Most teams didn’t have much to play for in Week 19, but we still got two great games decided by a last-second field goal. On the other hand, Saturday’s action wasn’t very exciting, what with three out of the four participants more concerned with resting key players for the postseason. But hey, at least Winnipeg won its last game at CanadInns. I mean, the new stadium will be ready for next season, right?
Week 19 Power Rankings
1. Calgary Stampeders (12-6) Last Week: 2. Yeah, I know that B.C. hasn’t had anything to play for (except to not get injured) these past couple weeks, but no team is heading into the playoffs hotter than the Stamps, winners of four straight. And sure, their last two opponents might not have been giving it their all, but by putting up 32 points per game in October, the league’s second-highest scoring offence looks primed for the playoffs. There is some question as to who starts at QB next week, but me, I’d take the continuity of Kevin Glenn here. Drew Tate didn’t do enough to impress against Edmonton, and he still looks a little rusty after missing most of the year. Should make for an interesting battle in training camp next season–though Glenn probably has the edge if he leads this team to the Grey Cup.
2. B.C. Lions (13-5) Last Week: 1. It’s kind of hard to fault a team that held its opponent to just six points last night, but keep in mind that the Riders were starting journeyman J.T. O’Sullivan at QB for the second half. Even the Hamilton defence could (maybe) hold ‘em under 20 in those circumstances. And hey, Travis Lulay’s back, but his 9-for-14, 88-yard performance was nothing to write home about. In fact, O’Sullivan threw for just three fewer yards in as many completions and attempts! Don’t get me wrong, the Lions are still poised to defend their title, but I think Calgary’s the hotter team heading into the postseason, even if it remains to be seen whether they can win at B.C. Place.
3. Montreal Alouettes (11-7) Last Week: 3. Like B.C., Montreal hasn’t had anything to play for the past couple weeks. Unlike the Lions, their starting QB didn’t see a single snap on Saturday, and while Adrian McPherson had a good game on the ground, rolling up over 100 yards rushing, he didn’t do too much in the passing attack. Mind you, that’s entirely irrelevant to Montreal’s fortunes; the backup quarterback was simply auditioning for a job next year–in Winnipeg, where Joe Mack is bound to be stabbed if he brings back Beat Up Buck as his QB next season. In any case, the Als will have a big home-field advantage at the Big O for the Eastern Final, but hey, it’s not like they’ve never lost there before…
4. Toronto Argonauts (9-9) Last Week: 4. Talk about an embarrassing beatdown. Ricky Ray and Chad Kackert didn’t see a snap between them, and Chad Owens was pulled as soon as he broke the all-purpose yardage record–and yet, the Argos still put up 43 points on Hamilton in a must-win game for their opponent. Not that there’s any QB controversy in TO after the passing exploits of Jarious Jackson and Zach Collaros; Ray has looked sharp in his two starts back from injury, and the team is finally putting some points on the board. The flipside is that their usually-reliable defence has given up 40+ in two of the last three weeks–and one of those games was against Winnipeg. We should be in for some exciting postseason football in the T-Dot, one way or another!
5 (tied). Edmonton Eskimos (7-11) Last Week: 5. Saskatchewan Roughriders (8-10) Last Week: 6. Though they both stumbled into the playoffs, there are no real winners here. The Esks and Riders combined for just one win in October–and that came when Edmonton beat Saskatchewan in Week 16. If Edmonton has the upper hand here, it’s because by crossing over, they’ll face an easier road to the Grey Cup; but I don’t expect a legion of Eskie fans to travel to Toronto for the Eastern Semi, the way Rider Nation would. (Besides, there’s bound to be a bunch of ‘em in Calgary next Sunday–some of whom might not even live there!) That said, I foresee an early playoff exit for both of these teams.
7. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (6-12) Last Week: 8. While they finished the season tied for the worst record in the league, at least Winnipeg ended the year on a winning note. But unless they can rebuild Buck Pierce with robot parts, they’re going to need to shake some things up this off-season. Hey, maybe they can land Ricky Ray once the Argos realize that even with an elite QB at the helm, Torontonians still can’t be bothered to go to their games. I mean, he was probably a one-year, get-us-to-the-Grey-Cup rental anyways…
8. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (6-12) Last Week: 7. Never thought I’d say this, but I actually feel bad for Henry Burris. The man throws for just under 500 yards and four TDs, and yet his defence gives up 43 points–to the Argos’ second- and third-stringers. Hell, if I was Hank, I think I’d demand a trade to Winnipeg. At least the Bombers D can hold teams under 30! (29.5 ppg allowed, which is still better than Hamilton…)