CFL Power Rankings – Preseason 2022

The preseason is only just underway in the Canadian Football League, but it’s never too early to start ranking teams, at least we don’t think so. We don’t yet know a whole lot about how every single team is going to line up come week one, and the first week of the preseason isn’t exactly an indication of how things will unfold, but hey, CFL football is back, so what better time is there to put out the second power rankings of the season?

Here’s how the order is decided. Before the games this week, all of our CFL writers were asked to rank the teams with one being the best, and nine being the worst. Points are given based on the ranking, so for example, first place is worth one point, and ninth place is worth nine points. After all of the votes have been cast, the points are added together, and the teams are sorted top to bottom, with the least amount of points being the league’s best team in our power rankings. These power rankings do not take into consideration this week’s preseason games, and it will be the only ranking of the preseason. They will return after each week of the regular season.

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9. Edmonton Elks

Offseason Ranking: 9th

Highest Ranking: 8th

Lowest Ranking: 9th

Total Points: 60

Next Game: Week 1 @ BC

The Edmonton Elks have spent a lot of time at the bottom of our power rankings, and that hasn’t changed ahead of the new season. While the Elks have done some work to improve their roster, including bringing in Kenny Lawler on a lucrative contract, they still have a couple of massive question marks. Those questions start with their quarterback room. For the time being, it seems Nick Arbuckle could be their starter, and with how he performed in the Elks’ first preseason game in Winnipeg, it is possible that he could still turn out to be the player the Ottawa Redblacks though he could be when they sent the first overall pick in the 2020 CFL Draft to Calgary in exchange for him. Expectations aren’t incredibly high for the Elks right now, but even still, they should be better than their 3-12 season in 2021.

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8. BC Lions

Offseason Ranking: 8th

Highest Ranking: 5th

Lowest Ranking: 9th

Total Points: 56

Next Game: Week 1 Vs. Edmonton

The BC Lions come into the 2022 season as one of the most interesting teams in the league. With Michael Reilly calling it a career after 11 great seasons in the CFL, the table has been set for Canadian quarterback, Nathan Rourke. Rourke showed flashes in 2021, and his coaching staff has shown confidence in him by announcing him as the starter well before training camp and Free Agency, but there are concerns about the offence as a whole right now. Although they have an incredibly threatening receiving corps that includes Bryan Burnham and Lucky Whitehead, the Lions lack a quality offensive line on paper. With the departures of Ryker Matthews and Hunter Steward, they will have to find capable starters internally. If they can do that, they have a roster that looks capable of competing, especially after signing Micah Awe late in training camp.

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7. Montreal Alouettes

Offseason Ranking: 7th

Highest Ranking: 5th

Lowest Ranking: 8th

Total Points: 44

Next Game: Week 1 @ Calgary

The Alouettes are quite difficult to get an understanding of before the season. They suffered a handful of quality losses in the offseason, with players like Patrick Levels, Money Hunter, Ty Cranston, B.J. Cunningham, and Tony Washington heading elsewhere. The Alouettes also didn’t do too much in the way of adding to their roster, and have seemingly opted for the option of finding in-house replacements for their talented departures. Ultimately, the quickest way for the Alouettes to return to contender status is to get another season like 2019 from their starting quarterback, Vernon Adams Jr. Adams didn’t have the season he would have been hoping for in 2021, but if he can rebound and play up to his potential in 2022, the Alouettes should be fine, especially with some of the elite talent that has been put around him. Defensively, however, we will have to wait and see how things do after some key departures.

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6. Calgary Stampeders

Offseason Ranking: 4th

Highest Ranking: 2nd

Lowest Ranking: 7th

Total Points: 36

Next Game: Week 1 Vs. Montreal

The Calgary Stampeders are the team who split our writers the most. They saw their highest ranking all the way up in second, but they were also ranked all the way down in seventh a pair of times. All of it comes out to them being sixth overall, and the number three team in the West Division. When it comes to the doubt surrounding the Stamps, it stems from their offensive line primarily, but you could also consider their receivers a little green, as well. It’s hard to count out a team quarterbacked by Bo Levi Mitchell, even after a pretty disappointing preseason game, but eventually, the Stampeders’ run will come to an end. This is likely still a playoff team at the very least, but it could easily become a difficult season for the Stamps.

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5. Ottawa Redblacks

Offseason Ranking: 5th

Highest Ranking: 3rd

Lowest Ranking: 7th

Total Points: 34

Next Game: Week 1 @ Winnipeg

By now, everyone knows about the massive overhaul the Ottawa Redblacks made during the offseason. Their key additions of players including Jeremiah Masoli, Jaelon Acklin, William Powell, Darvin Adams, Patrick Levels, and many others have completely transformed the team from the bottom of the barrel, to serious contenders in a matter of months. Fans have been asking for a glimmer of hope since their dismal season in 2019, and finally, they have that. Now, it’s just a matter of how quickly the team can come together and reach its peak. It certainly won’t be a clear or easy path to the top of the East Division for the Redblacks, but with how their roster looks on paper, they should return to the playoffs for the first time since they made the Grey Cup in 2018.

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4. Toronto Argonauts

Offseason Ranking: 6th

Highest Ranking: 2nd

Lowest Ranking: 7th

Total Points: 33

Next Game: Week 2 Vs. Montreal

The Toronto Argonauts are in an interesting spot right now. Despite finishing at the top of the East Division standings in 2021, they fell short, losing to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the East Final. On paper, their roster is talented and should be expected to compete this season, but they aren’t without questions. What exactly they will get from their aging stars in Brandon Banks and Andrew Harris will be an interesting story to follow, but the most critical thing for the Argos is to have McLeod Bethel-Thompson return to his 2019 form. In 2021, Bethel-Thompson wasn’t good enough at the end of the season, and although he won the battle with Nick Arbuckle for the starting job, there will be questions about that decision if Bethel-Thompson can’t return to his peak. In a likely competitive East Division, the Argos will need everything Bethel-Thompson has.

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3. Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Offseason Ranking: 2nd

Highest Ranking: 2nd

Lowest Ranking: 6th

Total Points: 24

Next Game: Week 1 @ Saskatchewan

After back-to-back seasons where the Hamilton Tiger-Cats reached the Grey Cup but couldn’t come away with a win, they went through a bit of a transition in the offseason. Some of their veteran players were allowed to walk away, and even though both Brandon Banks and Jeremiah Masoli were at one time big contributors for the Tiger-Cats, they realized that their primes are limited. They made the move at a couple of positions to focus on their youth, while at others, they retained their veterans. This team is a good mix of young and old, and once again, they should be very competitive when the season ends. With any luck, they could finally be able to break through and end their Grey Cup drought.

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2. Saskatchewan Roughriders

Offseason Ranking: 3rd

Highest Ranking: 1st

Lowest Ranking: 4th

Total Points: 19

Next Game: Week 1 Vs. Hamilton

Last season, the Roughriders fell just short of a Grey Cup appearance, ultimately falling to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the West Final. This season, the Grey Cup is scheduled to take place in Regina, meaning the importance of making it to the big game is heightened even further for the Riders and their fans. It’s a big season for quarterback Cody Fajardo. With his contract expiring at the end of the season, he needs to prove himself as the unquestionable starting quarterback for the Riders going forward. He will have help around him, most notably with Duke Williams, who will provide Fajardo with plenty of outstanding catches and safe hands. The Riders have fallen short of their high expectations for the past handful of seasons, and with their biggest rival currently showing to be the class of the CFL, they will want nothing more than to steal their thunder, and win the Grey Cup.

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1. Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Offseason Ranking: 1st

Highest Ranking: 1st

Lowest Ranking: 3rd

Total Points: 9

Next Game: Week 1 Vs. Ottawa

It wasn’t quite unanimous, but the Winnipeg Blue Bombers top our power rankings once again. It’s pretty hard to spot weaknesses among the number ones on the Bombers’ roster after they retained many of the players that helped make them back-to-back Grey Cup champions. If there are any losses to be concerned about, it would be on the offensive side of the ball with Darvin Adams, Andrew Harris, and Kenny Lawler moving on. They have some replacements ready to step up, however, with Greg Ellingson being brought over from the Edmonton Elks, and Brady Oliviera and/or Johnny Augustine looking poised to be starters at the CFL level. There’s no reason why this team can’t win their third straight championship, but they play the games for a reason.


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