CBC Sports football contributor Malcolm Kelly breaks down the balance of power in the Canadian Football League on a weekly basis:
|1. TORONTO ARGONAUTS [Unchanged]|
Overall record: 9-4
Streak: Won 4
A remarkable four-game winning streak on the road brings the Double Blue home looking 1-2 as best team in the league. QB Zach Collaros has been inconsistent in first half play, but outstanding in the second half. Again on Saturday, the Argos slept through the opening 30 minutes, taking seven penalties and exploded in the second, ending Edmonton's hopes for an upset. RB Chad Kackert returned, bringing his top gear with him, and the Grey Cup MVP put on a 155-yard show. Huge for Toronto. On the down side, you have to wonder if K Swayze Waters still isn't quite right after a long injury layoff as he missed three field goals, two from in close and bombing a long one. Length would seem to indicate he's physically fine; the misses that he's rusty as heck.
|2. CALGARY STAMPEDERS [Unchanged] |
Overall record: 10-3
Streak: Won 1
Calgary simply does not lose two games in a row. The Stamps did nothing for the first 15 minutes in Guelph, Ont., then exploded for a pair of touchdowns in two swishes of a stallion's tail. They simply took off from the Cats, taking advantage of each mistake made by Hamilton, including five interceptions. QB Kevin Glenn is such an old pro and, when he's gets 114 yards from RB Jon Cornish, the possibilities increase exponentially. Now some concerns. The defence gave up 147 yards on the ground and 268 in the air. Must be better than that as we come down the stretch to the wire. That's six-straight years with 10 wins or better, by the way. Thought: Wonder if Le Rouge et Noir d'Ottawa scouts are intrigued by QB Drew Tate as a possible draft pick? Wonder if Calgary is trying to intrigue them?
|3.B.C. LIONS [Unchanged] |
Overall record: 9-4
Streak: Won 3
There was no messing around this week against the pathetic Bombers. The Leos put their cleats on the opponent's neck and ground them into the turf -- as you are supposed to do with an inferior opponent. B.C.'s defence knew it had to give backup QB Thomas DeMarco help, so it came up with two fumble return touchdowns and a pick six. What a game for LB Adam Bighill, who had 10 tackles, a sack, two forced fumbles and a TD return. Offensively, DeMarco played a careful game, completing 17 passes for 170 yards and a TD, and it was great seeing Buck Pierce return to Winnipeg after his recent trade to make a small contribution (4-of-8 passing). Still not sure when Travis Lulay will return at QB. Lions rushed for almost 120 yards and that's great news, though now they have to do it against a real team.
|4. SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS [Unchanged]|
Overall record: 8-5
Streak: Lost 4
This team is in serious trouble until it can get a running game together -- RB Kory Sheets is due back next week -- and even then there are no guarantees. A good defensive effort against Montreal doesn't hide that the attack can't finish when it needs to. QB Darian Durant was forced to pass, the Als knew that and brought the house resulting in a 24-of-46 performance for a misleading 339 yards and three interceptions. Durant didn't have time to blink most of the day as he had red, white and blue jerseys in his face all the time, doubtless finishing black and blue. Right now, the Riders cannot win at home, cannot win on the road and have nowhere else to play (Hat tip: Harry Neale). Heading for a key game in B.C. Deeply respectful applause to Geroy Simon, now the CFL's all-time record holder for receptions in a career.
|5. HAMILTON TIGER-CATS [Unchanged]|
Overall record: 6-7
Streak: Lost 1
Not ready for prime time. What a disappointing outing by a club trying to make it into the First Division. Yes, the Stamps are one of the league's top two clubs, but the Kitties had nothing going on this night in Guelph. It started poorly when PK Brent Lauther followed his 4-for-4 debut performance by missing his first two field-goal attempts this time. Bad Henry showed up at QB in the first half as Burris had his worst outing of a good season, piling up the yards, but throwing three picks. And while Dan LeFevour looked OK in relief, he's not ready to be the answer yet. The offensive line was protecting their pivot and opening huge holes for RB C.J. Gable, but nothing ultimately came of it. WR Luke Tasker looked good in his debut. Then there's the defence. Bad outing. Too many open receivers. Too many yards on the ground. Now, back-to-back against Toronto hoping for one last try at first. Keep an eye out behind you, cat.
|6. MONTREAL ALOUETTES [Unchanged] |
Overall record: 5-8
Streak: Won 1
LB Chip Cox picks off QB Darian Durant in the end zone with seconds left and suddenly, improbably, the Larks are back in the fight for a home playoff game in the East. This was all defence. All pressure, all the time, held the Riders to 15 yards rushing (in the injury absence of Sheets). They gave up more than 300 yards passing, but almost nothing when the ball was in the shadow of their own goal posts. Four sacks and three key interceptions helped in that regard. WR Duron Carter continues to grow into early stardom (let's give him a little time here before anointing permanently) by catching six for 152 yards and a key late TD. QB Josh Neiswander played OK, but made no mistakes and that was key. Als have Edmonton and Winnipeg ahead before two with Hamilton.
|7. EDMONTON ESKIMOS [Unchanged]|
Overall record: 3-10
Streak: Lost 1
QB Mike Reilly was gooned out of a game the Eskimos might have won and it's now up to the CFL to do something once and for all about headshots. Especially when a guy leads with his helmet at the back of a lid on a player who is helpless. If there were fighting in football, that might have caused a bench-clearer. Edmonton played with heart against the top-ranked Argos, but five turnovers, four sacks and 14 penalties were just too much to overcome. You can't do that against a first-class team. Defence was ferocious at times, porous at others, especially on the ground in the second half and that cost a 21-point lead. Congrats to SB Fred Stamps on his 100th CFL game.
|8. WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS [Unchanged]|
Overall record: 2-11
Streak: Lost 3
Lions 53, Bombers 17. "I'm sorry, I have no response to that." -- Meg Ryan, Joe vs. the Volcano
Follow Malcolm Kelly on Twitter @sportsnag
Do you have improvements to suggest for this page?