THE CANADIAN FOOTBALL COUNTDOWN CFL POWER RANKINGS-WEEK 5
1) Calgary Stampeders (4-0) (1) – My goodness, can anybody crack Calgary’s defense?? Averaging 9.5 points against per game and 1st in basically every defensive category. Possible question marks on offense if QB Bo Levi Mitchell is out long time after leaving the game with injury, but with a defense as good as this one I can’t see Calgary losing anytime soon. 4-0 to start the year for the first time since 2014; the last year they lifted the Grey Cup.
2) Hamilton Tiger-Cats (2-2) (4)– Had a bye in Week 5 to prepare for a rematch with the Riders, who they lost 18-13 to in Week 4 in a game they certainly cannot have been happy with. They failed to convert early on in that one, and ran into a hot Riders defense. They’ve had a strong start to the year on offense, lead by QB Jeremiah Masoli who looks to break the CFL record most consecutive 300 yard passing games this week against Saskatchewan, and their defense has been solid as well. With a week to prepare for the rematch with the Riders, expect them to bounce back nicely this week.
3) Edmonton Eskimos (3-2) (5)– They split the home-and-home series with the Argos, picking up a 16-15 win at home in Week 5. Despite the win, their inability to put points on the board against a Toronto defense that had it’s early season struggles was a bit surprising, managing only a combined 33 points in the 2 games with the Argos. On the flip side, it looks as if perhaps their defense has patched things up the last few weeks. Discipline still appears to be an issue for this team, as they continue to take big penalties. A bye week in Week 6 gives them some time to heal as they battle the injury bug for the 2nd year in a row.
4) Ottawa Redblacks (2-2) (2) – The loss to Calgary on Thursday night was UGLY, to say the least. They put up just 150 yards of offense, turned the ball over 5 times, and lost the time of possession battle by 15 minutes. This one went much the same as the first meeting with Calgary did 2 weeks prior, as their defense did their best to keep them in the game while their offense was completely shut down. I maintain Ottawa is a lot better than we saw from them in these 2 games with the Stampeders, I think Calgary is just that good. Luckily for them, they are done facing the Stampeders for the 2018 regular season. Ottawa looked great in wins over Saskatchewan and Montreal, and will look to prove that these games against Calgary were just outliers as they welcome the Lions to town this week.
5) Winnipeg Blue Bombers- (2-3) (3)– A second half collapse in BC, after leading 17-0 at the break, left many Bomber fans fuming this week, and rightfully so. A lack of discipline, including 4 major fouls on defense, some questionable play calling as they went away from Andrew Harris who had over 100 yards in the first half for the 2nd straight week, one of Matt Nichols’ worst games in a Bomber uniform, and the defense failing to come up with the late stop all lead to their downfall. Why aren’t they lower on this list? Because I’m expecting them to bounce back nicely. Mike O’Shea can’t be happy with the penalties, LaPo will identify and fix the shortcomings of the offensive gameplan, and you know Matt Nichols is pissed off after his performance and looking to rebound. They get their chance to do so this week in Toronto.
6) BC Lions (2-2) (8)- After being blown out in Winnipeg the week before, it looked like much the same when the Lions went into half time down 17-0 in their rematch with the Bombers. A goal-line stand in the 3rd quarter turned momentum in their favour, they made the half-time adjustments they needed to, and Travis Lulay showed his excellent composure and leadership in his first game back from injury as he lead them all the way back to a 20-17 win. Let’s see if they can build off that 2nd half when they visit Ottawa this week. One big concern still? Their inability to stop the run, which could be an even bigger issue now with LB Solomon Elimimian on the 6 game injured list.
7) Toronto Argonauts (1-3) (6)– The Argos lost by merely 1 point to the Eskimos in Week 5, in the second game of a home-and-home series with Edmonton. Looks like the defense has possibly turned a corner, having kept Edmonton to a combined 33 points in the 2 games, but they’ve allowed the most passing yards in the league so far this year. While James Franklin has shown some potential in his first 2 games as the Argos starting QB, Toronto has yet to put up more than 20 points in a game this season. SJ Green stepped up big time in Week 5, but the Argos will need some of their younger receivers to step up in order to develop more consistency on offense.
8) Saskatchewan Roughriders (2-2) (7)- The Riders had a bye week in Week 5, and I can only imagine Chris Jones spent it making scrambled eggs. After all, that’s what he continues to do with his depth chart each week. Brandon Bridge gets another start in Week 6, but how many series is it before the musical chairs with David Watford begin again? They beat the Ticats off a gritty defensive performance in Week 4, but the defense can only win you so many games. The offense needs to start doing their part.
9) Montreal Alouettes (1-3) (9)– The Als come out of a Week 5 bye with a 1-3 record, are averaging just 15.25 points per game, and facing the seemingly impossible task of cracking Calgary’s defense in Week 6. Drew Willy returns from injury and gets the start at QB, while backup Jeff Mathews, who put up a decent performance filling in for Willy in Week 4, is out 4-6 weeks. It’s been a rough start to the year for the Alouettes, and this week’s game with the Stampeders has the potential to get ugly quick.
Writer’s Note– First bracket indicates teams record, second set of brackets beside the record indicates last weeks position in the Canadian Football Countdown Power Rankings.
Each week one of the hosts of The Canadian Football Countdown, Ryan Koop or Michael Gerl, provides their CFL Power Rankings based on what they saw from each of the teams. Agree or Disagree with these rankings? Let us know on Twitter at @CFConMikeFM.