CFL Power Rankings – Week 1

We waited for over 600 days to finally see fans in the stands and football back in the great white north, but this past weekend saw the return of the CFL. Our offseason power rankings seemed to spark plenty of conversation, so we have decided to continue with it for the rest of the season!

9. Ottawa Redblacks

Last Ranking: 9th

Week 1: @ Edmonton (win 16-12)

Streak: 1 win

Next game: Week 3 @ Saskatchewan

Read More: Redblacks’ Defence Steals the Show In Edmonton

Even though the Redblacks took home a win in the first week of the season, there was never a conversation to rank them higher than ninth. To their credit, they showed plenty of promise on the defensive side of the ball in their week one game against the Edmonton Elks, but the offence was so anemic that it’s impossible to put them any higher. What caused it to be so weak? It’s a combination of things, but most pressing is the health of Matt Nichols. He clearly couldn’t throw the ball as he would have wanted in this game, and that paired with a rather weak offensive line had him seeing ghosts towards the end of this game. With a healthy Nichols at quarterback, there’s no way the offence is that horrendous, but you have to wonder when he will be healthy. If the offence can even be mediocre, they stand a chance to win a bunch of football games with a defence like the one they have.

8. B.C. Lions

Last Ranking: 7th

Week 1: @ Saskatchewan (loss 33-29)

Streak: 1 loss

Next game: Week 2 @ Calgary

This might be a really tough ranking on the Lions, but when I think about who they would beat right now, it’s not pretty. That isn’t because this is a bad football team whatsoever, in fact, if they were healthier, I think they are one of the better teams in the West Division. That being said, the health of Michael Reilly tanks them down the rankings. Nathan Rourke was forced into action in Saskatchewan in week one and struggles mightily at times in his first professional start, but he has the makings of becoming a star in the CFL one day. The offence moved the football in the second half with Reilly in the huddle and that seemed to help Rourke out. The defence couldn’t stop a toddler in the first half and played really well in the second half too. What are the B.C. Lions really made of? What half tells the true story? Is it something in between? Questions I hope will be answered in Calgary next week.

7. Edmonton Elks

Last Ranking: 3rd

Week 1: Vs. Ottawa (loss 16-12)

Streak: 1 loss

Next game: Week 2 Vs. Montreal

We need to talk because we tried to warn you Elks fans. Pairing Jaime Elizondo and Trevor Harris isn’t the best idea. Between the 20-yard lines, Harris is one of the better quarterbacks in the league, but inside the red zone, he can’t seem to find the endzone. This is becoming a concerning trend for the Elks and it only seems to get worse for Harris when Elizondo is in the fold. There is far too much talent on the offensive side to be held without a touchdown for the entire game. We don’t have a real read on the defence yet either. They held the Redblacks offence to nine points but the Elks offence cost them the game with an inability to score and three interceptions. This team should be 1-0 right now, but they shot themselves in the foot. There is way too much talent on this roster to go through this same song and dance of under-achieving. At quarterback, Harris has far too much talent to fall short again. He needs to find a way to play at his ceiling more often. If he can do that, he would be unstoppable.

6. Calgary Stampeders

Last Ranking: 5th

Week 1: Vs. Toronto (loss 23-20)

Streak: 1 loss

Next game: Week 2 Vs. B.C.

I really don’t know if this was just a blip on the nearly perfect record of the Calgary Stampeders since Bo Levi Mitchell took over or the beginning of the end of the dynasty, but it was concerning nonetheless. The defence played well enough to win the game, but the offence struggled, something that Micthell isn’t used to. There were concerns about the offence going into this season, particularly with the number of receivers they allowed to walk away since they last played a game, most of who went to Toronto. Unable to get into the endzone, Calgary left too many points on the board and cost themselves the game. I believe that this is just a blip and they will be back competing for the top spot in the West Division soon, but they have some things to work on for sure.

5. Montreal Alouettes

Last Ranking: 6th

Week 1: BYE WEEK

Streak: N/A

Next game: Week 2 @ Edmonton

Fans of the Montreal Alouettes, you’ve made it. Welcome to game week! You were forced to sit on the sidelines while everyone else celebrated the return of football with a game, but finally, you get to either go to the game if you are close enough or watch your favourite team play football for the first time in nearly 650 days. There is plenty of reason to be excited about this team. In 2019, they looked like they were building something special and had finally found their QB of the future in Vernon Adams Jr.. They will head to Edmonton to take on a likely pissed-off Elks group that didn’t look very good to open the season, but I am very interested to see what the Als have to offer this season. With how the Tiger-Cats looked in week one, this East Division could be up for grabs. A week two win for Montreal would go a long way.

4. Saskatchewan Roughriders

Last Ranking: 8th

Week 1: Vs. B.C. (win 33-29)

Streak: 1 win

Next game: Week 2 Vs. Hamilton

Read More: Lions Nearly Complete Comback, But Roughriders Claim First Victory of the Season

The way the Saskatchewan Roughriders started their week one game against the B.C. Lions, there was a good chance that they could have ended up being number two in these rankings, but the second half of the game cost them that spot and damn near cost them the football game. I don’t think they are either as good as the first-half suggested or as bad as their second-half suggested, they are somewhere in the middle. There are still some concerns with the offensive line and the defence as a whole, especially considering they couldn’t intercept one of Reilly’s many ducks in the second half, but the Riders found a way to win the football game. That is worth something. For their sake, I hope the issues are corrected and they can continue to bring excitement to an electric Mosaic Stadium this summer.

3. Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Last Ranking: 1st

Week 1: @ Winnipeg (loss 19-6)

Streak: 1 loss

Next game: Week 2 @ Saskatchewan

For the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, openeing weekend has left us with more questions than answers. Chief among them is if they made the right choice in starting Jeremiah Masoli over Dane Evans, the quarterback who led them to the Grey Cup in 2019. Right off the bat, I thought it was the right move for the season opener, but I find myself asking what they should do for week two against another tough opponent. A second-consecutive loss early in the season could put them behind the eight-ball in the East Division. Masoli started the game in fire completing nearly every pass and making a great throw for a Jaelin Acklin touchdown to open the scoring, but that would be the only six points they scored all game long. The offence couldn’t move the ball, and I was shocked not to see Evans in the game to try to find some kind of spark. Our followers are split 50-50 on who it should be.

2. Toronto Argonauts

Last Ranking: 4th

Week 1: Vs. Calgary (win 23-20)

Streak: 1 win

Next game: Week 2 @ Winnipeg

Read More: Argonauts Stun Stampeders In Home Opener

The Toronto Argonauts came out in week one with something to prove, especially those of them who were left to walk in free agency by the Stampeders over the past 600 or so days. Although many thought that Nick Arbuckle would be leading the Argos this season, McLeod Bethel-Thompson was on the field going toe-to-toe with one of the best CFL quarterbacks of all time in Mitchell, and Bethel-Thompson won the battle. There were some kinks to be worked out like everyone else, but the Argos roster is one of the best on paper. They signed a bunch of big names in the offseason and so far, it is working for them. They have a big test next week. If they can beat the Blue Bombers, we will know they are a legitimate threat to win the Grey Cup this season. Game on in the East Division.

1. Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Last Ranking: 2nd

Week 1: Vs. Hamilton (win 19-6)

Streak: 1 win

Next game: Week 2 Vs. Toronto

Read More: Blue Bombers Tame Tiger-Cats In CFL Season Opener

Missing two of their best players, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers made a statement in week one. That statement was that they are back, and they are not taking this Grey Cup defence lightly. The Bombers don’t have an easy schedule this season, but they look like they could be the best team in the league right now. Zach Collaros looks like he has turned back the clock to his time in Hamilton before injuries derailed his career, and without Darvin Adams and Andrew Harris, they had players step up. This is something championship teams do. Brady Oliviera, Kenny Lawler, and Nic Demski all stepped up and made things happen. With Adams and Harris back at some point, they will have arguably the best offence in the league. They are in for a good test again this week, however. The Argos look good.

Published by Frankie Benvenuti

Co-owner of 13th Man Sports and co-host of the 13th Man Sports live show. Working on making this my career

2 thoughts on “CFL Power Rankings – Week 1

  1. Well written story, Frankie!
    I am big MacBeth supporter. He has clawed his way through derision and competition and never quit; he brings enthusiasm and likes to throw the ball and is not afraid to run,yet he is looked upon as primarily a back up; I say for this year, let Arbuckle gradually transition into the no#1 pivot under the tutelage of MAC; it will be a great learning experience for him and help Argos have the best chance at winning!

    Like

    1. I appreciate the comment! I agree with you 100%. Do I think Bethel-Thompson is the best QB is the league? No, absolutely not. But he can get the job done. He’s so underrated, but now that the Argos are stacked, I think he can be an MOP candidate.

      Like

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