Week Four was all about the defence, as only two teams topped 20 points across the league. What’s more, not one, not two, but three franchises were held to single digits, a rarity in professional football–though it should come as no surprise that all three of said teams played in the East Division last season. ;)
On the other hand, the B.C. Lions’ 41-point output surpassed the combined scoring total of both teams in the other three games. After two straight wins, it looks like the Lions are right back in the playoff hunt. Even if B.C. can’t catch the top teams out West (and, I gotta say, I think they’ll pass Winnipeg next week), we can safely say the crossover rule will be in full effect this season. Enjoy your inaugural victory, REDBLACKS!!!!! fans–your team now leads the Least Division!!!!!
Of course, they’re nowhere near the top of this week’s Gruesomeviews Power Rankings…
Last Week’s Rankings
1. Edmonton Eskimos (4-0) Last Week: 3. Now, I don’t like to see Edmonton atop any list aside from the national murder rankings, but I must give credit to the Eskies, who’ve already equaled their win total from all of last season. B.C. might have put more points on the board, but there was no Week Four win more impressive than Edmonton’s 26-3 road dismantling of the previously-undefeated Blue Bombers. Sure sets up one heckuva Battle of Alberta on Thursday!
2. Calgary Stampeders (3-0) Last Week: 1. Alas, the Stamps also enter Edmonton undefeated, and while they too kept their Week Four opponents out of the end zone, twas a much closer contest than expected versus the lowly Hamilton Tiger-Cats. But while their offence couldn’t really get on track last Friday, the Calgary defence is simply sensational, allowing just 30 points over its first three games. No, not 30 points a game–more like 30 points a month; they’ve only allowed one TD to date! Considering that Edmonton’s the only other team to give up fewer than 60 points thus far, we could be headed for a lower-scoring contest than you might think. But on the bright side, word has it that Jon Cornish will be back in time for the first BoA, giving the Stamps’ run-game a much-needed boost. My prediction: Cowtown 20, Deadmonton 10.
3. B.C. Lions (2-2) Last Week: 5. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that a 41-5 win will give a team’s power ranking a big boost. Coming up all the way from dead last in my Week Two rankings, B.C. now appears poised to contend in the West Division after back-to-back wins. And while the Lions are still without Travis Lulay for a couple more weeks, nobody in Vancouver can complain about Kevin Glenn’s stat line last night: 23-31, 301 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs. And how bout that defence, eh?
4. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (3-1) Last Week: 2. Throughout Winnipeg’s hot start, I kept saying “Wait ’till they play the West!” The Bombers’ first three wins all came against the East Division, which they would still be leading comfortably had they not been realigned after Ottawa’s re-entry into the league. And sure enough, Winnipeg’s first intra-divisional matchup couldn’t have gone much worse, as they were held to just a lone field goal on their home turf. After his hot start to the season, Drew “Big Willy Style” came crashing down faster than Will Smith’s rap career, completing just 52 per cent of his passes for no touchdowns and a pick. The Bombers face another tough test in Week Five, traveling to B.C. to face a Lions team that tends to feast on Eastern teams at 10 pm. Of course, they now represent the West, but I’m still repeating my Week One call of Winnipeg claiming the crossover spot, and subsequently winning the East, this season.
5. Ottawa REDBLACKS!!!!!! (1-2) Last Week: 9. Congrats to Ottawa on the franchise’s first win (assuming they aren’t a continuation of the Rough Riders and the Renegades). But that doesn’t change the fact that the REDBLACKS!!!!! didn’t score a TD last week, kicking six field goals in the victory. And hey, their starting QB is still 39 years old, and his name’s still Henry Burris. But you know what, I think Ottawa could actually make the playoffs out East this season. I know I’d much rather have 39-year-old Sexting Hank than any of the pivots they’ve got in Hamilton or Montreal, at least for the next year or two. And hey, their fanbase is almost completely on board–I can personally attest that only single seats and nosebleeds remain for the game against Calgary on August 24. In fact, I’ll actually be forced to sit in the second level!
6. Saskatchewan Roughriders (1-2) Last Week: 7. That’s right, the Riders moved up a spot without playing a game in Week Four. Cuz hey, I’m pretty sure they scored more than 17 points in their intra-squad scrimmage. ;)
7. Toronto Argonauts (1-3) Last Week: 6. Congrats Toronto, you just lost to an expansion team! For the second straight week, the Argos failed to hit 20 points on the scoreboard, though they at least found the end zone–albeit once–in Ottawa. Being held to 15 points by the stingy Stampeders D isn’t so shameful, but when you’re kept under 20 by a first-year franchise that’s still giving up 27 per game, well, now you’ve got problems. I still like the Argos to win the East (in the regular season), but they need to find some offence, fast! Sure enough, a Week Five date with Saskatchewan, who surrendered 48 points to the Boatmen in their home opener, could be just what the captain called for…
8. Montreal Alouettes (1-3) Last Week: 4. The Als were Week Four’s biggest losers, both on the scoreboard and in my power rankings. After a pretty positive performance by Troy Smith in Week Three, the second-year CFL pivot took a huge step backwards last night, to the tune of 5-for-17, 45 yards passing. Chad Johnson looked so bored on the sidelines that I’m surprised he didn’t take a little time to practice his short game. It might not help that the overhyped import refuses to waggle, but it increasingly looks like he doesn’t have anyone to just give him the damn ball. (Whoops, wrong Johnson!)
9. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (0-3) Last Week: 8. After three straight road losses to start the season, the Tabbies come home next week to the friendly confines of…McMaster University’s Ron Joyce Stadium, seating capacity 6,000. And with the way they’ve been playing, it might not even be full. Though their defence appears to be pretty decent, Hamilton’s been scoring fewer than 14 points per game this season. But if they beat the REDBLACKS!!!!! at their home away from home next week, they could very well move into a four-way tie for first place in the East–all at no better than 1-3. Which, ultimately, is somewhat akin to kissing your sister…if she looks like this: