Week 19 of the regular season is in the books and if this isn’t rock bottom for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, you sure can see it from here. With a 26-19 loss in Calgary, the team from Regina has lost the upper hand in the playoff race and earned an inauspicious honour on this list.
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.
1) Toronto Argonauts (1)
A fourth straight meaningless game might cause apathy in a normal football team, but not the 2023 Argos. Star quarterback Chad Kelly played the majority of this contest against the last-place Redblacks and happily engaged in a shootout, while the defence set single-game and single-season sack records in one fell swoop. However, the most important victory didn’t come on game-day, but rather when defensive coordinator Corey Mace signed a contract extension earlier in the week.
2) Winnipeg Blue Bombers (2)
After giving themselves a massive leg up in the race for the West Division crown last week, the Bombers were happy to rest on their laurels this week. One more victory or a Lions’ loss will lock in hosting duties for the West Final and Edmonton is next up on the schedule. Sometimes lady luck really does shine on a football team…
3) B.C. Lions (3)
Lessons were clearly learned from Week 18 as the Lions got down with time remaining at the end of each half to set up critical Sean Whyte field goals, including the walk-off winner. It was a resilient performance to keep the team’s farfetched dream of hosting the West Final and required all hands on deck, as Vernon Adams Jr. was unable to take to the field for the game-winning drive due to a knee injury. While that created a storybook ending for Dane Evans in his return to Steeltown, it is sure to provide lots of intrigue over the next couple of weeks as well.
4) Montreal Alouettes (5)
The Alouettes looked dead on arrival in Edmonton but rose from the grave in the second quarter to spit fire — or just spit in the case of Pier-Olivier Lestage. The Ticats’ loss the night before secured Montreal a home playoff game and they used their comeback over the Elks to uncover a dangerous young returner in James Letcher Jr. That only adds another element to a team with a surging defence, led by the pass rush trio of Shawn Lemon, Mustafa Johnson, and Canadian rookie Lwal Uguak.
5) Hamilton Tiger-Cats (4)
The hottest team in the CFL took a cold shower against B.C., but there was still an awful lot to like about their performance. The quarterback platoon of Matthew Shiltz and Bo Levi Mitchell continues to have success as the veteran works his way back to full strength and no receiver in the league looks quite as dangerous as Tim White right now. The path through the East Division will all be on the road, but the Ticats still look like a contender to win the Grey Cup at home.
6) Edmonton Elks (6)
A whole lot can change in seven minutes. That’s a lesson the Elks learned the hard way after flying out to a 21-3 lead against Montreal, only to implode mid-way through the second quarter. Things are looking up in 2024 with Tre Ford appearing to be a franchise quarterback, but the Canadian youngster still has yet to play a complete game and was shut down in the second half of this one. At least the games will be fun going forward for all the fans moved from Commonwealth’s tarped-off upper deck.
7) Calgary Stampeders (7)
“Here come the Stamps” used to be a phrase that instilled fear in the hearts of opponents, but now it is simply an indication of the sorry state of affairs at the bottom of the West Division. Calgary seized control of their own playoff destiny with an ugly, mistake-filled win over third-place Saskatchewan this week, but it is the future viewers of the West Semi-Final who lost most decisively — though that was assured no matter the outcome.
8) Ottawa Redblacks (9)
The good news for Ottawa is they’ve escaped the basement of our power rankings. The bad news is that a strong first-half showing wasn’t enough to get by Toronto and their young offensive line collapsed by giving up nine sacks. Already eliminated, it’s all about the future right now in the nation’s capital and running back Devonte Williams is proving to be a building block with another 100-yard outing on the ground. Unfortunately, 31-year-old NFL cast-off Justin Hardy continues to be the only thing resembling a weapon in their destitute receiving corps.
9) Saskatchewan Roughriders (8)
Over the course of the last two seasons, the Riders are a combined 0-13 after September 4. That is really all you need to know about the state of the CFL’s flagship franchise, as they lost their sixth straight game this week and ceded the postseason tiebreak to Calgary in the process. Though they technically still hold a playoff spot, the situation looks bleak and dead-man-walking Craig Dickenson knows there is only one way to turn it all around: taking the team bowling. Oy vey!