Week 12 in the CFL saw a couple of important streaks continue. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers lost in Calgary for the 10th straight time; they haven’t won at McMahon since 2002, which also happens to be the last time the Toronto Argonauts won at B.C. Place. Mind you, the Argos put up much more of a fight this week than the Bombers did, to put it mildly. And speaking of streaks, the Hamilton Ti-Cats ended their five-game slide by exterminating the Eskimos at Ivor Wynne. Amazingly, their 51-8 win just barely put them back in the black as far as point differential is concerned. The Tabbies have now scored a league-high 348 points on the season–and given up 347. Still, that big win is worth at least one spot in this week’s rankings…
Week 12 Power Rankings
1. B.C. Lions (8-3) Last Week: 1. The Lions suffered a bit of a scare on home soil, squeaking out a five-point win over Toronto despite giving up three turnovers and 300 yards passing. Still, with the best record in the CFL, they stay atop my rankings, especially after back-to-back wins over the top two teams in the East.
2. Calgary Stampeders (7-4) Last Week: 2. Winnipeg hasn’t won a road game all year, and they haven’t won in Calgary in a decade, so beating the Bombers was almost a foregone conclusion. The Stamps needed to win big to make a statement, and that they did, putting up the second-most dominant performance of Week 12. The difference being that while Hamilton snapped a five-game losing streak by thrashing Edmonton yesterday, the Stamps will be going for their fifth straight win when the face the Roughriders next weekend. Though they shouldn’t take Saskatchewan or Edmonton lightly, you know the date that’s gotta be circled on this team’s calendar is October 6th, when they’ll look to avenge an embarrassing Week Five loss to B.C.. In the end, the result of that game seven weeks ago is what’s keeping them from the top spot in these rankings. (Hey, you gotta beat the man to be the man, right?)
3. Toronto Argonauts (6-5) Last Week: 3. Even though they lost to the Lions this week, dropping down to second place in the East Division, Toronto still fared a lot better in B.C. than Montreal did the week beforehand. And considering that the Argos are 1-0 against the Als this season, I still gotta give ‘em the edge in my standings. That said, the two teams face off again next Sunday, in what’s shaping up to be the game to watch in Week 13–Toronto will need a win to stay on top.
4. Montreal Alouettes (7-4) Last Week: 4. Considering that the Als have the worst defence of any team with a winning record in the league, holding Saskatchewan to 17 points had to be considered a small victory. Glass half-empty: the Riders were starting their backup QB, Drew Willy. Hey, a win is a win, but I was looking for Montreal to make a statement on their home turf after getting waxed in Vancouver last week. The only statement they made in my mind is that the Argos might have a shot at winning this division–though I’ll reserve judgement until next Sunday.
5. Saskatchewan Roughriders (5-6) Last Week: 6. Despite the loss, the Riders move up a spot in the standings. They didn’t play that great today on the road, but if you subtract those two touchdowns they gave up in the first quarter, they didn’t play too poorly afterwards, either–which is more than can be said of the team that was in fifth place last week. Alas, if the playoffs started now, the Riders would have the last postseason berth in the West, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that remained true at the end of the season.
6. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (4-7) Last Week: 7. You knew that Hamilton had to win one eventually, and they certainly did it in style on Saturday. Despite trailing 8-0 after the first quarter, the Ti-Cats romped to an easy win, scoring no fewer than 14 points in each of the remaining three quarters en route to a 51-8 whopping. Hey, if this team beats Winnipeg on Friday and the Argos lose in Montreal, the Cats could be right back in the hunt for a home playoff game, something that seemed highly unlikely after back-to-back losses to Toronto. (Hey, I didn’t say anything about winning that playoff game, did I?)
7. Edmonton Eskimos (5-6) Last Week: 5. It’s a race to the bottom in most offensive categories between the Eskies and the Bombers, and though Winnipeg has a bit of a head-start, Edmonton is catching up with their third straight loss. Against a Hamilton Ti-Cat team that gave up nearly 34 points per game, the Esks managed only eight, and were shut out for the final three quarters. Not only does Edmonton have a three-headed monster at tailback, it appears they’ve got another one at QB, where Kerry Joseph, Steven Jyles and Matt Nichols all completed passes yesterday, though Joseph got the bulk of the work this week. That ground game, by the way, was only good for 56 yards–16 of which came from Jyles and Nichols. And this was against a team that had given up huge chunks of rushing yardage to opponents this season. In the preseason, I picked the Esks to finish last in the West, and it seems they’re starting to play the part.
8. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (2-9) Last Week: 8. That being said, the Bombers are in a league of their own at the bottom of the CFL. Losers of four straight, this team has not scored an offensive touchdown since they fired Paul LaPolice–hell, they’ve only scored one TD period and 27 points total in the three games since. Buck Pierce is going to be back next week against Hamilton, but is he really going to reverse this team’s fortunes? I think not…