3DownNation CFL power rankings: Lions stomp into second place

Photo courtesy: Paul Yates/B.C. Lions

Just when you thought the 2022 CFL season had devolved into end-of-year predictability, Week 19 reminded us all just how electric the Canadian game can be.

All four contests this past weekend were decided by a single score, with the widest margin of victory being just eight points. There was heart-stopping action across the board in the final three minutes, leading to a shake-up near the top of our CFL hierarchy.

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 courtesy: Paul Yates/B.C. Lions

1. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1)

The league-leading Bombers suffered just their third loss of the season on Saturday but the result did nothing to affect their spot at the top of the rankings. Resting likely M.O.P. quarterback Zach Collaros in favour of youngster Dru Brown and without impact players like Deatrick Nichols, Stanley Bryant, Jermarcus Hardrick, and Jackson Jeffcoat, Winnipeg still nearly won against a fellow West Division powerhouse. If not for two ill-timed throws that resulted in pick-sixes and some struggles in kick coverage, the Bombers’ B-squad may well have overcome the Lions.

Photo courtesy: Paul Yates/B.C. Lions

2. B.C. Lions (4)

It may not have been the dominance you hope to see against a bunch of backups, but the injury-ravaged Lions still came up with a victory over Winnipeg to get a leg up on the home playoff race. Returner Terry Williams was the star of the show, while quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. struggled to keep the offence moving without receivers Bryan Burnham and Lucky Whitehead in the lineup. Luckily, Canadian wunderkind Nathan Rourke appears to be nearing his return, bringing a little more pep to the Lions’ step as they head down the stretch.

Courtesy: AP Photo/Larry MacDougal

3. Calgary Stampeders (2)

The Stampeders endured quarterback Jake Maier’s worst performance since he took over as the starter mid-season and still looked poised to win, until the Hamilton Tiger-Cats pulled the stunning upset on the game’s final drive. The loss means that any hope of a home playoff game at McMahon will disappear if the Lions win either of their final two games — though there are some in Calgary who may prefer to avoid a frigid outdoor West Semi-Final anyway.

Photo courtesy: CFL

4. Toronto Argonauts (3)

Despite the Argos’ best efforts, they were still able to secure a victory over the Edmonton Elks on Saturday. It was an erratic performance for quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson and the offence but all that mattered was the 25-yard silencing touchdown run by A.J. Ouellette that capped an otherwise inconsequential game. Toronto still needs a victory next week to guarantee a first-round bye and a home East Final.

Photo courtesy: CFL

5. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (6)

Don’t look now, but the 6-10 Hamilton Tiger-Cats are somehow the hottest team in the East Division as they continue to make a push towards a playoff spot. After seemingly giving the game away with two minutes left, receiver Tim White made a pair of spectacular grabs — including the deciding touchdown — on a game-winning drive, securing the team’s first win in Calgary since 2004. With two games left against the Ottawa Redblacks, Hamilton needs to simply win out to bar a crossover and steal the three-seed.

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

6. Montreal Alouettes (5)

The Alouettes didn’t make it easy on themselves this week but they still managed to avoid back-to-back losses to Ottawa and clinch a playoff spot in the process. Star running back William Stanback still seems to be getting his feet underneath him following his season-long injury, but late-season addition Jamal Davis has been as advertised at defensive end, sealing this game with a strip sack.

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

7. Ottawa Redblacks (7)

It wasn’t the second straight victory they’d hoped for or a long-awaited home win, but the Redblacks continue to look like a dramatically different team with interim head coach Bob Dyce at the helm. Quarterback Nick Arbuckle looks like the player he was billed as three years ago and the defence refuses to quit under any circumstances. That’s a dramatic change from the moribund group of a few weeks ago.

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

8. Saskatchewan Roughriders (8)

As far as late-season bye weeks go, the Riders had a bad one as the Ticats’ victory over Calgary sent their playoff odds plummeting. Though they still have a chance to sneak in the backdoor, things are out of Saskatchewan’s control and a disappointed management group will begin to look to the future. Whether head coach Craig Dickenson will still have a job in two weeks’ time remains an open question, though the affable bench boss remains hopeful.

Photo courtesy: CFL

9. Edmonton Elks (9)

It doesn’t matter that head coach Chris Jones refuses to talk about it, 16 straight home losses have eaten away at the Elks’ franchise like a cancer and his treatment isn’t working. Once again, Edmonton collapsed late and gave the Argos an untouched game-winning touchdown, all while their recently extended quarterback played middling football.