3DownNation CFL power rankings: is there a new top contender in the East Division?

Photo courtesy: CFL

If you got the ten smartest people in the world together in one room, they still wouldn’t be able to figure out the East Division playoff race in the CFL.

Toronto alternates between dominance and ineptitude at the top of the standings, Montreal keeps plugging along by the skin of their teeth, while Hamilton and Ottawa somehow remain in the mix despite otherwise lost seasons. Meanwhile, Saskatchewan and Edmonton appear to be in a heated battle not to claim a crossover spot. Ranking that eclectic mix of floundering franchises is no easy task.

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: David Mahussier/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

1. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1)

Nothing salves the wounds of an upset loss like a bye week and a chance to sweep your biggest rival. Winnipeg did just that this week, rolling over Saskatchewan for the third time this season. The Bombers own the CFL right now and receiver Nic Demski owns the Riders, bringing his total to five touchdowns scored against his former team this year with a two-score outing on Friday.

Photo courtesy: CFL

2. Calgary Stampeders (2)

In case you fell asleep before halftime of Saturday night’s punt-a-palooza, the Stampeders added some garbage time points to secure a dominant, if entirely uninteresting, 27-point victory over Toronto. The return of linebacker Cameron Judge from suspension proved to be a difference-maker on defence and the offensive line did not miss a beat without Derek Dennis at left tackle. Count on Calgary to keep on chugging the rest of the way.

Photo courtesy: Jeff Vinnick/B.C. Lions

3. B.C. Lions (3)

Will the real Vernon Adams Jr. please stand up? A week after he fell flat on his face against Calgary, B.C.’s newly acquired starting quarterback diced up the Ottawa defence with plenty of deep balls in a nearly perfect first-half performance. His hot hand cooled considerably in the second but the Lions still waltzed to victory and maintained their contender status.

Photo courtesy: CFL

4. Montreal Alouettes (5)

Danny Maciocia’s first trip back to Edmonton since his firing in 2010 ended on a winning note but it was the Alouettes defence, led by former Elks defensive coordinator Noel Thorpe, who truly earned the victory. The Larks pitched a second-half shutout and linebacker Tyrice Beverette sealed the deal with a 100-yard pick-six, moving the team to .500 on the year and one step closer to clinching a playoff spot.

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

5. Toronto Argonauts (4)

After curb-stomping Ottawa last week, the two pitiful points mustered by the East Division-leading Argos on Saturday can’t be seen as anything less than an utter embarrassment. Toronto had nothing to offer in the dry road outing other than a pair of Henoc Muamba interceptions and, to add injury to insult, may be without star linebacker Wynton McManis and top pass rusher Shane Ray long-term due to the game.

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

6. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (7)

The Ticats got bumped up our rankings during their bye week thanks to their playoff competitors floundering. They remain in the hunt for the final spot in the East and a clash with the crossover hopeful Riders on Friday will have huge implications for both teams’ futures.

Photo: David Mahussier/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

7. Saskatchewan Roughriders (6)

A valiant effort made without a healthy running back at their disposal for the second half still wasn’t nearly good enough for Saskatchewan to knock off the number one team in the league. The Riders have now dropped four straight games and eight of their last ten, meaning that the playoffs are no guarantee in the year they host the Grey Cup. Yikes!

Photo courtesy: CFL

8. Edmonton Elks (8)

Congratulations Elks fans, your storied franchise has set a new record. With the team’s heartbreaking offensive collapse against Montreal, Edmonton has now lost 15 consecutive home games — the most in pro football history. But remember, at least you have two more years of Taylor Cornelius, partially guaranteed, to make up for it.

Photo courtesy: Jeff Vinnick/B.C. Lions

9. Ottawa Redblacks (9)

The Redblacks’ loss to B.C. in Week 17 will be little more than a footnote in another dismal season, notable only that it preceded the inevitable firing of head coach Paul LaPolice. Ottawa is now in the hands of special teams coordinator Bob Dyce for the remainder of the season, not that there is anything he can do to salvage the year.