3DownNation CFL power rankings: Riders falling flat in playoff race

Photo courtesy: Jaclyn Mckee/B.C. Lions

Week 17 of the CFL season is in the books and there is just one playoff spot left unaccounted for. Unfortunately, the four Stooges still eligible are too busy playing hot potato with the first overall pick in the 2024 CFL Draft to notice.

3DownNation’s power rankings are created by having eleven 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 (yes, we still call it “Twitter”) for anything you think we got wrong.

Photo: Timothy Matwey/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

1) Toronto Argonauts (1)

The Argos may have suffered their second loss of the season but in many ways, the result was a testament to their dominance. Starting Cameron Dukes at quarterback and missing a number of key defensive starters, Toronto pushed the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to the brink at IG Field and nearly pulled off the upset. If they can do that shorthanded, can anyone beat them at full strength?

Photo courtesy: Paul Yates/B.C. Lions

2) B.C. Lions (2)

It may be time for the media to stop yapping about Colin Kaepernick and put some respect on Vernon Adams Jr.’s name. The Lions’ star pivot went off for 458 passing yards and three touchdowns in an aerial showcase that still left points on the field. If not for the defence taking their foot off the gas late, B.C. would have had another home blowout and they are getting healthy just in time for the most important game of the year.

Photo: Neil Noonan/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

3) Winnipeg Blue Bombers (3)

After a whole lot of whining from the Winnipeg media about the cowardly Boatmen resting starters, the Bombers nearly stubbed their toe against the assembled backups. Luckily they had Brady Oliveira to keep the engine running smoothly, as the homegrown back powered for 169 yards and now has 330 yards more than his next-closest competition for the rushing title. At least he didn’t slip in the avian feces some analysts suggested would be all over IG Field.

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

4) Montreal Alouettes (4)

The Montreal Alouettes continue to be true neutral; the dividing line between contenders and pretenders in the CFL. With their eighth victory over a sub-.500 team, the Alouettes booked their ticket to the postseason, where they’ll have to deal with the only teams that have beat them. Montreal’s offence may be a wet blanket but their defence continues to do the heavy lifting, with Marc-Antoine Dequoy and Shawn Lemon collecting touchdowns against Ottawa.

Photo courtesy: Bob Butrym/RFB Sport Photography

5) Hamilton Tiger-Cats (5)

Could the longest active Grey Cup drought in the CFL finally be broken at home? It’s a real possibility now that the Ticats have clinched a playoff spot. This time it was an excellent relief showing from backup quarterback Matthew Shiltz that got the job done at Tim Hortons Field, while the defence entirely erased the Stampeders’ yawn-worthy attack.

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

6) Edmonton Elks (6)

Late-season bye weeks will keep them out of the public eye more than what is ideal down the stretch, but there is a lot to be optimistic about in Edmonton than there is elsewhere on the prairies. The team’s playoff hopes might be on life support, but this season was supposedly declared dead back in July, which didn’t end being true thanks to the defibrillator Tre Ford.

Photo courtesy: Steven Chang/B.C. Lions

7) Saskatchewan Roughriders (8)

Despite a 409-yard passing performance from Jake Dolegala, this may go down as one of the darkest weeks in Riders history. A playoff berth that once seemed like a certainty is now hanging by a thread after a dismal showing in Vancouver, they’ve sustained four straight losses for the second straight September, and the expiring contracts of their head coach and general manager are looming especially large.

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

8) Ottawa Redblacks (7)

It seems there was a little too much misplaced optimism in Ottawa after last week’s win, as Dustin Crum followed up his best performance as a starting quarterback with arguably his worst. The Redblacks now need a miracle to stay alive in the playoff race and will face another long offseason in the hard trek back to relevance.

Photo courtesy: Bob Butrym/RFB Sport Photography

9) Calgary Stampeders (9)

For the first time this century, the Calgary Stampeders are floundering and there will be no crossover to save them. Another uninspiring loss, this time to Hamilton, has driven home their startling offensive ineptitude, as Jake Maier struggled to connect with receivers when he wasn’t running for his life. The real question will be if an organization that has made the status quo their trademark will have the gumption to make the changes necessary to ensure this never happens again.