3DownNation CFL power rankings: Vernon Adams Jr. leads Lions to large leap

Photo courtesy: B.C. Lions

Three big upsets in Week 15 have not only shaken up the CFL standings but also our power rankings as the post-season draws ever nearer. Will this upset trend continue when the league kicks off a new three-game slate on Friday? If so, everything we know about the CFL this season might have been wrong.

3DownNation’s power rankings are created by having eleven of our contributors rank each team from No. 1 to No. 9 independently, then averaging out the scores. The previous week’s rankings are in brackets.

Enjoy the rankings and feel free to roast us on Twitter for anything you think we got wrong.

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

1. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1)

Here’s a sentence you haven’t read in a long time: the Winnipeg Blue Bombers got smoked in a meaningful football game. The team’s defence had no answer for Hamilton’s offensive attack in a 48-31 loss, while Zach Collaros turned the ball over three times. Our contributors still see Winnipeg as the top team in the CFL, though they were not the unanimous choice for the No. 1 spot in our rankings.

Photo courtesy: CFL

2. B.C. Lions (6)

Vernon Adams Jr. gave new life to a B.C. team that fell into a slump following the recent loss of Nathan Rourke. The former Alouettes’ quarterback didn’t throw for any touchdowns but he completed an impressive 78.1 percent of his passes for 294 yards and helped engineer a game-winning touchdown drive in overtime. It appears the first-round pick the Lions gave up to acquire Adams via trade was well worth the price.

Photo: Larry MacDougal/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

3. Calgary Stampeders (2)

Jake Maier threw for 301 yards and three touchdowns against B.C. but was still unable to come away with a win, missing Reggie Begelton in the end zone for a potential game-tying two-point covert in overtime. The Stampeders are a solid team in all three phases of the game but there’s one glaring mark against them: they are 0-5 in games against opponents that are above .500 this season.

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

4. Toronto Argonauts (3)

The Argos were idle this past week, though there’s not much to worry about in the Big Smoke these days. Toronto is riding a three-game winning streak and remains the heavy favourite to finish atop the East Division. If they can beat Ottawa this week, that’ll just move them one step closer to clinching first place in the standings.

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

5. Montreal Alouettes (5)

Montreal was on a bye this past week but the team can’t afford to rest any longer. With the Ticats suddenly just one win behind them, there’s suddenly pressure on the Als to come out on top when the teams meet on Friday. The readdition of defensive end Jamal Davis II following a stint in the NFL could help that happen.

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

6. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (8)

Dane Evans looked like a brand new player coming off Hamilton’s bye week, throwing for 327 yards and a career-high five touchdowns in a big win over Winnipeg. The Ticats are still two points back of Montreal for second place in the East Division but have a chance to catch them (and win the season series) at Percival Molson Stadium when the teams meet on Friday night.

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders

7. Saskatchewan Roughriders (4)

Saskatchewan reached a new low this week, losing to the Elks in Chris Jones’ return to Mosaic Stadium. The offence fell asleep for long stretches of the game and drew boos from the home crowd, while the defence struggled to corral a mobile Taylor Cornelius. The Riders have now lost three straight games and are 2-7 over their last nine. This team has some serious soul-searching to do on this week’s bye.

Photo courtesy: CFL

8. Edmonton Elks (9)

A few eyebrows were raised last week when the Elks signed Taylor Cornelius to a two-year contract extension, but the second-year quarterback rewarded the team with a strong performance in Saskatchewan. The defence made life miserable for Cody Fajardo with eight sacks and seven knockdowns, while Sergio Castillo made a clutch 47-yard field goal for the win. The ship has probably sailed on Edmonton making the playoffs but the team is now a respectable 4-4 on the road.

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

9. Ottawa Redblacks (7)

Hello, darkness, my old friend. The Redblacks are no strangers to the bottom spot in our power rankings and have returned there just two weeks after peaking at No. 6. Ottawa’s season isn’t over but there’s not much room for error over the club’s final six games, four of which will be played against the second-place Alouettes and third-place Tiger-Cats.