3DownNation CFL power rankings: Riders reach new low amid five-game losing streak

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

There are only three weeks left in the CFL’s regular season and things got a lot more interesting in the East Division this past week as the two teams still looking to punch their ticket to the playoffs got key wins. Who moved up and who moved down? Here is what you need to know following Week 18 in the CFL.

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: Larry MacDougal/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

1. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1)

The road to the Grey Cup officially travels through IG Field as the Blue Bombers clinched first place in the West Division after decimating Edmonton by 37 points. Zach Collaros appears primed to win back-to-back M.O.P. awards, Nic Demski has scored touchdowns in six consecutive games, and Dalton Schoen leads the league in receiving yards and touchdowns as a rookie. Life is good in Bomberland.

Photo: Paul Swanson/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

2. Calgary Stampeders (2)

The Stamps were on a bye this past week but got a big break when Toronto beat B.C., dropping the Lions to 10-5. The clubs now have matching records with three games apiece remaining in the regular season, giving Calgary a solid opportunity to potentially host the West Semi-Final. The Stamps hosted a playoff game for eight consecutive seasons (2012-2019) before having to go on the road in 2021.

Photo courtesy: Toronto Argonauts

3. Toronto Argonauts (5)

The Argos have quietly reestablished themselves as the team to beat in the East Division after little-used Canadian receiver Tommy Nield caught a game-winning 37-yard touchdown pass to beat B.C. The club also caught a break when Montreal lost to Ottawa on Monday, giving Toronto a chance to clinch first place this week if they defeat Edmonton and the Alouettes lose to the Redblacks for a second straight week.

Photo courtesy: Paul Yates/B.C. Lions

4. B.C. Lions (3)

The Lions were uncharacteristically undisciplined this past week, taking 14 penalties for 130 yards in their loss to Toronto. The offence moved the ball well at times, though emerging running back James Butler was given only 13 touches despite producing 114 yards from scrimmage. The club also had a tough time getting off the field defensively, allowing 352 passing yards from McLeod Bethel-Thompson.

Courtesy: AP Photo/Larry MacDougal

5. Montreal Alouettes (4)

The return of William Stanback was supposed to launch Montreal’s offence to new heights but the former all-star had little impact against Ottawa, rushing eight times for just 20 yards. Stanback deserves the benefit of the doubt — he led the league in rushing last year — but he’ll need to return to form if his team is going to close Toronto’s four-point lead in the East Division standings.

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

6. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (6)

Wes Hills rushed 25 times for 132 yards in an 18-14 win over the Riders this week as Hamilton’s offensive line consistently controlled the line of scrimmage. The win wasn’t pretty but it could provide a winning blueprint for the Ticats: pound the ball on offence and swarm their opponents on defence. A win over Calgary this week would draw Hamilton even with Saskatchewan at 6-10, putting them in position to potentially earn a postseason berth.

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

7. Ottawa Redblacks (9)

The Redblacks looked reenergized this past week under new interim head coach Bob Dyce, getting a 24-18 win on Thanksgiving over Montreal. Nick Arbuckle played mistake-free football with Justin Hardy as the focal point of the team’s offensive attack, while the defence rallied to the football to force two takeaways. The club’s playoff hopes are faint but remain intact, staving elimination for at least one more week.

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

8. Saskatchewan Roughriders (7)

Clinching a postseason berth seemed like a formality when Saskatchewan was 6-5 but the team is now at serious risk of missing the playoffs after losing five straight games. The team is heading into their final bye week of the year and will need to do some serious soul-searching ahead of a season-ending home-and-home series against the Calgary Stampeders. The Riders’ inability to protect Cody Fajardo was on full display in their loss to Hamilton, giving up seven sacks to increase their total to 66 on the year.

Photo: Paul Swanson/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

9. Edmonton Elks (8)

The Elks were officially eliminated from postseason contention this week after getting slapped in Winnipeg. Taylor Cornelius missed throws, the offensive line wore down in the fourth quarter, and the defence provided little resistance. Edmonton has now allowed over 45 points in five different games this year, which has called Chris Jones’ reputation as a “defensive guru” into question.