3DownNation’s contributors are putting their reputations on the line once again, predicting how the CFL standings will unfold after a wild offseason.
As always, we’ve taken a fearless approach to these predictions, so be prepared for some hot takes.
With the CFL set to kick off the first full 18-game season since 2019, there are bound to be plenty of surprises. Make sure to let us know on Twitter why you think your team will exceed all our expectations.
TORONTO ARGONAUTS — The deepest team in the division is well-positioned heading into the CFL’s marathon-like regular season.
OTTAWA REDBLACKS — Jeremiah Masoli has a career year in Paul LaPolice’s quarterback-friendly system.
HAMILTON TIGER-CATS — A well-coached team that’ll push for a home playoff game despite losing some talented veterans.
MONTREAL ALOUETTES — The Als should still be pretty good, even if I’ve got them at the bottom of the standings. I don’t see them behind Toronto by more than four to six points.
WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS — The best defence in the league will help make life easy for Zach Collaros despite the losses of Andrew Harris and Kenny Lawler.
SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS — The league’s best receiving corps and a solid pass-rush help the Riders book a home playoff game.
B.C. LIONS — If the Lions can maximize Nathan Rourke’s skill set through game-planning, they could sneak into the postseason.
CALGARY STAMPEDERS — I’m still not sold on the health of Bo Levi Mitchell, Calgary’s receiving depth, or pass rush.
EDMONTON ELKS — Chris Jones should have his defence cooking, but I’ve got serious questions about the Elks’ offence and depth.
HAMILTON TIGER-CATS — The Ticats have the weaponry to succeed, but can Evans rise to the challenge? I believe he can.
OTTAWA REDBLACKS — With shades of 2015, Shawn Burke has assembled enough talent for the Redblacks to go from worst to first. They’ll fall just short in the regular season, but I’m banking on them to earn a Grey Cup berth.
TORONTO ARGONAUTS — I love the Argos’ defence, but I believe their offence is destined to underperform with a few aged stars and McLeod Bethel-Thompson at the helm.
MONTREAL ALOUETTES — I don’t think an Eastern crossover is out of the realm of possibility, but the Alouettes will be in tough week after week in a strong division.
WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS — They won’t be nearly as dominant as they were a season ago, but the Bombers are still the team to beat in the CFL.
SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS — Fajardo has no excuses thanks to the offensive weaponry at his disposal and I like the make-up of their defence, particularly up front.
CALGARY STAMPEDERS — The shine has faded from the Stampeders’ dynasty and this could ultimately be a transition season from the face of the franchise Bo Levi Mitchell to future star Jake Maier at quarterback.
B.C. LIONS — I think the Lions will be better with Nathan Rourke under centre than they were with Michael Reilly, but this team is still missing too many key pieces to be seen as a contender.
EDMONTON ELKS — Chris Jones may be known for quick turnarounds, but I get the sense this rebuild will take at least two years.
TORONTO ARGONAUTS — Having had a season to mature under Dinwiddie and with talent at every position, McLeod Bethel-Thompson plays well enough to win.
HAMILTON TIGER-CATS — Losing Masoli will hurt when Evans eventually struggles.
OTTAWA REDBLACKS — A big off-season rework returns the Redblacks to the playoffs.
MONTREAL ALOUETTES — Something feels off here and if the room isn’t right, it’s tough to win.
CALGARY STAMPEDERS — Mitchell or Maier, the rest of this roster is good enough to win games.
WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS — A slight step back because of the offensive talent that left. Greg Ellingson is not Kenny Lawler.
SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS — They’ll have a solid season but it won’t be enough to catch the top two.
B.C. LIONS — The Lions will reignite their fan base but struggle with a porous offensive line protecting Rourke.
EDMONTON ELKS — What is Chris Jones doing with that roster? Yikes…
OTTAWA REDBLACKS — Shawn Burke has assembled a roster capable of winning the division. They might time some time to gel but when the Redblacks hit their stride, watch out.
TORONTO ARGONAUTS — Quality starters and depth across the board. Extra hot take: McLeod Bethel-Thompson doesn’t guide them to second, Chad Kelly does.
HAMILTON TIGER-CATS — After losing some key pieces, the Ticats take a step back in 2022.
MONTREAL ALOUETTES — They’ve got plenty of talent but something about this team just doesn’t feel right. With two big personalities, the quarterback situation could get ugly, fast.
WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS — They’re the best team in the league until proven otherwise.
CALGARY STAMPEDERS — Their young players have had a year of seasoning and the Stamps are just SO well-coached.
SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS — They’ll be in every game, but I don’t think Fajardo consistently outplays Collaros, Bo or Maier.
B.C. LIONS — Rourke will be a fun story all year long but I have serious concerns about their trenches.
EDMONTON ELKS – Chris Jones’ strategy of reuniting the 2015 Grey Cup band and throwing Duron Carter on defence will prove to be a trainwreck.
HAMILTON TIGER-CATS — Hamilton is steady all year, setting themselves up for playoff success.
OTTAWA REDBLACKS — The Redblacks make a move upward after a great offseason.
MONTREAL ALOUETTES — Montreal is still entertaining but can’t take the next step.
TORONTO ARGONAUTS — The Argos are always up and down. The rollercoaster continues.
WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS — Winnipeg is still the best team but might finally lose in the West Final.
SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS — The Riders are steady but the team still has questions to answer.
B.C. LIONS — The Lions have a solid team around Rourke. If he doesn’t totally suck, they will improve.
CALGARY STAMPEDERS — The end is near in Cowtown.
EDMONTON ELKS — Edmonton is much improved but, to borrow a college term, this is essentially “year zero” for Chris Jones.
TORONTO ARGONAUTS — McLeod Bethel-Thompson is going to put up big numbers in a talented offence.
HAMILTON TIGER-CATS — Same old Ticats, same position as last year.
MONTREAL ALOUETTES — The Als won’t be as bad as others think.
OTTAWA REDBLACKS — You can’t buy your way to a championship.
CALGARY STAMPEDERS — Reports of Calgary’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.
WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS — Even without Andrew Harris, the Bombers roll.
SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS — The Riders will need to take the long road to a home Grey Cup.
EDMONTON ELKS — Chris Jones will make the Elks better but not by much.
B.C. LIONS — Nathan Rourke can’t overcome the rest of this team’s issues.
HAMILTON TIGER-CATS — At a minimum, their defence keeps them in almost every game.
OTTAWA ROUGHRIDERS — An improved team, I fully expect them to end around .500.
TORONTO ARGONAUTS — Due for some regression after a ton of very narrow wins in 2021.
MONTREAL ALOUETTES — I won’t bet against their offence but their pass defence, in particular, may be a big anchor.
WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS — They are on top until proven otherwise, but it will be tighter than last year.
CALGARY STAMPEDERS — Reggie Begelton and Tre Roberson being present from day one is a major talent boost.
SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS — They’ll have Duke Williams right from the beginning and a tremendous trio of linebackers, but the Riders lack star talent in other places.
EDMONTON ELKS — Edmonton is the likeliest crossover team. It’s kind of their specialty.
B.C. LIONS — They still have enough holes to hold me back from predicting a major leap forward.
HAMILTON TIGER-CATS — It’s a weak division as usual and the Cats haven’t really downgraded. The pressure of hosting the Grey Cup is no longer hanging over their heads.
TORONTO ARGONAUTS — They ended last year on a sour note but the team has grown from that and remains in the mix.
OTTAWA REDBLACKS — It’s only a matter of time before LaPo gets that offence clicking. It will happen soon enough to keep the Redblacks out of the basement.
MONTREAL ALOUETTES — To have two quarterbacks is to have no quarterbacks. The Alouettes have all the signs of a dumpster fire in the making.
WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS — Nothing in the playoffs will be a sure thing but Winnipeg will breeze through the regular season.
SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS — Fajardo has a stacked receiving corps but until they figure out how to beat Winnipeg, it will be all for naught.
CALGARY STAMPEDERS — Legitimate questions about Bo Levi’s health remain but that program is too good to fall too far.
B.C. LIONS — They’re still a year away from contending but young Nathan Rourke will help the Lions take baby steps forward.
EDMONTON ELKS — Rider Nation can relax, as Chris Jones won’t have the horses to compete in 2022.
HAMILTON TIGER-CATS — They have arguably the best quarterback, inarguably the best head coach, and a battle-tested roster. First in the East is theirs to lose.
OTTAWA REDBLACKS — I am very high on the changes the Redblacks made. It might take a few weeks for things to come together, but they will be clicking on all cylinders by the time the playoffs roll around.
TORONTO ARGONAUTS — Talented, but they got older and I do not believe in McLeod Bethel-Thompson leading them for a full season.
MONTREAL ALOUETTES — Their coach is already on the hot seat and the quarterbacking situation is murky at best. That adds up to a down year in La Belle Province.
WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS — They are the team to beat until proven otherwise.
SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS — I still have questions about Cody Fajardo but this is a good team that will be nipping at Winnipeg’s heels all season.
CALGARY STAMPEDERS — The Stamps will be competitive but their reign at the top is over.
EDMONTON ELKS — They will improve on last year but much like when Chris Jones was in Saskatchewan, it will be next year when the Elks take the leap.
B.C. LIONS — I don’t care what he did in Ottawa, I will never believe in a Rick Campbell-coached team.