CFL Power Rankings: Week 16 | Football | CBC Sports

CFLCFL Power Rankings: Week 16

Posted: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 | 01:05 PM

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Saskatchewan safety Tyron Brackenridge celebrates after a goal-line stand that helped preserve the Riders' 14-9 home win over Edmonton. (Liam Richards/Canadian Press) Saskatchewan safety Tyron Brackenridge celebrates after a goal-line stand that helped preserve the Riders' 14-9 home win over Edmonton. (Liam Richards/Canadian Press)

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A big performance by the Saskatchewan defence helps the Roughriders climb into second spot in our weekly breakdown of the CFL's balance of power.

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

Overall record: 12-3
Streak: Won 3

Jon Cornish, one of the best running backs born anywhere on the big blue marble this column has seen in 46 years, rumbled for 130 yards on 15 carries against B.C. and every one of them must have been painful to stop. When he's on, the Stamps are pretty much money in the online bank account. And it helps when you have the best O-Line in the league (beaten up though it may be). The defence let the Lions back into this one after building a decent lead, but came up with the key pick-6 to seal the deal. Welcome to the CFL, Clifton "Peanut" Smith (who is 5-foot-9 like I'm Tom Hanks), who put up 188 total yards in kick returns filling in for Larry Taylor. His new club is the best team in the league. Backup QB Drew Tate, by the way, is talking his way out of town.
Overall record: 10-5
Streak: Won 2

Let's talk about the defence. Great job vs. Edmonton. Three sacks, a couple of picks, chased QB Mike Reilly all over the field and came up with a big-time goal-line stand in the dying moments when it was needed to save the club from an embarrassing loss. Let's talk about the offence. RB Kory Sheets had 106 yards but it was on 24 carries as he had to make room for himself a yard here, five there. Darian Durant threw for only 170 yards and two picks in a poor outing. They gave up three sacks and two picks. That was Edmonton they were playing, not Calgary. There's so much more to this team than they show. Oh, and that's four nasty headshots by Riders this year.
3. TORONTO ARGONAUTS [Down from 2]
Overall record: 9-6
Streak: Lost 2

Getting Ricky Ray back from six games off with a shoulder injury didn't keep the Argos from falling behind early yet again thanks to bad penalties and dumb errors. Ray was rusty in the first half, but he was hardly on the field as the defence couldn't stop the long drives Hamilton was able to put together, especially on the ground. Missing cornerback Patrick Watkins and safety Matt Black was a big deal, and the Cats took advantage. Note to receivers: Catch the stupid ball. Chad Owens, the 2012 MVP, hasn't been himself all season and still isn't as he works back this time from injury. RB Chad Kackert was out again and it hurt the running attack. Toronto can still take care of business by winning back-to-backs against Winnipeg.
Overall record: 8-7
Streak: Won 2

Really a tie for third as the Cats get above .500 with a pair of statement victories over the Argonauts. Henry Burris has so many weapons now with a slew of talented receivers matching the running and blocking of C.J. Gable (17 carries for 118 yards). Defensively there were worries, as when Ray found the range in the second half he picked Hamilton apart. It has been in the Kitties' DNA over the last decade to pick up a big win or two and then collapse for a couple of weeks. A pair with Montreal offers a chance to show this isn't your older brother's Ticats. First job is wrap up home field for the semifinal, second job is taking a shot at first place in the East. Says here is doesn't matter where the playoff games are held, however, as the Cats will be a tough team to beat anywhere.
5.B.C. LIONS [Down from 4]
Overall record: 9-6
Streak: Lost 2

You cannot let a club like Calgary build a big lead and expect to win. Lions did a nice job of fighting back to a tie by the fourth, but the team was pretty much exhausted by then, and it showed. Thomas DeMarco threw for 301 yards (after a horrible first quarter), but also tossed a pair of picks, including one that went back the other way late in the game. B.C. will welcome Travis Lulay back when he's ready (soon, they say, and the first stringer was out tossing the ball prior to the game). Poor special teams coverage left the defence with its backs against their own goalposts far too much in this one. Still no running game to speak of, and the weeks are running out to find one.
Overall record: 6-9
Streak: Lost 1

Winnipeg. They lost to Winnipeg. At home. In a game that could have given the Larks a run at a home playoff game. Good news on this day is the Als won the toss, but then ruined things by not leaving immediately for Thanksgiving dinner. This turquie was caused by four interceptions, awful downfield coverage when needed most and an all-around malaise that seemed strange for a club with a lot on the line. There was no pressure on the quarterback, so a Bomber offence given to mistakes wasn't forced into any. Weird stat of the week shows Montreal cut its penalties down to just seven but still lost. Maybe that was the problem?
Overall record: 3-12
Streak: Lost 3

Rennie Curran (filling in for J.C. Sherrit with 11 big tackles and a pick) and the defence set out to make a statement for next year against the Riders and gave up just 14 points. Still, the Eskimos lost, continuing a season where the moral victory has replaced the actual one far too many times. And those 13 penalties were killers. QB Mike Reilly, who hasn't looked right since his concussion three games back, almost had a chance to win this thing and, it says here, actually did on that crack from the one in the dying moments. No way to tell conclusively, though, because he was under four big bodies so the replay didn't help. Have to compliment the club for playing this hard, but that doesn't pay the piper.
Overall record: 3-12
Streak: Won 1

Kyle Walters, the acting GM, has set out to rebuild the offensive line as job one, so he should be thrilled with the effort his front five put in against Montreal on Thanksgiving. No sacks, opened up good holes for Will Ford to grab 93 yards on the ground, and helped Max Hall have a good day at QB. This win was not pretty, but when you only have three of them you'll take what you can get. The Bombers played with courage and enthusiasm as players start showing what they can do for next year's jobs. Another great afternoon for Ford, who had 202 total yards. Now two with the Argos. Players hate playing the spoiler because it means the season was bad, but what the hey, let's go.

Follow Malcolm Kelly on Twitter @sportsnag

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