CFL Power Rankings: Bombers get the last laugh on Roughriders

With their entertaining Banjo Bowl victory over Saskatchewan, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers took revenge — and the No. 2 spot in our weekly rankings — from their rivals.

Banjo Bowl winners take over No. 2 spot

Weston Dressler and Winnipeg's fans were able to celebrate a win over Saskatchewan after falling to the Riders a week earlier on the road. (Trevor Hagan/Canadian Press)

Here's how I rank the Canadian Football League teams heading into Week 13:

1. Calgary Stampeders (unchanged)

  • Record: 9-1-1
  • Streak: Won 7
  • Next: vs. B.C.

The last two minutes of this game in Edmonton were simply sublime in front of 34,312 fans screaming their fool heads off. Giving up the go-ahead score then getting the lead back again was clutch. So important for the White Stallions to go up five points on the Eskimos as the latter seem to have it back together. The Calgary offensive stats took a bit of a beating as the Edmonton defence played so well, but that's immaterial. QB Bo Mitchell completed just 21-of-36 for 272, but found the points with the big ball, tossing three for 30 yards or more, and had some luck when a 44-yard wounded duck landed in the arms of Anthony Parker on the five after the receiver changed direction on a dime. Stamps gutted this one out, helped in huge part by three sacks and nine pressures on Edmonton QBs. 

The Calgary Stampeders took down the Edmonton Eskimos 25-22 after late game heroics from both teams. 2:10

2. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (up from 3)

  • Record: 8-3
  • Streak: Won 1
  • Next: Bye

Bomber and Rider fans, who have a sense of humour and know how to recognize a joke when they see one (such as the Banjo Bowl name), put on a superb performance over two weeks, with each team taking a game. What an advertisement for the CFL this was — yes, including the moose sighting on campus before hand. Big Blue took advantage of the available chances this week, mirroring what happened in Regina six days before. Maurice Leggett had a superb day, running a punt back for a touchdown, and later scampering with a pick for another major. QB Matt Nichols, protected by an offensive line that gave up just one sack and three pressures, led a 410-yard attack. This is a nice-looking team. Hope it doesn't exhaust itself trying to finish first instead of being ready for the playoffs.

Matt Nichols threw for 3 touchdowns and Mo Leggett returned a punt and an interception for touchdowns as Winnipeg beat Saskatchewan 48-28 2:32

3. Saskatchewan Roughriders (down from 2)

  • Record: 5-5
  • Streak: Lost 1
  • Next: at Hamilton 

Kevin Glenn and his career year left the game with a banged-up throwing hand in the third quarter this week. Coach Chris Jones said on Monday it's not broken and he's day to day. Since his backups aren't in the same class, he plays if he can grip the ball, we're sure. Glenn was dancing around all game at Winnipeg, often creating something out of nothing on the way to 15-for-25, 327 yards, two TDs, two picks on two sacks. This should have created more points, but the field position was often poor. Yardage on the wrong side of the field isn't positive movement. Duron Carter, also having a career year, was held to just three yards on three punt returns. Edmonton had 137 in that category. The Riders now need another win streak. Four of their next five are in the East. 

4. Edmonton Eskimos (unchanged)

  • Record: 7-4
  • Streak: Lost 4
  • Next: at Toronto

Rudyard Kipling would have hated this game. If head coach Jason Maas is going to lose his head on the sidelines when all others are starting to as well, it's a problem. There was also a helmet throwing, and a stupid throat-slashing gesture by his players. Maas has an argument on the 60-minute rule (can't replace an injured player within an hour of game time) and the "active but not dressed" thing that sees teams paying two players who don't play. But hold your cool. Edmonton played really well, but hurt itself with a lack of discipline (10 flags for 107 yards) against Calgary in an intense game fought at a high level. Great job holding the Stamps to 68 yards rushing. Led by the defence, the Eskimos are coming out of their funk, it says here, and are ready to go again. WR Derel Walker returning from the NFL is huge.

5. B.C. Lions (unchanged)

  • Record: 6-5
  • Streak: Won 1
  • Next: at Calgary

Bad week for quarterbacks but a good one for the Lions on the scoreboard. Travis Lulay took over as starting pivot and lasted just two plays against Montreal before a hit wrecked his knee and his season. This after battling back in his career from two bad injuries. In came Jonathon Jennings, benched following three poor outings, and he lit things up. One wonders if a week out of the starter spotlight at practice allowed the young thrower to put his head back together, because he was excellent. Everyone knew RB Jeremiah Johnson would be a key, including the Als, and he came through with 91 yards on the ground on 19 ball-control carries. The defence was strong, contributing a blocked field goal return touchdown. Only 18,029 came out, and that's a bad number.

B.C. beats Montreal 41-18, Jonathon Jennings throws for 295 yards and 2 touchdowns. 1:55

6. Ottawa Redblacks (unchanged)

  • Record: 4-7-1
  • Streak: Lost 1
  • Next: at Montreal

Oh, boy. Starter Trevor Harris went down in the third quarter of this week's loss to Hamilton, and the offence will be Drew Tate's for either a while or until training camp. Stay tuned. This column has always liked Tate (except that face shield), a career backup in Calgary who came East hoping for some reps. He's thrown for over 4,500 yards lifetime, and is 32 years old, so he isn't going in cold. Both pivots were chased around out there, though Tate can run well so he has the chance to escape. There should have been enough offence to win this one, but four sacks allowed and two missed field goals by Brett Maher (25 and 44 yards) were killers. They also couldn't get any rush on Hamilton's QB, which would have been a great help. And the defence was unable to stop the rush. 

7. Toronto Argonauts (unchanged — bye)

  • Record: 4-7
  • Streak: Lost 2
  • Next: vs. Edmonton

This should be the best team in the East, if only it can get out of its own way. Defensively it sits first in net offence allowed overall, third in the most important category of points allowed, about even with Ottawa in front of them. They may get Cleyon Laing and Victor Butler back on the DL this week, too. What's killing them is preventable mistakes on offence, including 27 sacks allowed (second worst) and 83 quarterback pressures (third worst). Ricky Ray is 37, not 27, and this can't keep going. Too many penalties (third worst) that kill drives. Argos are third in time of possession but simply cannot finish. First place is still in view, though Marc Trestman's group will have to do it the hard way. Seven games left, and five are against the West, where the Double Blue are currently winless. 

8. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (up from 9)

  • Record: 2-8
  • Streak: Won 2
  • Next: vs. Saskatchewan

We'll find out over the next two months if the Kitties were a bad team playing badly, or a good team playing badly. So far, so good. The offence seems to have found some zip under Jeremiah Masoli, though we suspect Zach Collaros might have done the same thing with the calm June Jones on the sidelines rather than Kent Austin. Our theory last week was nothing else matters but winning, and the Cats have two of those in five days. They played much better in this one than the first, especially on the discipline side. How does zero giveaways, just three penalties and one sack allowed sound? Masoli was 17-for-31, 231 yards — nothing to Skype home about, but he also scampered for 73 more, while RB C.J. Gable was reintroduced to the offence and responded with 74 yards rushing, 28 catching for 102.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats clawed their way to a 26-22 victory over the Ottawa Redblacks. 2:06

9. Montreal Alouettes (down from 8)

Record: 3-8
Streak: Lost 4
Next: vs. Ottawa

The defence had a good first half, capped with a nice goal-line stand that took the ball away from B.C. five minutes to the orange slices and whatever that pink stuff is. Then disaster. A Leos touchdown with :34 to go was bad. A blocked field goal try with :00 on the clock went the other way for a major score and the shocked Larks were down 26-3 and effectively out. QB Darian Durant, as did Kevin Glenn before him, is discovering Montreal is a place where good pivots go to cry. He was 20-for-28, 258 yards, a touchdown and four balls for more than 30 yards — decent numbers, but it just doesn't seem to be working for him out on the St. Lawrence. The defence collapsed in the second half and allowed 416 yards overall, including 124 on the ground. Don't look now, but Hamilton is gaining on you. Hamilton. 


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