3DownNation CFL power rankings: we’re back for 2023, baby

Photo: Arthur Ward/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

CFL training camps are officially underway, which means it’s time to bring back our power rankings for the 2023 season. We will next rank the teams on June 5 ahead of Week 1 and again each Monday morning after that through the Grey Cup.

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: Michael Scraper/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

1) Winnipeg Blue Bombers (N/A)

It’s no surprise to see the Blue Bombers back at the top of our rankings. Winnipeg went 15-3 during the regular season in 2022 and came a field goal away from winning a third-straight Grey Cup. The club arguably got better this past off-season, bringing back receiver Kenny Lawler and kicker Sergio Castillo following one-year stints in Edmonton. If this veteran-laden team stays healthy, don’t be surprised if the West Division runs through Winnipeg again in 2023.

Photo: Arthur Ward/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

2) Toronto Argonauts (N/A)

Chad Kelly has received so much attention since he helped lead the Argos to victory late in the Grey Cup that it’s easy to forget he’s only thrown 52 career passes in the CFL (postseason included). Corey Mace will have Toronto’s defence cooking following the additions of Folarin Orimolade and Adarius Pickett, though the offence will have to move the ball effectively if the club is going to repeat as Grey Cup champions.

Photo courtesy: Hamilton Tiger-Cats

3) Hamilton Tiger-Cats (N/A)

The Ticats completely retooled their roster in anticipation of hosting this year’s Grey Cup, adding veterans Bo Levi Mitchell, James Butler, Duke Williams, Joel Figueroa, Casey Sayles, Ja’Gared Davis, Kwaku Boateng, Jameer Thurman, and Chris Edwards. Our contributors seem to like Hamilton’s moves, though the club will have to gel quickly with a relatively tough schedule out of the gate and sky-high expectations from fans in Steeltown.

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

4) Calgary Stampeders (N/A)

Dave Dickenson added the role of general manager to his head coaching duties during the off-season, though his team didn’t make many big moves after finishing last season 12-6. James Vaughters and Julian Howsare should make an impact along a retooled defensive line, though the club still seems a little thin at receiver. Fortunately for Jake Maier, he will enter his first season as Calgary’s undisputed starter accompanied by arguably the league’s best rushing attack.

Photo: Paul Yates/B.C. Lions

5) B.C. Lions (N/A)

The Lions were one of the CFL’s most consistent outfits in 2022, though the departure of Nathan Rourke has moved them into the middle of the pack for our contributors. Vernon Adams Jr. played well when Rourke was out due to injury last season, though there’s simply no replacing Rourke’s M.O.P.-like production. Michael Couture should help solidify the offensive line, while Shawn Lemon will help bring some added punch to an already dangerous defensive line.

Photo: Andrew Parry/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

6) Saskatchewan Roughriders (N/A)

Our contributors appear to like some of what the Riders did this off-season, including the addition of Trevor Harris as the new face of the franchise. The veteran has led a number of teams over a decade-long CFL career and should help calm the turbulent waters the club faced a year ago. The return of Anthony Lanier II and Micah Johnson should help the Riders control the line of scrimmage on defence, though the absence of injured receiver Kian Schaffer-Baker will be tough to navigate on offence.

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

7) Ottawa Redblacks (N/A)

Jeremiah Masoli is ready to go after missing 14 games with a broken leg last year but our contributors still seem skeptical of the Redblacks, who have won only 10 games dating back to 2019. Free agent addition Jovan Santos-Knox should set the tone on defence, while Shaq Evans will look to reestablish himself as a top CFL receiver. Bob Dyce is a full-fledged head coach for the first time in his long career and will have to prove he can lift Ottawa out of the East Division’s basement.

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

8) Edmonton Elks (N/A)

The Elks signed two of the CFL’s best receivers in free agency in Eugene Lewis and Steven Dunbar Jr. but that doesn’t appear to have impressed our contributors. A.C. Leonard and Loucheiz Purifoy should help make plays on defence, though the unit has a long way to go after allowing a league-worst 599 points in 2022. If Edmonton doesn’t improve this year, expect Chris Jones to be on the hot seat come the end of the season.

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

9) Montreal Alouettes (N/A)

Our contributors clearly aren’t buying into the new-look Alouettes, who lost Trevor Harris, Eugene Lewis, and Jake Wieneke in free agency. Cody Fajardo is looking to reignite his career outside the bright lights of Saskatchewan and should get help from a good offensive line. Montreal’s defence should be solid but it remains to be seen if the Alouettes have enough playmakers in their receiving corps and whether or not new head coach Jason Maas will trust his offence to run the ball.