Edmonton keeps losing players and winning games. And will any team come up with a better (non-)sleeper play than Winnipeg did?
Oh, and Toronto leads the Eastern Division and also sits tied atop the rouge standings.
Here are this week’s power rankings, with last week’s ranking appearing at the beginning of the parenthesis.
Edmonton (1, 4-0, vs BC Lions): Gone for the season: Cory Greenwood, J.C. Sherritt and John White. Gone for six weeks: Adarius Bowman. Also gone: Championship dreams? Not for now at least. The Esks keep finding ways to win. Running back Travon Van has had two strong games since joining Edmonton.
BC Lions (2, 4-1, at Edmonton): Quarterback Travis Lulay is playing like he’s 23, not 33, and BC needed all of his experience and smarts to steal a win over Winnipeg. The Lions defensive backfield is a mess, and Mike Reilly is next on the schedule. BC stays within the division for the next month.
Calgary (3, 3-1-1, vs Hamilton): Those plays — whether a catch on offense or a tackle on defense — that the Stamps regularly made over the past couple seasons aren’t being made right now, but Calgary remains a dangerous team. Games against Hamilton and Toronto in the next two weeks give the Stamps a chance to generate momentum.
Toronto (6, 3-2, at Saskatchewan): If the Argos best defensive players are on the sidelines, even for a short time, the chances of this team holding onto first place in the Eastern Division will be difficult. Toronto is 3-0 against division rivals, including two wins over Ottawa. The running game remains almost non-existent.
Winnipeg (4, 2-2, vs Montreal): The special teams (non-)sleeper play will be remembered, but the Blue Bombers folded — again — in a big game. Blame the defense for not holding the lead? Sure. Blame the offense for not holding the lead? Sure. Blame the coaching staff for not holding the lead? Sure.
Montreal (5, 2-3, at Winnipeg): Four times this season, the Als haven’t scored at least 20 points in a game; their record in those contests is 1-3. It doesn’t matter how many catches Nik Lewis makes if his team doesn’t end up in the end zone. Kyries Hebert leads his team in tackles (36) and sacks (1).
Ottawa (8, 1-4-1, BYE): Four losses by a combined 10 points, with those of those defeats coming in overtime; that’s what the first third of the season has been like for the defending champions. Trevor Harris leads the league in passing yards and touchdown passes, but the defense is not forcing enough turnovers to help the cause.
Saskatchewan (7, 1-3, vs Toronto): The Roughriders are a better team than they were at any point over the past two years, but the gap between them and the elite of the Western Division remains. On the horizon are five straight games against BC, Winnipeg and Edmonton. A win this week seems like a must.
Hamilton (9, 0-4, at Calgary): Hamilton led for more than 59:00 against Edmonton and still lost. Any turnaround has to begin with a defense that is giving up more than 35 points per game. The TiCats play consecutive games in Alberta. If they are 0-6 in two weeks, it would be time to plan for next season.
Meanwhile, the ROUGE Standings:
BC Lions: 4
Honorable Mention, Dave Ridgway: 1