Elks win in Montreal further exacerbates problem with CFL standings

Photo: Bob Butrym/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

Edmonton’s 18-point come-from-behind rally in Montreal gave the Elks their second win of the season, another one coming against an Eastern team that has yet to figure out how to put together wins versus their Western brethren.

Edmonton’s victory also further showcased the ongoing problem with how the CFL standings work. With the Elks moving to 2-4 and the Alouettes falling to 1-4, the league’s standings tilt heavily in favour of the West Division.

Edmonton is the only sub .500 team in the West, while there is not a single team in the East above the .500 mark through six weeks of the season. Montreal has a better shot at being a playoff team than Edmonton. Hamilton has one win over Ottawa and if things don’t change, B.C. would be travelling to play someone from the East that would most likely have a worse record than the Lions.

It’s long overdue for the CFL to either move to a format that sees the two divisions scrapped or the six best teams in the league make the playoffs, regardless of division. At the very least, the crossover team with the better record should not be going on the road, while the team with the worse record gets to enjoy a home-field advantage.

If this results in only one or two teams from a certain division in the playoffs, then so be it. There are not enough teams in the league to try and consistently achieve a balance of even or a close-to-even number of teams in the postseason. The league will be better for it by ensuring the best teams are playing for the Grey Cup.

Taylor Cornelius and Kai Locksley stepped up in La Belle Province

The most significant question coming into Week 6 for the Elks was how would the quarterback play hold up? With all of the changes, ranging from Tre Ford’s injury to Nick Arbuckle being traded to Ottawa, it’s been the least stable element of Edmonton’s roster.

In his first start of the season, Taylor Cornelius completed 19-of-31 passes for 230 yards with one touchdown and one interception. At times he held onto the ball for too long, but he was able to do enough to help put the Elks in a position to win.

Cornelius was able to find Derel Walker deep, and his long balls were able to draw pass interference calls on Montreal. The game-winning touchdown pass was an absolute strike to Kenny Lawler right as he was taking a hit with Montreal sending pressure on him.

If Cornelius can find some consistency, he might be able to keep the Elks in the West Division playoff picture. It’s going to be vital that he’s able to put together consistent drives and not just in the second half with Winnipeg coming to Commonwealth Stadium in Week 7.

Full credit to Kai Locksley for being able to move past being unable to bring down a Cornelius pass that resulted in the one interception that nearly resulted in Montreal’s Marc-Antoine Dequoy almost bringing it back to the house for six points. When needed in short-yardage situations under centre even after playing injured, he scored twice and was able to make four receptions for 36 yards in his dual role.

Avry Lewis-McDougall is a freelance sports reporter based out of Edmonton. He's covered six Grey Cups and the Edmonton Football Team since 2009, if there was an official record for youngest CFL reporter, it probably belongs to Avry.