stewart-110805-584

Winnipeg defensive back Brandon Stewart, left, picks off a pass intended for Edmonton's Chris Bauman during the Blue Bombers' home win over the previously unbeaten Eskimos in Week 6. ((John Woods/Canadian Press))

Once a week, Malcolm Kelly breaks down the balance of power in the Canadian Football League:

1. WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS [Up from 2]
Overall record: 5-1
Streak: Three wins

Out in Swaggerville, the defence has racked up 25 sacks, 11 better than second place Hamilton. That kind of pressure causes QBs get rid of the ball faster, and they don’t have time to stretch out the defence. Thus, the Blue and Gold have given up the lowest passing yards per game. Let’s see how the club handles losing both of its starting defensive tackles. One other point. If you swagger too much, the guy who tends to take it on the chin when the other team gets angry is your own quarterback.
2. CALGARY STAMPEDERS [Up from 4]
Overall record: 4-2
Streak: Two wins

The Stamps are at full gallop, looking like the best team in the west, and they may well pull into a first place tie this upcoming weekend. Henry Burris threw for 341 yards, but what really impressed was he distributed those yards among nine (9) different receivers. The White Stallions didn’t run as much this week, but then they didn’t have to. You take what the defence gives you. Calgary’s defenders, meanwhile, simply strangled the Cats in the second half.
3. EDMONTON ESKIMOS [Down from 1]
Overall record: 5-1
Streak: One loss

For five weeks, the Eskimos were channeling 1979. This week they were channeling 2010. Boy that was worrisome. The offensive line, beat up all season but hanging right in there, was finally overwhelmed by the Bombers. There were five turnovers including three interceptions by Ricky Ray, who looked like he was back manning the Bastille Day barricades. Now news receiver Fred Stamps is out for 4-6 weeks. And they go to Montreal this week. Now we see what the rebuilding Esks have used for mortar, sand or cement.
4. MONTREAL ALOUETTES [Up from 5]
Overall record: 4-2
Streak: One win

Only next week will tell if the Als are really back on their game (because the Argos were so bad), but wow the offence looked amazing. Anthony Calvillo sailed by another of Damon Allen’s records, this one most completions, on the way to a 30-for-36, 349 yard passing night. Brandon Whittaker ran for 150 yards. Seven different receivers caught balls. If these numbers turn out to be legit, the Eskimos will have their hands, feet and helmets full in Week 6.
5. HAMILTON TIGER-CATS [Down from 3]
Overall record: 3-3
Streak: One loss

Right now these Cats are clearly the best of the rest, but the goal is to move into the higher echelons. That’s going to require consistency, something obviously missing in Calgary where the offence put in a great first half but wandered away down some dark alley in the second 30 minutes. The defence tried mightily to keep the Kitties in this one as long as they could and were worthy of praise. Young receivers will take time to gel, meaning older fart Dave Stala (who is playing like he’s 21 instead of 31) must carry a big load.
6. B.C. LIONS [Up from 8]
Overall record: 1-5
Streak: One win

Let’s not get carried away thinking things are straightened out in Wally World, but it was still nice to get that first win nailed down, especially in front of the suffering home fans. The Lions had but four first downs in the second half against Regina. Still, they looked pretty darn good in the opening 30 minutes, so if that can be repeated the Buono Boys might be able to put some wins together. Geroy Simon showed the old guy still has some skills, catching seven balls for 134 yards and a touchdown. How about those 12 tackles by Solomon Elimimian?
7. SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS [Down from 6]
Overall record: 1-5
Streak: Two losses

We take you now to the third quarter of the Riders’ game with B.C. where we find kicker Eddie Johnson setting up for a field goal. He looks over … no holder. Not to pick on Weston Dressler, who as the only reliable receiver on the team shouldn’t be holding for kicks in the first place, but it kind of symbolizes how things are going. The week before it was poor time management. Much concern about the offence, certainly, but the defence is very poor right now.
8. TORONTO ARGONAUTS [Down from 7]
Overall record: 1-5
Streak: Five losses

It’s been 43 years and counting following the Argonauts and rarely have these eyes seen a Double Blue defence so easily taken advantage of. Argo defences are supposed to be terrific while the offence stinks. That’s the tradition (other than about five years we can think of). But this group is last in 13 of 25 defensive categories, and in the bottom half of 24 of them. It rightly cost Chip Garber his job as defensive boss. Can Orlando Steinauer do better?