CFL Power Rankings: Week 4 | Football | CBC Sports

CFLCFL Power Rankings: Week 4

Posted: Monday, July 21, 2014 | 10:11 AM

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The Edmonton Eskimos aren't showing any signs of slowing down, and remain at the top of this week's CFL Power Rankings. The Edmonton Eskimos aren't showing any signs of slowing down, and remain at the top of this week's CFL Power Rankings.

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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. EDMONTON ESKIMOS[Unchanged]
Overall record: 4-0
Streak: Won 4
Next: Home to CGY

The league waits for "reality" to set in with the Eskimos, but if their defence continues to play this well the "reality" may be the Green and Gold could make some noise this season. Winnipeg had been scoring in bunches coming into this showdown of the undefeated, only to have its offence run into a brick wall. Eskies came up with five sacks and were on top of QB Drew Willy all night. Just 241 total yards allowed, and 11 first downs. Odell Willis has been playing his best football in years, and that was a nice (and lucky) pick 6 early. However, Willis has to keep his emotions under control - he took two majors (objectionable conduct and roughing the passer). Also, there were 14 Edmonton penalties overall, far too many. The offence came up with 192 yards on the ground, but QB Mike Reilly cannot be the leading rusher against great defences, such as the one coming up.
2. CALGARY STAMPEDERS [Unchanged]
Overall record: 3-0
Streak: Won 3
Next: At EDM

There were so few highlights in the Stamps' win over Hamilton, the CFL was only able to post a 4:21 package on its web site (two minutes shorter than normal). All the missing injured stars on the White Stallion offence really showed in this one as Calgary put together a so-so 300 total yards and couldn't finish. The lone major, off the only nice drive of the night (11 plays) came courtesy of receiver Brad Sinopoli, who created a cool 26-yard scamper off a messed-up flea flicker. Defensively, the Stamps were superb, limiting the Cats to dinky little gains on short little passes for very little hope. Sisyphus had better luck. And a good thing too, because if the D had given Hamilton even a little, the Stamps would have lost this one. Next week, Calgary heads north for an early season showdown between the Power Rankings' No. 1 and 2.
3. B.C. LIONS[Up from 4]
Overall record: 2-2
Streak: Won 2
Next: Home to WPG

A clinical evisceration of the Alouettes leaves us to conclude the Lions we expected to see this season are emerging on the Left Coast. As prepared a team as we've seen this year, the Leos roared out to a 20-3 halftime lead by moving the ball at will and downfield. Defensively, the numbers B.C. allowed Montreal were shocking: 62 yards passing, 115 in net offence. On the other side, Kevin Glenn had the throttle down all day, supported by his two excellent runners Andrew Harris (72 yards) and Stefan Logan (74). He also threw for 373 and two TDs before taking a seat. Emmanuel Arceneaux hauled in three TDs. Something to watch in Winnipeg is those 14 penalties, however. Can't do that. And they did allow four sacks, also too many.
4. WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS[Down from 3]
Overall record: 3-1
Streak: Lost 1
Next: At B.C.

We've been saying it's going to take to Labour Day before the true Bombers reveal themselves, so let's not get too worried (yet) about the poor outing against Edmonton. There was nothing from the offence as Drew Willy completed 14 for 180. Take out a 50-yard gain and it was 13 for 130. It didn't help that his receivers were bobbling, fumbling and dropping balls all over the field. Nothing on the ground, either, and the offensive line gave up five sacks. Bombers' opening first down came just over two minutes from half. On defence, the tackling was atrocious, especially when Edmonton QB Mike Reilly took off to run. Despite all, they were still in the game early in the fourth. Mike O'Shea, the rookie head coach, now has the challenge of getting these guys ready for the Left Coast this week. Let's see what he's got.
5. SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS[Unchanged - BYE]
Overall record: 1-2
Streak: Lost 2
Next: Home to TOR

There is danger here in coming off the bye week to face Toronto, a team that seems to match up well against the Riders. Last time out, Ricky Ray threw a game full of dinky passes that turned into a lot of yards after catch (YAC) and kept the Green and White defence on its heels all night. Then in Week 3, Riders did not look good against B.C. in another loss, especially on special teams. Plus the offence didn't score in the second half. So there have been changes. RB Hugh Charles is out after one game. Will Ford might be signed. So many losses on offence in the off-season have left Regina rebuilding its attack. This could take a little longer.
6. OTTAWA REDBLACKS [Up from 8]
Overall record: 1-2
Streak: Won 1
Next: At HAM

How about that? A first win in the first home game and it's one for the ages. Not to mention one for kicker Brett Maher, the Nebraska product who wandered through two NFL camps and Winnipeg before beating out seven other guys for the job in Ottawa. Henry Burris' offence continues to sputter, and that's no surprise, so coming away with points when you're in range will be key. Maher hit on six of six against Toronto, including the winner in the final minute. Plus there was a great fake punt first down. Burris completed only 17 for 216 (including some drops by the receivers in there) but he kept moving Le Rouge et Noir over the 55 yard-line and into scoring territory. Giving up five sacks was a problem, and Burris was hurried too much by a questionable offensive line. There were some nice plays from the secondary helped by the pressure Ray was under at times from the front seven. They're doing OK, these Redblacks. That fan base looks like it's for real, and that will help in the tough times.
7. TORONTO ARGONAUTS [Down from 6]
Overall record: 1-3
Streak: Lost 2
Next: At SSK

An awful Friday night of football was made worse by a blown late lead to an Ottawa offence still trying to learn each other's names. Missing three key receivers, Ricky Ray used nine different pass catchers and they still couldn't finish for him. Toronto's running backs (five of them) came up with 50 yards. Not good enough. Must get more to help Ray, who was still able to conjure up 351 yards in net offence. The defence played OK against the expansionists until it was on the line in the final two minutes and they went soft. More penalties - 59 now in 240 minutes and that's on course to equal the overall mark by season's end (262, by Hamilton). The gain-loss game of having Dwight Anderson in your secondary is currently leaning towards loss with those dumb penalties. Now it's Regina, a team they whomped last time.
8. HAMILTON TIGER-CATS [Up from 9]
Overall record: 0-3
Streak: Lost 3
Next: Home to OTT

You put in an effort like that and come out with nothing? Hamilton's defence was excellent out in Calgary as we surmised they might be in last week's column. Possession time was almost even, they held the Stamps to 300 yards and just one decent drive. And lost. Having dumped QB Henry Burris in the off-season (again ... why?) and lost his replacement Zach Collaros to injury, coach Kent Austin ran out Jeremiah Masoli (first half) and Dan LeFevour (second half). Between them they created 223 yards of offence. Masoli missed open receivers and tossed a pick. LeFevour was all right but couldn't score anything. With a tie in their sights, Luke Tasker, normally sure-handed, bobbled the snap on a field goal and away went the game. If the QBs remain dazed and confused until Collaros gets back, the song will remain the same. Question: Is RB C.J. Gable injured? Why isn't he gaining yards?
9. MONTREAL ALOUETTES [Down from 7]
Overall record: 1-3
Streak: Lost 2
Next: BYE

Where to start? Two weeks ago Troy Smith threw for 309 yards and three touchdowns against Winnipeg and it looked like the former Heisman Trophy winner was getting it. This week he completes just five for 45, and when you consider one of those was for 29 yards it left four for 16. As awful an outing as can be imagined. Tanner Marsh, who was brought in far too late, was only 3 for 9. You have an offensive co-ordinator (officially quarterbacks coach) with no experience at the job (Ryan Dinwiddie) and a head coach who dumped his first OC at the beginning of camp. Yes, there are players missing (receiver Duron Carter has been a huge loss, and slot S.J. Green may be out now), but you couldn't justify these kinds of numbers if there were five rookie catchers in the game. Having Brandon Whitaker (65 yards on 11 carries) healthy is some solace. Time for GM Jim Popp to step in. But how? Take over the team again? Ownership doesn't want that. They have two weeks to work these questions out.

Follow Malcolm Kelly on Twitter @sportsnag

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