It feels like just yesterday the CFL season was kicking off in an emotion-filled matchup that pitted the Winnipeg Blue Bombers against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in a Grey Cup rematch. All anyone really cared about was the CFL finally being back. There were thoughts that we would never get to see our beloved game again at times, and it was a relief to see the players back on the field. Here we are now 16 weeks later preparing for the playoffs and the Grey Cup. It’s been a wild ride and one that I am so happy to have had. Here’s how things shakedown on our power rankings after the final week of the season.
9. Edmonton Elks (3-11)
Last Ranking: 9th
Week 16: @ Toronto (win 13-7) & @ BC (loss 43-10)
Streak: 1 loss
The end of the season really was filled with mixed emotions after beating the Toronto Argonauts’ backups before being blown out by the BC Lions in their third game in a short period of time. They got themselves a win, however, and got themselves to 3-11. Going into the offseason, however, they have a massive question mark at quarterback. Taylor Cornelius hasn’t looked like a starting quarterback in the CFL in his time this season and Nick Arbuckle was shaky with the Argos this season. This franchise isn’t in a great spot right now, but we have seen quick turnarounds before. That’s what Elks will be hoping for. Welcome to the cold winter, you are now in the offseason.
8. Ottawa Redblacks (3-11)
Last Ranking: 8th
Week 16: @ Montreal (win 19-18)
Streak: 1 win
The Ottawa Redblacks walked into Montreal and played spoiler, winning a game that not many people thought they would win. The curtain has been drawn on another terrible season for the Redblacks and they are in serious need of a facelift in the offseason. There are some very promising aspects of this team including Caleb Evans, Ryan Davis, the entire special teams unit, and a relatively strong defence, but they need to address the offensive line and of course the general manager. Welcome to the offseason, Ottawa. Hopefully, this will be a bountiful one to make up for the past two seasons in the cellar.
7. BC Lions (5-9)
Last Ranking: 7th
Week 16: Vs. Edmonton (win 43-10)
Streak: 1 win
The season has been a disaster at times for the Lions, but the pieces are there for them to turn it around in the offseason. They have some elite-level players, but the situation with Michael Reilly is really interesting. The odds that the Lions will want to re-negotiate that contract is likely according to Farhan Lalji. If they can get that done, great, they have one of the league’s top quarterbacks back in 2022, but if not, they have plenty to look forward with in Nathan Rourke. Again though, we have months before we will know what’s going on, so for the time being, welcome to the offseason, the worst time of the year.
6. Montreal Alouettes (7-7)
Last Ranking: 5th
Week 16: Vs. Ottawa (loss 19-18)
Streak: 1 loss
I’m going to stop just short of calling the Alouettes week 16 game a complete embarrassment, but what a waste of an opportunity. They had a chance to put the heat on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and possibly get a home playoff date, but they instead got shut out in the second half of the game and lost to the lowly Redblacks. Maybe they took them lightly or got away from their plan, but whatever the case, you can’t fumble the ball in field goal range when you have a chance to make it a two-possession game. You can’t then allow the league’s worst offence to engineer a long drive and score a touchdown. You cant allow the two-point conversion. I don’t know what to expect from the Als in Hamilton next week. Inconsistency has been their only consistency this season.
5. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (8-6)
Last Ranking: 6th
Week 16: Vs. Saskatchewan (win 24-3)
Streak: 1 win
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats closed their season with a bang against the Saskatchewan Roughriders, but it comes a little too late for them to have a chance at hosting the East Final. That honour is going to the Argonauts after the Cats were thoroughly crushed by them in week 15. When the season kicked off, there were high hopes for this team. Nothing short of winning a Grey Cup would be considered a success, and that is still the case. They will host Montreal next week and it certainly won’t be as easy as it was for them against the Riders’ backups.
4. Calgary Stampeders (8-6)
Last Ranking: 4th
Week 16: Vs. Winnipeg (win 13-12)
Streak: 3 wins
It may have been a nothing game, but the Calgary Stampeders gave us one of the more entertaining games of the week. Securing a win against the Blue Bombers would normally be impressive, and while they did have a fair amount of starters playing, it should act as nothing more than a small boost to their confidence. There shouldn’t be too much of a worry about Bo Levi Mitchell even with his relatively poor performance. The Stamps are hitting their stride, and I fully expect them to give the Roughriders all they can handle (or even more) next week in the West Semi-Final.
3. Toronto Argonauts (9-5)
Last Ranking: 3rd
Week 16: Vs. Edmonton (loss 13-7)
Streak: 1 loss
The Argos played mostly backups in their week 16 loss against the Elks so you really can’t think about that game too much. They have proven all season long that they are the team to beat in the East, but they aren’t without their flaws. As it stands right now, the Argos have a really good chance of making it to the Grey Cup, but it’s not automatic. They have had a tendency to keep games close when they have chances to run away with it, so they will need their best effort when they host either Montreal or Hamilton in the East Final.
2. Saskatchewan Roughriders (9-5)
Last Ranking: 2nd
Week 16: @ Hamilton (loss 24-3)
Streak: 1 loss
The Riders got crushed this week, but really, who cares. They didn’t play their starters for the most part and they have all the talent to get to the Grey Cup in December. The key for this team is getting back to the form they were in for the first three weeks of the season. Since then, they should be described as okay. They have won games when they needed to, but nothing about them has been very impressive. We all know what they can be capable of, but they need some of that Cody Fajardo magic they had in 2019. Calgary won’t be an easy game and they will need all hands on deck, but there is no reason to believe that they can’t win that game.
1. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (11-3)
Last Ranking: 1st
Week 16: @ Calgary (loss 13-12)
Streak: 2 losses
Two consecutive losses. Oh well, I guess that sucks. This is still clearly the best football team in the league, and it’s not particularly close. Here’s the thing, however, that means nothing now. The regular-season success is meaningless from here on out. Zach Collaros’ likely MOP means nothing now. As they say, it’s any given Sunday. They need to keep their nose to the grindstone now because whoever comes into Winnipeg for the West Final in two weeks’ time is going to be ready to go. There’s a target on their backs now, and remember, whoever they play, they are 1-0 and deserve to be there. If the Bombers play their game, they should be the West’s representative in the Grey Cup, but that is not guaranteed.