CFL Power Rankings: Week 19 | Football | CBC Sports

CFL Power RankingsCFL Power Rankings: Week 19

Posted: Monday, November 4, 2013 | 11:53 AM

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Stampeders wide receiver Jeff Fuller is tackled by defensive back Lin-J Shell in Friday's 26-7 loss to the Lions at Vancouver. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press) Stampeders wide receiver Jeff Fuller is tackled by defensive back Lin-J Shell in Friday's 26-7 loss to the Lions at Vancouver. (Darryl Dyck/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 [Unchanged]
Overall record: 14-4
Streak: Lost 1

This useless weekend came down to whether you wanted to play your regulars and keep them sharp or not play them and keep them healthy. Calgary went for the former and may now be without defensive tackles Micah Johnson and Demonte Bolden and top receiver Marquay McDaniel for the West final in less than two weeks. At least they gave RB Jon Cornish, who should win both top Canadian and most outstanding player this year, a short night before sending him to the bench. As the injuries piled, the players apparently decided it wasn't worth it and cruised the rest of the way. Absolutely the right thing to do. The White Stallions have been finding ways around big injuries all season. But boy, this could be tough. Congratulations to PK Rene Parades, the best single-year, field-goal kicker in CFL history at 94.73 per cent. And yes, that's ridiculous.
2. SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS [Unchanged]
Overall record: 11-7
Streak: Lost 2

The Roughriders did the right thing and sat out a bunch o' folks, including QB Darian Durant and RB Kory Sheets as they prepare for B.C. this week in the West semifinal (NB: If you're looking for Grey Cup tickets and accommodation, pull for a Saskatchewan loss). Backup QBs Drew Willy and Tino Sunseri, who was a college star at Pitt, combined for 36 first downs in a 30-26 loss to Edmonton. Willy's pick-six in the first half wasn't a highlight. But it was about experience, after all. RB Chris Garrett was in Sheets and piled up 152 yards on the ground. But there's no room for him on the playoff roster. If you see Garrett from here on in, it's bad news because the star (Sheets) went down. Of concern, those 262 yards in returns given up to RB Jamal Miles, including the winning TD, had better not happen in the semi or it's going to be an early winter on the prairie.
3. TORONTO ARGONAUTS [Unchanged]
Overall record: 11-7
Streak: Lost 1

Argonauts head coach Scott Milanovich learned from his mentor Marc Trestman, now coaching the Chicago Bears, that one does not put one's starters in harm's way unless there's a good reason to do so. Thus, with nothing on the line, the Argos used just seven starters against Montreal, emptying the bench, the practice roster and drafting a couple of large cab drivers who happened to be having a coffee outside. It said a lot about the team's coaching and internal leadership that the unknowns gave Montreal's starters a run for their money in front of a decent crowd that seems willing to come out if they only knew when the team played from week to week. QB Ricky Ray sat out this one, obviously, so he'll be ready to go in the East final. Former NFL first rounder Aaron Maybin made his debut on the defensive line and looked OK. We'll see if he dresses in the playoffs.
4. HAMILTON TIGER-CATS [Unchanged]
Overall record: 10-8
Streak: Won 2

Tiger-Cats head coach Kent Austin did the same as Milanovich, leaving half his starters home rather than take a chance of injuries at Winnipeg. QB Henry Burris played the first half and looked strong against a Bombers team already packing up and backup pivot Dan Lefevour played nicely in the second. You really couldn't take much from this game other than 10 wins was a marked improvement for Hamilton (most since 11 wins in 2001). Rookie Brandon Banks, who has excited folks over his four games as a returner, had two fumbles and that might be a little worrisome. Doing that against Montreal would be a bummer. What else ... well, Austin smiled at a side official, that was pretty cool. And 20 guys made a tackle - unheard of outside of exhibition. I think a couple of coaches snuck on the field late to have a go for old time's sake.
5. B.C. LIONS [Unchanged]
Overall record: 11-7
Streak: Won 2

Two more weeks finally arrived with the return of QB Travis Lulay, who made a short but important appearance, going 3-for-4 for 54 yards while testing out his repaired right shoulder after six weeks away. That toss to SB Nick Moore all the way to the one-yard line showed everything is physically fine. And a taste of action will help the redhead get his feet under him for this week's West semi at Regina. It was nice to see running backs Andrew Harris and Stefan Logan combine for 166 yards on the ground against Calgary, But the Stamps were playing with a short D-line due to injuries early in the game, so we'll see if B.C. can do it again against the ferocious Riders front. The Leos head to the playoffs with a lot of ifs and still requiring much tinkering.
6. MONTREAL ALOUETTES [Unchanged]
Overall record: 8-10
Streak: Won 1

I stood with Cris Carter after the game against Toronto, chatting about the pure joy his son, Duron, shows pretty much every play on the field. Dad, himself an NFL hall of famer, said it's always been like that and, if you are to survive a long career in this game, the way it has to be. Carter only caught three balls against the Argo backups, though one was a 71-yard beauty of a snag-and-run straight down the field. Just fun to watch - and dangerous as all heck for the Ticats. Rookie QB Troy Smith will have to be more selective this week against Hamilton. Try not to force so much. But boy, does he have a rifle on that shoulder. Alouettes GM/head coach Jim Popp played him the whole way to get as many reps as possible. Good running in this game, too. But as with B.C., it wasn't against the top guys.
7. EDMONTON ESKIMOS [Up from 8]
Overall record: 4-14
Streak: Won 1

In a season where most everything wound up in the green bin, a definite keeper was found in the fridge: "Back there. No, not that jar of well-aged mustard - that's QB Kerry Joseph. There - the bottle of Mike Reilly hot sauce." Traded in from B.C., the Central Washington grad threw for 4,207 yards on 56.6 per cent with 24 scores and 20 picks. That's playing behind a lousy offensive line and with no running game to speak of. Reilly actually led the Eskimos in rushing, piling up 709 yards for an 8.4 average. That must not happen again. This is a tough dude, regularly pounded into pulp yet always ready to go again, even when it wasn't such a good idea. Combine him with Matt Nichols (remember him?), who went out for the year in training camp, and you have a good 1-2 at QB for 2014. There, I've given Edmonton fans something nice to think about for the long winter. Note to Joseph: Thanks for everything in your career, man.
8. WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS [Down from 7]
Overall record: 3-15
Streak: Lost 3
Training Camp 2014 Update: Disappointing week for the Bombers as they get ready for the Canada Day opener. The club wasn't able to compete against a Hamilton side that only played about half of its regulars. Have to worry that QB Max Hall won't be ready for opening day if he keeps getting hammered by the rush on every play. Block, for gosh sakes. There's word another passer might come in. LB Henoc Muamba appears ready to start 2014 after a brilliant last season. Overall, the club is making too many mistakes right now and that has fans worrying because the horrid, awful, terrible 2013 seems so fresh in their minds. Head coach John Doe will be expecting more.

Follow Malcolm Kelly on Twitter @sportsnag

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