Only two weeks remain now in the CFL 2023 Regular Season. The East playoff picture is complete, while the West postseason puzzle remains unsettled.
In Week 19, A thrilling bounce-back BC victory kept their Western division crown hopes alive. And a Calgary rally over slumping Saskatchewan keeps the Stamps’ 17 consecutive season playoff streak intact, at least for another week.
Here are the CFL regular season standings after 19 weeks of play.
CFL 2023 Regular Season Standings
|Winnipeg Blue Bombers– x||16||12||4||24||513||339||7-1-0||5-3-0||8-2-0|
|BC Lions– x||17||12||5||24||479||398||6-2-0||6-3-0||8-3-0|
|Toronto Argonauts– y||16||14||2||28||535||348||9-0-0||5-2-0||9-0-0|
|Montreal Alouettes – x||17||10||7||20||420||372||4-4-0||5-4-0||6-3-0|
|Hamilton Tiger-Cats– x||17||8||9||16||388||439||3-6-0||5-3-0||3-6-0|
y – Clinched Division
x – Clinched Playoff Berth
Here are the CFL Power Rankings from top to bottom headed into Week 20.
CFL 2023 Week 20 Power Rankings
#9: Saskatchewan Roughriders (6-11)
- Last Week’s Ranking: 7
- Last game: 26-19 Road Loss To Calgary
- Next game: Regular Season Finale, Home Vs. Toronto, Saturday, October 21
With a chance to clinch a playoff spot in the CFL’s West Division playoff race, the Riders gifted Calgary 14 points off two turnovers as the Stampeders came back from a 13-0 deficit to beat Saskatchewan 26-19.
If the CFL season ended today, the Roughriders would qualify for the postseason. But no team is more undeserving of a playoff berth in recent memory than the 2023 Riders.
Saskatchewan has lost six straight games. As a result, the Riders have opened the door for the Stampeders to sneak in over their decaying corpse for a postseason spot.
Saskatchewan no longer controls its playoff destiny. They need to win against what could be the Argonauts C team at home next weekend and get one more Stamps loss or hope that Calgary loses its last two games. The latter would provide the ultimate back-into-the-playoffs scenario.
The Riders have been losing on and off the field the last two years—a season after going 6 and 12 and missing the playoffs. Saskatchewan’s executives are looking to raise ticket prices.
#8: Ottawa REDBLACKS (4-13 )
- Last Week’s Ranking: 9
- Last Game: 40-27 Road Loss To Toronto
- Next game: Home versus Toronto, Saturday, October 28th
For three quarters on Saturday night, Ottawa was playing the defending CFL champs like it was their Grey Cup. Dustin Crum, Jaelon Acklin, and Bob Dyce’s special teams came to play against the Argos. However, the end result was a familiar tale for their 2023 season.
Ottawa fought hard but fell apart late in the game’s pivotal moments. It’s been that kind of season symbolizing a recent run of futility for the Redblacks. The end results are always negative. They will get one more crack at beating the Boatmen and ending their season positively in two weeks.
#7: Edmonton Elks (4-13)
- Last Week’s Ranking: 6
- Last game: 35-21 Home Loss To Montreal
- Next game: Season Finale At Winnipeg, Saturday, October 21st
Perhaps a different ending to the Elks season would’ve been in store had the team pulled the trigger on starting Tre Ford earlier this season. However, in Week 19, Edmonton produced an effort fitting a four-win campaign.
Playing their home finale against a team with nothing at stake. The Edmonton Elks staked themselves a 21-3 lead over Montreal in Week 19. But they then surrendered 32 unanswered points to Alouettes. It was a complete collapse in all three phases.
Having a promising young quarterback with significant upside is promising. But it won’t be enough to change the losing culture in Edmonton. If anything, the Elks’ latest loss showed why they are still several steps away from being a legitimate contender.
#6: Calgary Stampeders (5-11)
- Last Week’s Ranking: 8
- Last Game: 26-19 home victory over Saskatchewan
- Next game: At British Columbia, Friday, October 20th
The Stampeders staved off elimination in Week 19 by finding a way to beat a Saskatchewan team that has been in surrender mode the last month and a half. 5-11 record be damned, Calgary has a chance to keep their impressive nearly two-decade playoff streak alive.
Here are the scenarios for the Calgary Stampeders to be a playoff team for the 18th straight season. It’s not as far-fetched as it appears on paper, especially if Dave Dickenson’s squad gets to the final week of the season playing a Winnipeg team with nothing to play for. But there’s also a scenario where they can clinch before the final weekend of the regular season. A win by Calgary and a Saskatchewan loss in Week 20 would do the trick.
The Stamps now have the tiebreaker over Saskatchewan but will need to win one of their final two games — against the B.C. Lions and Winnipeg Blue Bombers — plus have the Riders lose to the Toronto Argonauts.
Supposing the Riders beat Toronto at home. Calgary would then need to win their final two games to get in.
Nothing about Calgary’s 2023 campaign has been pretty. But another bid into the playoffs would salvage the wreckage of this season.
#5: Hamilton Tiger-Cats (8-9)
- Last Week’s Ranking: 5
- Last game: 33-30 Home Loss To The Lions
- Next game: Week 21, At Montreal, Saturday, October 28th
Hamilton is coming off a hard-fought last-second loss to the Lions at home in Week 19. The Ti-Cats nearly beat BC for a second time this season but could not close the deal in what could be their final home game in 2023. That’s unless they find a way to get to the Grey Cup.
The Tiger-Cats season is now all about beating the Alouettes in Montreal when it counts. Hamilton has one last bye before facing the Als in what will likely be a preseason affair in Week 21 before the real duel for a trip to the East final commences on November 4th.
#4: Montreal Alouettes (10-7)
- Last Week’s Ranking: 4
- Last game: 35-21 Home Victory Over Ottawa
- Next game: Home versus Hamilton, Saturday, October 28th
The Alouettes got an assist in Week 19 when the BC Lions beat Hamilton at the final gun on Friday. The Leos’ triumph ensured Montreal would be home for the East Semi-Final. But the truth is that the Als didn’t need the help. Jason Maas’s team continues to play at a high level in all three phases.
After falling down 21-3 on the road against Edmonton. With nothing at stake, Montreal could’ve easily folded up shop. Instead, they went on a run that saw them score 32 unanswered points in an impressive 35-21 victory.
The Alouettes are flying right at the perfect time heading into the postseason. The upcoming schedule lines up perfectly for their next important flight.
Montreal gets one last bye, then a season finale against eventual semifinal opponent Hamilton, in what should be treated as a dress rehearsal before the Als’ attempt to get back to the East Final for the second year in a row.
It’s been a unique season where Montreal separated itself from the pack. They are 0-7 against Toronto, Winnipeg, and British Columbia. But 10-0 against everyone else in the CFL. It’s why they are headed to the playoffs in a favorable position. The goal is to get another crack at the CFL’s elite when it matters most.
#3: B.C. Lions (12-5)
- Last Week’s Ranking: 3
- Last game: 33-30 road victory over Hamilton
- Next game: Regular Season Finale, Home versus Calgary, Friday, October 20
In an exciting, hard-fought contest between two of the CFL’s most talented teams. The BC Lions bounced back after a tough loss to Winnipeg to edge past the Ti-Cats 33-30 at the final gun.
It was a significant bounce back for British Columbia for several reasons. On the surface, the Leos victory keeps them alive for a potential West division crown, even if the odds are still long for them to host the West Final at BC Place. Avenging an earlier season loss to Hamilton holds weight, but more importantly, BC answered the call after a soul-crushing loss to the Bombers.
The Lions will close out their regular season against playoff-hungry Calgary this Friday. It’s an opponent BC could see again at BC Place in the West Semi-Final. Unless the Leos find a way to win the West, in that case, they would have two straight bye weeks.
#2: Winnipeg Blue Bombers (12-4)
- Last Week’s Ranking: 2
- Last game: 34-26 Overtime Road Home Victory Over BC
- Next game: Home versus Edmonton, Saturday, October 21
Ideally, Winnipeg would’ve sat back during the bye and watched as BC lost, ensuring themselves a home game in the West Final. But the Bombers will likely have to get the job done themselves against Edmonton in Week 20. Winnipeg will know by Saturday if they need to beat the Elks.
#1: Toronto Argonauts (14-2)
- Last Week’s Ranking: 1
- Last game: 40-27 home victory over Ottawa
- Next game: At Saskatchewan, Saturday, October 21st
The Ottawa Redblacks brought their best against the Boatmen on Saturday. But the Double Blue turned it on when the game was in doubt and sailed to a 40-27 victory. The Argos finish the 2023 regular season undefeated at BMO Field.
If not for a motivated effort by Ottawa, the Argonauts seem prepared to go into preservation mode earlier than they would’ve liked. Quarterback Chad Kelly stayed in the game long enough for Toronto to take command before stepping aside for Cameron Dukes.
It was another instance this season where Kelly proved that the Argos would not be 14-2 without him. Toronto needed Chad Kelly to step up late with big-time throws in the clutch to secure a win over Ottawa. With great assists by all-world specialist Boris Bede (6-6 field goals), and DaVaris Daniels (6-141-1td).
Toronto has a chance, if they so desire, to finish the 2023 season with their best-ever record in 150 years of existence. That’s if they win their last two games.
However, with the team finishing the regular season on the road, it’s likely that the Boatmen can now fully dip their toes into the water in full-on preseason mode before the postseason.
No matter how their final two regular season games transpire, the defending CFL champions have defended their throne in glorious fashion. The bottom line is will they do that when the Grey Cup playoffs arrive?
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