CFL Power Rankings: Week 15 | Football | CBC Sports

CFL Power RankingsCFL Power Rankings: Week 15

Posted: Monday, October 7, 2013 | 08:52 AM

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Jon Cornish (9) of the Stampeders breaks tackles en route to the end zone in a 38-11 win over the Blue Bombers on Saturday. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press) Jon Cornish (9) of the Stampeders breaks tackles en route to the end zone in a 38-11 win over the Blue Bombers on Saturday. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

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CBC Sports football contributor Malcolm Kelly breaks down the balance of power in the Canadian Football League on a weekly basis.

CBC Sports football contributor Malcolm Kelly breaks down the balance of power in the Canadian Football League on a weekly basis:

1. CALGARY STAMPEDERS [Up from 2]
Overall record: 11-3
Streak: Won 2

Around the middle of last week, the offensive coaching staff must have been going over the gameplan for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and realized it was wasting a lot of time: "Aw, just give the ball to [RB Jon] Cornish and let's go get a pop." Calgary did, 17 times for 208 yards on the ground and another 24 yards in the air. QB Kevin Glenn had so much time as a result that he threw for 320 yards and two touchdowns in just three quarters before GM Hufnagel told head coach Hufnagel to dangle QB Drew Tate in front of the scouts from Le Rouge et Noir d'Ottawa for the fourth frame. While all that was going on, WR Joe West was catching eight balls for 120 yards and WR Marquay McDaniel five more for 123. Hard to tell what beating a lousy club means, but for now it means the White Stallions are back on top.
2. TORONTO ARGONAUTS [Down from 1]
Overall record: 9-5
Streak: Lost 1

Falling behind early had to catch up to these guys eventually. Going down 22-6 in the first half to Hamilton looked like the opening act for a fifth-straight comeback, but it wasn't to be as too many second downs weren't converted, too many penalties -- some a tad questionable, but hey, that's the game -- on defence and no answer for a late clock-killing and ground-grinding drive by the Cats sent a big crowd home disappointed, save for the 3,000 Hamilton fans. QB Zach Collaros has had an impressive run, but time is out for now (right around the time defensive co-ordinators have enough film to learn trends) as QB Ricky Ray looks ready to come back on Thanksgiving Monday in Guelph, Ont. Toronto must have that one or suddenly the Cats will believe all things are possible, including first in the East Division. SB Chad Owens returned, though he's not quite in form yet.
3. SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS [Up from 4]
Overall record: 9-5
Streak: Won 1

This was the best the Riders have played in almost two months. The running game was back and so was the offence. RB Kory Sheets is both in the lineup and healthy again, showing how much he can dominate the game. Those 80 yards rushing and two short TDs, plus another 41 yards passing, put the defence in the position of not being able to cheat by dropping off early into coverage. That meant QB Darian Durant had more time and thus was forced into fewer mistakes. Riders also had 254 return yards, putting them in good field position. Huge shout to the defensive line of Jermaine McElveen (2), John Chick, Rick Foley and Tearrius George, who came up with five sacks, four in the second half. Are the Green and White back? We'll see, but the ingredients are there. They still have two games left with the Edmonton Eskimos, so the possibilities are endless.
4.B.C. LIONS [Down from 3]
Overall record: 9-5
Streak: Lost 1

This game with the Riders went south in the second quarter when the visitors scored, QB Thomas DeMarco marched his Lions down the field to the 12-yard line, only to be picked off and then Saskatchewan scored again. DeMarco, who threw his first three picks of the year, is like Collaros with Toronto -- co-ordinators are picking up his tendencies. That said, the Lions moved the ball, but mistakes killed them. Thirteen penalties didn't help. Safety J.R. LaRose had a rough night with two pass interference calls. And five sacks were far too many. Jokes about those uniforms aside (please, offer jokes below!), B.C. should be all right once QB Travis Lulay gets back, though that won't be for another two weeks at least. He'll need a consistent running game when he returns.
5. HAMILTON TIGER-CATS [Unchanged]
Overall record: 7-7
Streak: Won 1

The Kitties sharpened their claws and came out ready to scratch out a win any way they could in Toronto to keep their hopes of first overall in the East alive. They'll have to win the second of the back-to-back, however, or second is the best they'll do. QB Henry Burris was a solid 19 of 31 for 274 yards, two TDs and just one pick after a bad outing the week before. RB C.J. Gable had another 96 yards, including key carries in the late going that killed the clock. Hamilton's defence played a nice first half and looked to be throwing it away in a third quarter when everyone in white, black and gold fell asleep, but it came through again in the final 15 when needed most. It was disciplined outing that came at a perfect time because right on the Cats' tails are...
6. MONTREAL ALOUETTES [Unchanged]
Overall record: 6-8
Streak: Won 2

How nice for QB Josh Neiswander to get a good game under his belt, given he's the only real option now as the Alouettes make a late run for second place in the East (still two games left with Hamilton). The Larks went to Edmonton knowing they had to crush the Eskimos' thin crossover playoff hopes and they did just that. Despite 21 meaningless late points from the hosts, this was a complete drubbing by a Montreal club put together with gum, wooden popsicle sticks and those blue plasticine dot things we put posters up with nowadays. Those 188 yards on the ground evoked memories of the pre-Brandon Whitaker injury Larks. WR Arland Bruce may be old (don't tell him), but he can still come up with a big-time receiving game when the opportunities arise. Club is still taking too many penalties.
7. EDMONTON ESKIMOS [Unchanged]
Overall record: 3-11
Streak: Lost 2

With the mirage of a playoff spot off in the distance, the Eskimos came out this week and threw up a camel's hair coat. Unprepared. Uncommitted. They gave up 47 points to the league's worst offence, one using its third-string QB and a pieced-together offensive line. A tweet during the game complained Edmonton's offence wasn't helping the defenders at all, but Warren Moon and the 1981 Eskimo offence couldn't have helped this group on this day. The Eskimos gave up 187 yards on the ground and somehow allowed QB Josh Neiswander to throw for four TDs on just 15 completions. QB Mike Reilly is allowed to start (doctors cleared him) after suffering a concussion the week before and he clearly was not himself. Reilly exited at halftime, when the game was already out of hand. Jonathan Crompton came on instead of fellow backup QB Kerry Joseph and threw for three TDs and three picks, only getting anywhere when the game long lost. Edmonton must now pivot towards 2014.
8. WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS [Unchanged]
Overall record: 2-12
Streak: Lost 4

If you want to know how a professional handles himself when playing for a club trending towards historically bad, look up No. 30 in your Winnipeg program. RB Will Ford carried just 11 times against the Stamps, but rolled up 156 yards and never once stopped moving his legs. He also added 148 yards and a TD on kick returns, showing whomever coaches this club next year that one of the starting jobs should be his. That's how it's done. That's what the rest of this year means for the players. Using that as a guide, how many defenders are going to be employed in 2014? The Blue Bombers gave up 622 total yards to Calgary. QB Max Hall only completed 15 passes, despite hard work by the front five and Ford's outstanding running. Hang in there Bombers fans. Four games left, then it's all Jets until next summer.

Follow Malcolm Kelly on Twitter @sportsnag

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