CFL Power Rankings: Week 2 | Football | CBC Sports

CFLCFL Power Rankings: Week 2

Posted: Monday, July 7, 2014 | 01:05 PM

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Fred Stamps, left, and the Eskimos ran past the Ticats to improve to 2-0 on the season. (Jason Franson/Canadian Press) Fred Stamps, left, and the Eskimos ran past the Ticats to improve to 2-0 on the season. (Jason Franson/Canadian Press)

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The Edmonton Eskimos take over top spot in Malcolm Kelly's weekly breakdown of the balance of power in the Canadian Football League.

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

1. EDMONTON ESKIMOS[Up from 3]
Overall record: 2-0
Streak: Won 2
Next: Home to OTT

Let's celebrate a great start in Edmonton. OK, that was fun. While the offence, except for a couple of good moments, wavered from so-so to bumbling most of the night, the defence came up huge, forcing five turnovers (three picks and two fumbles) and putting Cats QB Zach Collaros out of the game courtesy the 5:15 express, Odell Willis your driver. Willis, who has been trying to regain his 2011 form at Winnipeg, contributed three sacks, three tackles and a forced fumble as the Green and Gold chased the opposing pivots around all night. This D is going to be hard to play against. QB Mike Reilly got enough out of the attack to find some points here and there. Injuries are piling up already, especially in the secondary. And 11 penalties won't do. But you know, complaints aside, wins over B.C. and the defending East champs have to be celebrated.
2. CALGARY STAMPEDERS [Unchanged]
Overall record: 1-0
Streak: Won 1
Next: At TOR

There was no chance, even before Toronto hammered the Riders, that Stamps' coach John Hufnagel and his staff thought they were going to get an easy mark in the Argos this coming week. They're too experienced to fall for that one. Interested to see if they run with Jon Cornish (as they did not do a lot in Week 1) or go deep with QB Bo Levi Mitchell, or a combination of both. Bet on both. The White Stallions like to rush hard, but Argos' Ricky Ray had the short stuff going nicely against Regina, so Calgary will have to get a lot out of their strong linebackers. Note: With the new bye week system, no team will move up or down in a week they did not play.
3. WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS[Up from 4]
Overall record: 2-0
Streak: Won 2
Next: At MTL

We won't know until around Labour Day if this team is for real, but how great for the league's best fans is this? Drew Willy had his second good day at quarterback, overcoming a slow start to throw for 307 yards on 21 completions against the expansion Le Rouge et Noir. On the down side, the offensive line was never on the same page in this one and that had better change because you can't have Willy running for his life all day. What are they going to do against a good defensive line, such as Montreal's this week? Demond Washington put the Bombers back into a winning position with a 96 yard run and those kind of game breaking efforts have been few and far between with this club in recent years. DB Matt Bucknor, picked up from Hamilton, had seven big tackles and looked strong.
4. SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS[Down from 1]
Overall record: 1-1
Streak: Lost 1 1
Next: Home to BC

Coach Corey Chamblin is one cool character. After his club was trounced by the Argos on Saturday, he calmly explained how this was football and these things happen and it's part of learning to win and all that other stuff you say when you don't say anything. No wonder these guys never seem to panic. They were awful on this day, to be sure, and everyone knew it. The defence allowed Toronto's Ricky Ray to nickel, dime and quarter them for 568 yards, gave up five sacks, left QB Darian Durant to his own devices and basically stunk the joint out. If it weren't for two nice drives in the third quarter the stats would have been embarrassing. Get it out of your system and move along. Concern: A couple of the stud offensive linemen looked banged up by game's end, and that's something to watch.
5. TORONTO ARGONAUTS [Up from 6]
Overall record: 1-1
Streak: Won 1
Next: Home to CGY

Knew there was no way this team could be that bad two weeks in a row, but no-one expected this kind of bounce back. The Double Blue beat up the Grey Cup champ Riders from whistle to whistle, save a five minute let down in the third quarter. Best number of the weekend was 23 - as in the number of points the Argos scored in the fourth quarter just when it looked like the Riders were going to make a game of it. Toronto dropped from a ridiculous 22 flags in Week 1 to just eight this time, of which only one was a major. Ricky Ray looked like himself, the offensive line blocked, the runners ran, the catchers caught and all was right with the world. On the other side, a defence that had humiliated itself against Winnipeg looked pretty darn good. Concern: LB Shea Emry may have a concussion. Can't afford to lose him. Argos signed well-travelled vet CB Dwight Anderson on Monday.
6. MONTREAL ALOUETTES [Up from 8]
Overall record: 1-1
Streak: Won 1
Next: Home to WPG

It was undeclared 1977 night in La Belle Province. Missing WR Duron Carter (one game injury) and with Chad Johnson on the other side still trying to work out what a waggle is, and how one runs it, the Alouettes used inside routes and ground control all night against the Lions. You could hear the Fleetwood Mac in the air. QB Troy Smith ran himself for 55 yards and picked up 76 from a rejuvenated RB Brandon Whitaker as they put down 203 yards in the fake dirt. Johnson didn't catch a pass but was happily hustling around blocking and slapping butts and having a good time. He seems to be enjoying himself, and that could be big as the weeks go by. Meanwhile, playing the part of the legendary Junior Ah You, DE John Bowman had four sacks and five tackles and was no doubt the featured performer in the B.C. film meetings on Monday. Nice bounce back from Week 1.
7. OTTAWA REDBLACKS [Up from 9]
Overall record: 0-1
Streak: Lost 1
Next: At EDM

Le Rouge et Noir strapped on their white helmets (ugh ... get a stripe or something), and put in a strong effort against Winnipeg. That 21-7 lead in the first half was not a surprise as you knew they were going to come out high as a kite and come back to earth eventually. Scored just seven in the second half as the Bombers started to work out what the Redblacks were doing. Congrats to RB Chevon Walker for the franchise's first TD, but also because he worked hard to get a starting job back. Something that struck me with this new offence right away is Burris was able to find seven different receivers, an indication of a more mature attack. Now it gets tougher because everyone has film on this club now. Five sacks from the defence is impressive.
8. B.C. LIONS[Down from 5]
Overall record: 0-2
Streak: Lost 2
Next: At SSK

Know it's early, but you've got to be concerned with the Lions. Those first two possessions against Montreal were, to steal a phrase from the Premier League, shambolic. Especially when QB Kevin Glenn threw a ball just low enough for Scott Paxson to pick out of the air and then lateral to Chip Cox for the touchdown. For the record, Mr. Paxson weighs just under 300 pounds and doesn't leap that high, so the ball was plenty low. The whole offence was just a mess most of the night, Glenn wasn't on his game for the second week in a row. Once again, however, he was wearing defenders as his O-Line struggled. It was 20-0 before the Lions knew anything about it. Speaking of defence, or lack thereof, B.C. could not stop the run, giving up 203 on the ground. And next up, a surly bunch of embarrassed Riders.
9. HAMILTON TIGER-CATS [Down from 7]
Overall record: 0-2
Streak: Lost 2
Next: Bye

If there's a storyline in the first two weeks of the CFL it's that so many teams are struggling with their offensive lines. That's still no excuse for this unit, one that has allowed 14 sacks in two games. Cats gave up a league worst 65 sacks in 2013 and at this rate they'll blow through that mark by Week 8. It's cost them QB Zach Collaros, whom the Internet is now calling Sack Collaros. Don't know yet how long he's out, if at all, but it may be Jeremiah Masoli for a few weeks here, and he has to hold onto the ball. Or they might go with Dan LeFevour. Coach Kent Austin rebuilt that O-Line after Week 1 and he may have to do it again. Thought the defence played pretty well. Team has to work on discipline as a dozen penalties are too many. Two weeks of practice will help.

Follow Malcolm Kelly on Twitter @sportsnag

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