3DownNation power rankings: Argos reach historic new heights

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

The 2023 CFL regular season is in the books and much like the standings in the last week, the balance of power in the league remains largely unchanged. That makes the final power rankings of the year an easy bow to tie up, as we all look ahead to the playoffs.

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 courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

1) Toronto Argonauts (1)

Forget about the 3DownNation power rankings, the 2023 Toronto Argonauts might just be nearing the top of the CFL’s all-time power rankings. By fending off the Redblacks with their backups on Saturday night, Toronto secured their 16th victory of the season and tied the 1989 Edmonton Football Team for the best record in league history. All that’s left now is to do what that infamous team failed to do and add a Grey Cup on top of it all.

Photo courtesy: Winnipeg Blue Bombers

2) Winnipeg Blue Bombers (2)

The Bombers were the subject of controversy all week long, not for their play on the field but for the media’s selection of running back Brady Oliveira as the team’s Most Outstanding Player nominee instead of quarterback Zach Collaros. Neither had much impact in a meaningless win over Calgary, though Oliveira did manage to put the finishing touches on his 2,000 all-purpose yard campaign.

Photo courtesy: Montreal Alouettes

3) Montreal Alouettes (3)

Not since Anthony Calvillo roamed the gridiron have the Alouettes finished 11-7, but that all changed this year. Despite having nothing on the line, Jason Maas’ team rode a James Letcher Jr. return touchdown to victory over next week’s playoff opponent, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. 21 weeks into what was supposed to be a lost season and Montreal still has not lost to a sub-.500 opponent.

Photo courtesy: Paul Yates/B.C. Lions

4) B.C. Lions (4)

A Week 21 bye week will have given the Lions some time to recover from their stunning loss to the Stampeders and figure out a way to shore up their run defence. Unfortunately, they may have to do so without defensive end Sione Teuhema, who was issued a one-game suspension for an apparent punch to the head of Calgary left tackle D’Antne Demery.

Photo courtesy: Hamilton Tiger-Cats

5) Hamilton Tiger-Cats (5)

The late-season surge that propelled the Ticats to the postseason has now been stalled by a two-game losing streak, but Hamilton still feels like a dangerous opponent. Rested starters and a struggling offence resulted in a narrow loss to Montreal, with Bo Levi Mitchell showing his first cracks since returning from injury. But Tyreik McAllister finally found the endzone on a missed field goal return, so at least that’s something.

Photo courtesy: Calgary Stampeders

6) Calgary Stampeders (6)

After sneaking into the postseason via their blowout over B.C., Calgary really seemed to take their foot off the gas against Winnipeg. Poor attendance in a frosty McMahon Stadium inspired nothing from the home, despite Jake Maier playing most of the game in an attempt to find his form. Only Micah Awe achieved something of value, shattering Alex Singleton’s franchise record for defensive tackles in a season.

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

7) Edmonton Elks (7)

Edmonton had already cleaned out their lockers by the time this week began and are already focused on the offseason. At least Chris Jones now recognizes that Canadian Tre Ford is the quarterback of the future after squandering the entire first half of the season, though he still doesn’t appear willing to give up on Taylor Cornelius entirely.

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

8) Ottawa Redblacks (8)

A late surge did little to hide how easily the Argonauts’ backups handled the Redblacks’ starters in the regular-season finale, with 1,000-yard seasons from running back Devonte Williams and receiver Justin Hardy the only consolation prizes this season. Management in Ottawa is safe for at least another year but the players are not, with plenty of big decisions awaiting the team in free agency.

Photo: Michael Scraper/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

9) Saskatchewan Roughriders (9)

It didn’t take long for heads to roll in Saskatchewan after their end-of-year collapse, as head coach Craig Dickenson will not be back next season. The same is not true for general manager Jeremy O’Day, who signed a three-year contract extension and will now lead an extensive coaching search. Plenty of top candidates will be available for interview after the playoffs, though a few unconventional picks in offensive coordinator Kelly Jeffrey and former quarterback Henry Burris are already trying to get O’Day’s attention.