CFL·Analysis

CFL Power Rankings: Week 13

A season-ending injury to quarterback Zach Collaros puts a dent in Hamilton's Grey Cup hopes and sends them tumbling in our weekly breakdown of all nine Canadian Football League teams.

Season-ending injury to QB Collaros sends Ticats tumbling

Tiger-Cats quarterback Zach Collaros got a pat on the shoulder after suffering a knee injury during Hamilton's loss to Edmonton last week that will sideline him for the season. (Peter Power/Canadian Press)

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

1. Calgary Stampeders (Up from 2)

Record: 9-3

Streak: Won 1

Next: at Winnipeg

If someone wants to hand you a game, best to take the gift and be happy with it. Thanks to six turnovers by the Leos, Calgary got away with another shaky defensive outing that gave up 377 yards but zero touchdowns. Both B.C. scores came on special teams letdowns that allowed 375 yards in returns. Bo Mitchell was 21 of 34 for 268 and two scores, hitting nine different receivers. Having RB Jon Cornish back for the first time in almost two months also helped, and his late TD was key. Still finding his legs, however, totaling 41 yards on 12 carries. If they hadn't been playing such a giving team, this could have been a loss. Wasn't, though, and that's the idea. 

2. Edmonton Eskimos (Up from 3)

Record: 8-4

Streak: Won 2

Next: vs. B.C.

It's always so cute when a star QB goes down and defenders tell the press afterwards how unfortunate that was, and how nobody wants to see it, etc. OK. Despite that downer, the Eskimo defence pulled itself together and took advantage of both Hamilton backups once Zach Collaros left the game. Two pick-6 scores and a big fumble were the difference in The Hammer for Edmonton. Caution: Using mostly the backups, the Cats still threw for 306 yards — that has to be fixed quickly. Concern: Rusty Mike Reilly's offence was terrible, as he went 7-of-22 for 49 yards, a remarkable number. Yeah, they were all broken hearted about the Kitties losing their leader. 

3. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (Down from 1)

Record: 8-4

Streak: Lost 1

Next: Bye

Call it bad luck. Call it bad karma. Call it #%$&*% if you're a Hamilton fan. Call it an injury to QB Zach Collaros, who hurt his knee in the second quarter against Edmonton and is out for the season with a torn ACL. The Vegas odds on the Cats just blew up. Jeff Mathews came in and was 12-20 for 157 yards, but he also threw three picks, two of them for touchdowns the other way. Out came Jacory Harris for a try, and he fumbled a ball that turned into the winning points. This O will need a real running game now. The defence was its normal superb self. It may have to do even more than that from here. 

4. Ottawa Redblacks (Unchanged)

Record: 7-4

Streak: Won 3

Next: vs. Toronto

Cue the Holst*, because The Planets are lining up to give the RBs an extraordinary opportunity. With seven games to go, the second-year stunners are two points back of first-place Hamilton in the East, and the Cats lost their star QB. Ottawa finishes home-and-home against the Kitties. QB Henry Burris had 506 total yards vs. the Riders this week, though the O-Line allowed four sacks that cut off drives. The defence was uncharacteristically loose and the special teams need to be stronger if they're to win the division. Did we just say win the division?
*Never miss a chance to inject a little culture. 

5. Montreal Alouettes (Unchanged)

Record: 5-6

Streak: Won 1

Next: at Saskatchewan

Larks have their No. 1 QB back in Jon Crompton, and he showed the way you'd expect — sharp at times, dull at others against Winnipeg. One play that caught the attention was the way he picked out Sam Giguere while under fire and dropped a perfect pea into the receiver for a TD. Overall, 14-of-27, 181 with two picks and two scores. Having gone down in the first half of the first game, it's going to take him some time. If Stefan Logan keeps running kicks back like this (273 yards and a score) time may be had. Defence was strong again, especially forcing four turnovers on downs. Taking too many penalties overall. All four East teams are currently in a playoff spot. 

6. Toronto Argonauts (Unchanged — Bye)

Record: 6-5

Streak: Lost 3

Next: at Ottawa 

With one game in three weeks, Double Blue coaches have a lot of time to work out what's wrong with the defence. They've given up 322 points in 11 games, by far the worst among the competitive teams. Another question is what to do with a healthy Ricky Ray? QB Trevor Harris has been excellent in season-long relief though defences look to be catching up to him. That opens the door for a two-man system. Neither will be able to win if this club can't find a way to run the ball in the cold weather (last in rushing). And now, for gosh sakes, the Argos may have to play three home games in October on the road because of the Blue Jays' success taking away dates

7. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (Unchanged)

Record: 4-8

Streak: Lost 1

Next: vs. Calgary

Blue picked off a pass and had the ball in Montreal territory on Sunday when a fumble gave it right back. Rats. They drove into the red zone where QB Matt Nichols put a ball right in the hands of Darvin Adams for a score. And he dropped it. Rats. Then the special teams had a chance to pin the Alouettes deep in their zone only to allow Stefan Logan to run it back 78 yards for a touchdown. Rats. Problem with this ship is too many rats in the hold. Shame of it was the club held onto the ball for long periods of time (more than 36 minutes) but couldn't do anything when it really counted. Defensively, they can't get enough pressure on the QBs to give the DBs a chance. 

8. B.C. Lions (Unchanged)

Record: 4-7

Streak: Lost 2

Next: at Edmonton

Nice to go with good news first. Chris Rainey ran two scores back, each for 103 yards (one a punt, one a kickoff, only done three times in CFL history). That was cool. That was also about it. B.C. kept falling over its own feet, committing six turnovers on two fumbles and three picks. Also didn't help that backup QB John Beck went down with an injury and was replaced by Jon Jennings. As is normal, the rookie started all right (nobody prepared for him) but threw three interceptions. He had 252 mostly empty yards in the air. This season is filled with young QBs who did well at first before the Ds caught up with them. 

9. Saskatchewan Roughriders (Unchanged)

Record: 1-11

Streak: Lost 2

Next: vs. Montreal 

Back out to play came QB Kevin Glenn, and the Riders almost pulled off a win against visiting Ottawa. If you think on that sentence it will tell you a lot about this strange season. Glenn, out for almost two months with an injury, went 16 of 29 for 227 yards with a pick and two scores. Not bad, but when you're 1-10, how about letting the rookie Brett Smith play a little bit too so he can continue developing? Still can't run with any consistency. Nice the D had four sacks and two forced fumbles, but it was pretty poor overall, and that's where much of the off-season work has to be. You won't believe this, but there were only nine penalties overall in this game. 

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