CFL Power Rankings: Week 3 | Football | CBC Sports

CFLCFL Power Rankings: Week 3

Posted: Monday, July 15, 2013 | 11:08 AM

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Receiver Rob Bagg, right, and quarterback Darian Durant helped Saskatchewan sink the Grey Cup champion Argos in Toronto last week. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press) Receiver Rob Bagg, right, and quarterback Darian Durant helped Saskatchewan sink the Grey Cup champion Argos in Toronto last week. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

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The Saskatchewan Roughriders' hot start appears to be for real this year, writes Malcolm Kelly in his weekly breakdown of the balance of power in the Canadian Football League.

Malcolm Kelly breaks down the balance of power in the Canadian Football League:

1. SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS [Unchanged]
Overall record:3-0
Streak: Won 3

They're reaching for the oxygen out on the prairie, and why not? As Corey Chamblin pointed out in the scrum after beating the Argos on Thursday, his club has now taken down both Grey Cup clubs from last year, Toronto and Calgary, on the way to a perfect start. The Riders began 2012 at 3-0 but that had elements of a mirage to it as would be quickly revealed. You don't get that feeling with this year's group. Impressed by how calm these guys were afterwards. Darian Durant suffered an ankle injury that turned out to be a sprain. Don't know if he can get back in time for the first of the back-to-back with Hamilton this week.
2. B.C. LIONS [Unchanged]
Overall record: 2-1
Streak: Won 2

Torrential rain, or shine, this defence can bring it each week. Faced with the slick conditions at Commonwealth Stadium and the swarming attack by the white and orange, Edmonton QB Mike Reilly didn't have much of a clue. Travis Lulay did what true pro pivots do by finding just enough out there to put the game away in the third quarter. Nice job by Bearded Hugh O'Neill, who looks like Dave, my section leader at the Outward Bound Wilderness School back in 1979. The young kicker punted the poop out of that heavy, water-soaked ball all night. West already looking like a drag 'em out battle.
3. CALGARY STAMPEDERS[Unchanged]
Overall record: 2-1
Streak: Won 1

Easy to see the competitive difference between the Stamps and the Als this week -- Calgary can run and Montreal can't. Jon Cornish was handed the ball 18 times against a defence that can still bring it up front, and he ground out 90 difficult yards, killing clock, improving field position. Without Drew Tate, QB Kevin Glenn ran a considered, nicely plotted attack that did the job. Don't know how long Tate will be out with the strained forearm. Best thing about this game was the way the Stamps took a look at the way Montreal scored their first-quarter touchdown -- using the flats and the sidelines -- and adjusted perfectly. Als could do nothing after that.
4. TORONTO ARGONAUTS[Unchanged]
Overall record: 1-2
Streak: Lost 2

As the defending Grey Cup champs, Toronto is not judged against the rest of the CFL, only with the best of the clubs. Losses to B.C. and Saskatchewan show they are trailing the elite right now. That's especially true in the defensive backfield -- newcomers and holdovers are still working things out, and that's giving opponents open targets back there. Another concern is on special teams, where the blockers aren't giving Chad Owens anything to work with, his return numbers are down, thus field position for Ricky Ray is reduced. Offence is only a problem, however, in terms of whether it can score enough points to overcome the problematic defence.
5. HAMILTON TIGER-CATS[Up from 8]
Overall record:1-2
Streak: Won 1

We mentioned to coach Kent Austin how nice it must be to have the rest of the East struggling along as he works things out with his new club. Austin said "Blah, blah, working hard, blah, blah, finding our way." And then he grinned. The Cats almost defeated the Argos on the road and played just well enough to down Winnipeg under the beating sun at Guelph this weekend. Roles reversed nicely as the offence spluttered along, building up yardage but unable to complete drives (those seven sacks didn't help), while the often insulted defence put in a nice effort. Nothing overwhelming, you understand, but enough to put a smile on the face of the boss.
6. WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS[Unchanged]
Overall record: 1-2
Streak: Lost 1

Could somebody in Manitoba please buy QB Buck Pierce a new offensive line? Six sacks, for gosh sakes, and it wasted a good effort from a defence that bent often against a solid attack but didn't break much. They held Henry Burris up five times, sacked him seven, forcing the Cats to settle for singles. The Bombers self destructed, however. Special teams weren't good (that botched fake punt early in the game was ridiculous). Chad Simpson had 11 carries for 116 yards but was ignored for much of the game. And then there were a junior high school level 19 penalties for 161 yards. That's simply unconscionable. Or unconscious, one or the other.

7. MONTREAL ALOUETTES[Unchanged]
Overall record: 1-2
Streak: Lost 2

At least this time no one yelled at anyone else in front of the TV cameras. Offensive woes continue as the Larks scored an early touchdown against Calgary and then didn't score again until a late major. Anthony Calvillo completed 22 passes this week for just 205 yards, as the Als' new playbook continues to feature short completions that rely on yards after catch for success. Except, they aren't getting any YAC, and things won't improve as the offensive line picks up more injuries. Also, there's no running attack to take pressure off Calvillo, and a beaten-up line won't help there, either. Depressing so far.

8. EDMONTON ESKIMOS [Down from 5]
Overall record: 1-2
Streak: Lost 1

It's a little harsh for the folks to boo the home side off the field when they've played two straight in a Baptist downpour. Still, B.C. came up with enough offence to win, why couldn't the green and gold? Here's why: That's Travis Lulay quarterbacking the Lions, and his backup from last year, Mike Reilly, running the Edmonton attack. Reilly hasn't been in town long enough to find the fastest route to the stadium let alone to recognize all the routes his receivers are running. Those 11 penalties were no help. Could be way off here, but just feel like a month to get some experience and this isn't going to be that bad a team.


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