If you had told me a month ago that the Saskatchewan Roughriders would be the best team in the CFL by mid-July, Ida toldja to run on back to Saskatoon. But sure enough, the Roughies are 3-0, with a big win over B.C. adding some legitimacy to their record. Meanwhile, the Stamps are last in the West, but they’re clearly the best 1-2 team in the league, after two tough late losses in the Eastern Timezone. And it seems the Eskies aren’t the worst team in the league–though it’s starting to look like Winnipeg might hold that title this season. Here’s how I see things after Week 3.
Week 3 Power Rankings
1. Saskatchewan Roughriders (3-0) Last Week: 2. After pasting a pair of patsies in their first two outings, the Riders proved they could play with the best by beating B.C. 23-20 yesterday. It was hardly a perfect performance–they gave up a ton of yardage on defence, for one thing–but they held the defending Grey Cup champs to less than three TDs, and that has to be recognized. Will be interesting to see how they fare against the Stamps at McMahon on Thursday. A big win on the road, and I might hafta stop making Saskatchewan jokes (for a couple weeks, anyways).
2. B.C. Lions (2-1) Last Week: 1. While the Lions had trouble finding the end zone yesterday, they were still just a couple uncharacteristic Paul McCallum missed kicks away from winning in Regina, a tough place to play. Thus, the loss doesn’t hurt ‘em too much in my books; they’re still the team to beat as far as I’m concerned.
3. Montreal Alouettes (2-1) Last Week: 3. Though they wouldn’t have won were it not for a late-game gift from Kevin Glenn, the Als nevertheless fought back from a big deficit to beat the Stamps in style Thursday night. Their high-scoring performances of the past two weeks show that the Calvillo machine still has some gas in the tank, and Montreal is once again the team to beat out East.
4. Calgary Stampeders (1-2) Last Week: 4. Though he threw the game away in the fourth quarter, Kevin Glenn had been having a pretty solid second half up to that point. Drew Tate is out for at least a month, but the Stamps offence has hardly missed a beat, putting up their third-straight 30-point performance. The downside is that they lost their second straight game by a field goal or less, but had a couple bounces gone their way, this team could easily be 3-0 right now.
5. Edmonton Eskimos (2-1) Last Week: 7. Coming off a pathetic one-point outing, the Esks certainly had something to prove when they faced off against Winnipeg on Friday night. While I had expected a low-scoring, hard-fought slobber-knocker, it turns out that the Bombers simply got the slobber knocked out of them, as the tandem of Jyles and Joseph combined for 374 yards and 3 TDs, building up a 35-to-zip halftime lead. That said, I can’t advance Edmonton more than a couple spots in the standings cuz Winnipeg’s clearly the worst team in the league right now. Beating them, even by a wide margin, don’t impress-ah me much.
6. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (1-2) Last Week: 6. A team that many expected to contend in the East this year now finds itself in second place by virtue of its win over Toronto. The Ti-Cats have bounced back from that embarrassing opening loss with improved results the past two weeks, which culminated in their first win of the season last night. But let’s not kid ourselves here. Two of the Tabbies five TDs came on kick returns–take those off the board and they lose the game. Henry Burris completed less than half of his passes for just 181 yards, while their offence managed just seven points in the second half, allowing the Argos back into the game after building up a 21-0 lead. This team is far from perfect, but should still be strong enough to secure a playoff spot in the East Division.
7. Toronto Argonauts (1-2) Last Week: 5. Three weeks into the season, it’s clear that Ricky Ray still has to work out some kinks in this new offence with its inexperienced receiving corps. After a great home opener, he threw for just 232 yards and no scores last night, tossing a late-game pick to seal his team’s fate. And while this team has always lived and died on the defensive side of the ball, they’ve given up 91 points through three games, just over 30 per content–which, incredibly, is the fewest in the East, although all four Western teams have much lower totals. Guess that just goes to show the West is the best…
8. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (0-3) Last Week: 8. Friday was supposed to be a winnable game for Winnipeg, but instead they gave up 42 points to an Edmonton team that didn’t score more than a rouge the week before. Clearly suffering from the off-season losses of Odell Willis and Doug Brown, the once-vaunted Bomber D has given up the most points in the league this year–while their offence has scored by far the fewest (only Edmonton even comes close), with just 56. You’d think they might have a chance to pick up their first win on Wednesday against my seventh-ranked team in Toronto, but then again, I also thought they’d win last week, and we all know how that turned out. Are they any hot prospects with the University of Manitoba Bison they can take first overall to sell tickets in their new stadium next season?