CFL Power Rankings: Week 19 | Football | CBC Sports

CFL Power RankingsCFL Power Rankings: Week 19

Posted: Monday, November 7, 2011 | 09:10 AM

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B.C. defenders Aaron Hunt, left, and Brent Johnson celebrate during the Lions’ total annihilation of the Montreal Alouettes in the final week of the regular season. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press) B.C. defenders Aaron Hunt, left, and Brent Johnson celebrate during the Lions’ total annihilation of the Montreal Alouettes in the final week of the regular season. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

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Once a week, Malcolm Kelly breaks down the balance of power in the Canadian Football League.

Once a week, Malcolm Kelly breaks down the balance of power in the Canadian Football League.

1. B.C. LIONS [Up from 2]
Overall record: 11-7
Streak: Two wins

That beating laid on Montreal was the most impressive win in a string of 10 victories in 11 games by the Lions, who more than earned a week off and home field for the West final. QB Travis Lulay is a beauty, and he has all sorts of weapons now with people back off the injury list. Tim Brown and Andrew Harris are a strong combination out of the backfield and there are receivers galore. But it's the defence that will take them to the promised Lotus Land, headed by that athletic freak, Solomon Elimimian.
2. CALGARY STAMPEDERS [Down from 1]
Overall record: 11-7
Streak: Three wins

That was an up-and-down-and-up game against Winnipeg to finish off. The White Stallions were fabulous in the first quarter, terrible in the second to let the Bombers back in after building a 24-0 lead, and then came up with an excellent defensive effort, led by Juwan Simpson, in the final 30 minutes to wrap things up. The fast start was set up by a fumble and then a blocked kick. Drew Tate and the offence converted those chances but did not look strong the rest of the way and that's a worry. The semi in Edmonton could be a low scoring affair, especially if the weather turns sour.
3. EDMONTON ESKIMOS [Up from 4]
Overall record: 11-7
Streak: One win

Ricky Ray is still slinging it with the best in the league. Jerome Messam is a threat from the backfield (and congrats on that 1,000 yards by a Canuck runner, by the way), Adarius Bowman (10 catches, 226 yards, two TDs) gives them another threat to match Fred Stamps, and they have the second best defence in the league. This week the Eskimos will host a home playoff game for the first time since 2004. With locals and southern imports filling the stands, Commonwealth should be rocking.
4. WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS [Up from 5]
Overall record: 10-8
Streak: Two losses

Both East leaders backed into the playoffs on losing streaks, but Winnipeg has more to be positive about. The Bombers' O-Line collapsed on QB Alex Brink in the early going, and a blocked kick was no help. But the blue and gold fought back from 24-0 in Calgary and had a chance to win in the late going. Brink was OK, and two weeks off may be enough to bring Buck Pierce and his wonky knee back. Odell Willis and the defence aren't playing with the swagger they once were, and they will have to get their mojo back.
5. MONTREAL ALOUETTES [Down from 3]
Overall record: 10-8
Streak: Three losses

Needing two playoff wins to make it back to the Grey Cup game was precisely what the Als did not want. A season-long battle with injury, the pressure that put on veterans to compensate for newcomers, and the regular toil of 17 contests led to Saturday's pounding by the Lions when first place in the East and a week off were available. Linebacker Chip Cox was all over the field on Saturday, and that's part of the problem. The key vets are working so hard to be everywhere at once it's creating other holes all over the place. Can Anthony Calvillo convince his body to stay together for three more contests?
6. HAMILTON TIGER-CATS [Unchanged]
Overall record: 8-10
Streak: Two losses

Couldn't get any read on the Cats this week because they rested some key elements, played all three QBs and, due to shortages and injury, had a fullback playing receiver half the game. This was their second game in five days. No team has underachieved more than Hamilton. They'll need all parts working together to have any hope in Montreal. Marcel Bellefeuille has to pick a pivot early in the week and it says here it will be Kevin Glenn. Can they beat Montreal? Sure, especially given the Als' injury troubles. They could also lose by 35 and come home with their tails between their legs.
7. TORONTO ARGONAUTS [Unchanged]
Overall record: 6-12
Streak: Two wins

Quote from Jim Barker after the season ended: "The GM will sit down with the head coach and we'll have a nice discussion about where he's at." He was trying to be funny, but the line highlighted the problem with this organization. Barker, head coach and general manager, is spending too much time talking to himself with no one to tell him no. Three wins out of four to finish the season was not indicative that this team is close to being competitive, and it would be a huge error for upper management to think so. Ask Leafs fans about strong late surges. Not counting this year.
8. SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS [Unchanged]
Overall record: 5-13
Streak: One loss

Hard to keep your head up when you go 0-10 against your own division. First order of business for these defeated Pirates of the Saskatchewan is not to pick a new captain but to decide whether GM Brendan Taman walks the plank. His team is actually 6-17 in the last 23 regular season games going back to last year, messed up the head coach search, allowed disgruntled players to influence management decisions and panicked under pressure. Rider Nation is flying the Jolly Roger for a reason.

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