The Western Division champion has been crowned, but the Eastern Division champion still needs to be determined. Here are this week’s power rankings, with last week’s ranking appearing at the beginning of the parenthesis.
Calgary (1, 13-2-1, at Edmonton): The Stamps played so-so at Hamilton and stole a victory. They played uh-oh against Saskatchewan and got routed. Taking an optimistic viewpoint, Calgary is dialing it down and focusing on the post-season. Taking a pessimistic viewpoint, the tank is running low. The extra week off as division champion could matter.
Saskatchewan (4, 9-7, vs Montreal): The Roughriders dismantled the Stamps, with some defensive back making a big play. (Come on, laugh.) Brandon Bridge is the team’s starting quarterback, no matter where he appears on the depth chart. No way that Darian Durant’s return to Regina distracts this team, which will be a dangerous playoff opponent.
Edmonton (3, 10-6, vs Calgary): There is no streakier team in the Canadian Football League: Edmonton won seven in a row, dropped six straight and now has won three straight. The Esks also gave up 22 straight points to the BC Lions before scoring 22 of their own. Mike Reilly as the league’s MOP? The numbers mandate he be given a long look.
Winnipeg (2, 11-5, vs BC Lions): Moe Leggett is gone for the season, and Winnipeg’s championship dreams might have gone with him. Giving up more than 400 yards through the air and not locking down the opponent’s drives are not good. And don’t look past Justin Medlock’s missed field goals of late; he’s no longer a certain points generator.
Toronto (6, 8-9, BYE): Ricky Ray might not win the league’s MOP award, but a strong case can be made that no quarterback as been more important to his team than Ray has been. Likewise, Marc Trestman might not be the coach of the year honoree, but he has steadied this franchise. The Argos might win a division title without taking the field.
Ottawa (5, 7-9-1, vs Hamilton): The REDBLACKS cannot win the Eastern Division this week, but they would lose it by falling to Hamilton. Considering that Ottawa is 2-5-1 at home this season, that could happen. Ottawa is the second-least penalized team in the CFL, a stat that could become even more important in November.
Hamilton (7, 5-11, at Ottawa): If Hamilton wins this week and next, then June Jones will be 7-3 as the team’s head coach. No, he won’t win any awards, but he has stabilized this franchise, at least on the field. Hamilton will need to tighten up the pass defense in the off-season, but optimism about 2018 will not be hard to find in Steeltown.
BC Lions (8, 6-10, at Winnipeg): The losses keep piling up for a team that should be better than 6-10. Perhaps Jonathan Jennings was a one-season wonder. Perhaps Adam Bighill was more valuable than anyone believed. Perhaps being 0-7 while trailing after three quarters suggests this team has no fight. Time to think about 2018.
Montreal (9, 3-13, at Saskatchewan): It’s stunning how fast this team fell. If Montreal had beaten Toronto in Week 9, it would have been 4-4 and in first place. Instead, the Als lost by 32 and haven’t won a game since. In six of those now nine straight losses, the offense has failed to score at least 20 points. Losses this week and next seem definite.
Meanwhile, the ROUGE Standings:
BC Lions: 10
Honorable Mention, Dave Ridgway: 1