Not much movement at the top of the rankings this week–aside from the top spot, while B.C. regains its perch after one week at number two. Saskatchewan is surging with its third straight win, but still sits behind the Stamps in the standings since Calgary beat them twice. And while Montreal has now lost to the two worst teams in the league in consecutive weeks, the only East Division team that won this week was Winnipeg–and they’re not moving ahead of the Als, that’s for sure. Instead of two equal halves, the league can really be divided into a Top Five and a Bottom Three–and whichever member of the second group sneaks into the playoffs is most likely headed for an early exit. Here’s how things stand after Week 15.
Week 15 Rankings
1. B.C. Lions (10-4) Last Week: 2. With the win over the Stamps, the Lions became the first team in the league to clinch a playoff spot. And since they’ve got a two-game advantage and the tiebreaker over Calgary, it’s almost certain that the road to Toronto runs through Vancouver this year. I think it’s very likely they’ll be back to defend their title, too.
2. Calgary Stampeders (8-6) Last Week: 1. To Calgary’s credit, their loss to the Lions last weekend was a vast improvement over the 34-8 beating they took in Week Five. However, they still weren’t able to beat B.C., and now they’ve got Saskatchewan hot on their heels. Fortunately, they get a break in the schedule over the next two weeks, facing off against Winnipeg and Hamilton. Then again, I suppose you could ask the Montreal Alouettes how playing the Bombers and Ti-Cats back-to-back worked out for them…
3. Saskatchewan Roughriders (8-6) Last Week: 3. The Riders showed they could win away from home this week–although with all those green jerseys in the stands, it hardly felt like a road game for Saskatchewan. Still, this is a team on a roll that could very well end up hosting a playoff game in November.
4. Montreal Alouettes (8-6) Last Week: 4. If the Als don’t drop in the rankings after losing to the Bombers on their home turf, it’s only because they protected their house a whole lot better than the Argos did. Sure, there is definitely cause for concern in the Alouette camp, but they remain the best team in the CFL’s junior circuit–for now, anyways. The Als travel to Toronto to take on the Argos this coming Sunday…
5. Toronto Argonauts (7-7) Last Week: 5. The only positive the Argos can build on going into next week’s clash with Montreal is that Ricky Ray should be healthy enough to start. If he isn’t, they’re screwed. The team did nothing offensively under Jarious Jackson, and they gave up a boatload of points to the Riders, to boot. Suffice to say that 36-10 thrashing would be even more embarrassing had Saskatchewan not settled for five field goals. I have a feeling that a fired-up Alouettes squad will put some points on the board next week–it’ll be up to Ray and company to match ‘em. Stay tuned!
6. Edmonton Eskimos (6-8) Last Week: 7. Edmonton moves up a spot this week as they set their sights on that crossover spot in the East Division, and they did so by wiping out their main competition on Friday. The Esks are taking this race seriously, too: they’ve named Kerry Joseph their starting quarterback for the rest of the season. Ooooh, scary. But the Ti-Cat defence made Joseph look like a young Ricky Ray last week–which shows you the kind of team they’re up against. For the record, I think Edmonton will steal that sixth and final playoff spot.
7. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (4-10) Last Week: 8. With the win in Montreal, the Bombers have now equaled the Ti-Cats’ road win total. They’ve also beaten Hamilton twice. I guess we can call them the second-worst team in the CFL, at least for this week.
8. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (5-9) Last Week: 6. A streaky team throughout the first half, Hamilton has been so up-and-down lately, you’d swear they still had Kevin Glenn at quarterback. But no, they traded him for Smiling/Frowning Hank Burris, whose lofty passing statistics have failed to translate into wins. Their lack of a shut-down defence hasn’t helped, either. Like Winnipeg, I expect Hamilton to be on the outside looking in come playoff time.