmonton with zeros on the clock & Whyte missed the FG, one of only 3 he missed all year. Wasn’t Calgary virtually a 12-5-1 club before the implosions by these teams? Well, they won. I don’t rate HOW teams win, what counts is they win.

    • George Porge // August 8, 2017 at 10:03 am //

      Very well said, E W.

    • IMAN ICE HORSIE // August 8, 2017 at 11:03 am //

      If you are going to start comparing common opponents fine.
      Edmonton barely beat Hamilton. Twice!. Barely beat Ottawa, Barely beat Montreal. Just because they have BC’s number they are better than us?
      I’m not saying anything against Edmonton. I think they deserve number 1 but I think we belong there along with them. 4 of Calgary’s win were complete blowouts!
      You can’t have it both ways E W. You can’t say the Stampeders “was lucky” to beat Winnipeg and BC last year because these respective teams had
      “Brain cramps” or “Blew it”, then turn around and give Edmonton full credit for their close wins this year.

  15. George Porge // August 8, 2017 at 10:00 am //

    Okay 3Down. I’m sure you could have found a better photo for the Argos than the one where you can only see the top of Ricky Ray’s jersey under a full profile of the Stampeder player on top of him. I get that Ray’s injury from that tackle is news, but this is pretty disrespectful.

  16. Hate to break it to the stamps and Eskie fans but I have no doubt in my mind that BC makes the grey cup from the west. I’m. It even a BC fan im a rider fan. They qbs, receivers and defence are stellar. They are a healthy team and are just hitting there stride. Still a lot of west vs west ball here and I see BC climbing to the top. Add in foley for a rotation defensive end spot. This team ain’t gonna slow down unfortunately for Edm, Cal or my riders.

    • IMAN ICE HORSIE // August 8, 2017 at 11:21 am //

      Yeah it’s possible Rick. It’s looking more likely they might have to do it at least partially from the road. BC’s QB depth is outstanding but I wonder if injuries start piling up they will have the depth Calgary and Edmonton has. If Calgary beats them next week they will be in a hole.
      LOL- Yeah no kidding they’ll beat your riders!. I don’t think you can mention the riders in the same conversation as the stamps, Esks.

    • sixbeamers // August 8, 2017 at 12:29 pm //

      The distinction is, Edmonton is ranked No. 1 because they have the best record. But these are “power” rankings, i.e. which team looks to be the most potent at the moment, this week. I’d say Calgary, despite the difference in their respective records.
      If this exercise is to slot the teams according to their win-loss records, then Edmonton certainly is No. 1-ranked.
      But “power rankings” should be forward-thinking, not based on what transpired but more on the current state of the teams in relation to each other.
      Have my doubts that the Esks can keep rolling as they have, given their manpower attrition. But I’d have no objection to be proven wrong.

      • IMAN ICE HORSIE // August 8, 2017 at 12:35 pm //

        very very good comment sixbeamers. Right! Wins loses are for the standings. Yes they are more important without doubt. The power rankings are more fun and should go beyond the parameters of the standings. Thats my point really

    • George Porge // August 8, 2017 at 12:47 pm //

      As has been the case for the past half-decade – the path to the Grey Cup goes through Alberta.

      BC is just “hitting their stride”, while Edmonton and Calgary continue to win games with 2nd and 3rd string players. BC lost every game vs. Edmonton and has yet to play Calgary (they have Calgary right after Calgary’s bye week – historically a bad time to face Calgary). Yet you have “no doubt in [your] mind” that BC will be in the big show at the end of the year. That’s.. um.. pretty bold, to put it politely..

      The upcoming games against Calgary will likely decide if BC has any chance of playing a playoff game within the climate-controlled confines of BC Place, or if they will have to face two Alberta teams in their own barns during two potentially cold prairie autumn Sundays. Maybe once all the games west of 110 are played we can start making these predictions.

      Right now, it’s pretty clear that your bold prediction comes more from a wish for “anybody but Alberta” to be there than any reasonable football knowledge.

    • Sure hope you’re right Rick but before we make any claims, we have to be able to beat Calgary and Edmonton. So far we have lost two games and both to Edmonton and as a result, the season series . First one could have gone either way but for a raw rookie kicker missing a long FG. Second one, we must have circled the wrong date on the calendar cuz we never showed up for that one.

  17. I’m not getting too involved with this one. All I’m saying is the Esks deserve the number 1 spot. The scary thing about them right now, once they get healthy.. look out. I’d say that BC should be coming in at two. They are by far the scariest teams right now.. hands down.

  18. We will see on Labour Day and the rematch who has the best linemen on the Stamps&esk.Because the real best team this year so far will be determined by the o-line and d-lines

  19. pantsonfire // August 8, 2017 at 1:21 pm //

    Get rest on bye week & ready for the Lions. Here’s the game plan courtesy of Esks. Scratch Messam, Jorden & Singleton. Start McManis @ WIL. @ sit your best DB. Your LS, CTR, kicker & backup kicker sits once 3rd Qtr gets rolling. It’s 3 down football in Qtr4, no FG’s allowed. Now have at the BC Lions. Don’t talk to me about a beat down of an 0-5 club. No lame excuses about only losing to Als when Messam went out. You rolled over in the 4th Qtr. Of the 5 points in the standings the East has taken from the West, Stamps gave them 3. You should be deducted rankings points. Two big wins over sub .500 teams is cause for celebration? You haven’t shown any consistency vs the East other than thinking you can go down there & expect to win on your reputation. Stamps #1??? Get real.

    • IMAN ICE HORSIE // August 8, 2017 at 4:58 pm //

      Get rest on bye week & ready for the Lions. Here’s the game plan courtesy of Esks. Scratch Messam, Jorden & Singleton. Start McManis @ WIL. @ sit your best DB. Your LS, CTR, kicker & backup kicker sits
      Actually pants on fire. Jorden IS out, Mcmanis DID start at WIL. we DID lose out LS for a game, HAVE lost our centre, HAVE been without our best DB.
      PLUS 2 starting DE, 2 DTs and now our starting safety.
      Besides this; 3 starters on oline are downs and 2 Canadian receivers (1 full time and 1 part time starter).
      That’s just THIS year.

  20. I’m not playing it both ways mentioning the close games last year. I am in fact saying Esks wins should not be diminished because their close anymore than those 2015 Stamp wins. Read my final line. Your arguments on Stamps rank is that big wins should carry more weight than close games – look at the way Stamps are beating teams. I disagree & merely pointed out those wins last year as a way of saying they won, that’s all that counts. Style points don’t matter. Is a 4-2 team better than a 6-0 team because all their wins are by 20 points & the undefeated team wins by 3 all the time, if they haven’t played each other? Chances are if the 4-2 team is in a close game they lose to a team which is good in close games. What does + 200 point differential vs -20 in a GC game? We already know that.

  21. pantsonfire // August 8, 2017 at 6:38 pm //

    Great Icie. Then why give Messam & injuries as excuse for loss in Mtl & why diss Riders for counting “virtual wins” on 2 Crapigna misses & then claim “virtual win” on Paredes miss? Not saying any more on this. Love that you love your Stamps but they don’t ALWAYS have to be on top – not even close on this one. You gotta know when to hold them, know when to fold them. Let’s talk after the next 5 games are over when you’ve played BC & Edm twice. That’s it for me. Enjoy your bye week.

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