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CFL Power Rankings Week 3

CFL Power Rankings after 3 weeks of play. Montreal remains atop the power rankings. Meanwhile, the Saskatchewan Roughriders continue to climb the rankings after a decisive victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Predictions: CFL News Hub Writers’ Week 4 Picks

The Crown Holder and the Court Jester

Crown Holder 👑 – Montreal Alouettes held the Crown by defeating Ottawa 47-21. Toronto will challenge to win the crown on Friday when they host the Alouettes.

Court Jester 🃏 – Edmonton Elks remained the Court Jester by losing to Toronto 36-39. Edmonton has a chance to force the title of Court Jester onto the BC Lions on Thursday.

If a team defeats the Crown Holder they steal the Crown and become the new Crown Holder.

If a team loses to the Court Jester they become the new Court Jester thus freeing the previous team from being the Court Jester.

#1 Montreal Alouettes (3-0)👑

Previous Rank: 1

Week 1 Result: Defeated Winnipeg on the road 27-12.

Week 2 Result: Defeated Edmonton on the road 23-20.

Week 3 Result: Defeated Ottawa at home 47-21.

The Alouettes are on an incredible run having now extended their win streak to 11 games with a 47-21 win over the Ottawa RedBlacks

Cody Fajardo had an amazing statline in the first half completing 20 of his 22 passes for 291 yards and a touchdown. He finished the game with 393 yards and 3 touchdowns and added 39 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. Fajardo has the 2nd best touchdown to interception ratio in the league currently with 7 touchdowns and 1 interception.

It was a strong day for Montreal’s star Canadian receiving duo which saw both Tyson Philpot and Kaion Julien-Grant finish with over 100 yards and record 8 receptions. Philpot had 150 receiving yards and a touchdown while Julien-Grant had 116 yards. Reggie White Jr. had 4 receptions for 61 yards and 2 touchdowns in his first game back after missing all of last season due to injury.

On defense linebacker Tyrice Beverette was highly impactful recording a team-leading 6 tackles, a sack, an interception, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. Middle linebacker Darnell Sankey forced the fumble that Beverette recovered and also recovered the fumble that Beverette forced.

Defensive tackle Mustafa Johnson was effective in the pass rush generating a sack and 4 additional pressures. Defensive end Isaac Adeyemi-Berglund also had a sack and 3 additional pressures.

Montreal Alouettes (3-0) Week 4 Preview vs Toronto Argonauts (2-0): Prediction, Depth Chart, Injuries, Odds

Week 4: Visiting Toronto on Friday.

#2 Toronto Argonauts (2-0)

Previous Rank: 2

Week 1 Result: Defeated BC at home 35-27.

Week 2 Result: Bye week.

Week 3 Result: Defeated Edmonton at home 39-36.

Toronto won a close game in week 3 at home over the Edmonton Elks 39-36 thanks to a 37-yard field goal from Lirim Hajrullahu on the final play of the game.

It was another efficient game from quarterback Cameron Dukes who completed 18 of his 21 passes for 214 yards and 2 touchdowns bringing his total to 468 yards and 5 touchdowns over 2 games. He has the highest completion percentage among starting quarterbacks at 81.3% and is the only starting QB without an interception thrown yet this season.

Damonte Coxie led the team in receiving with 3 catches for 58 yards and a touchdown. Rasheed Bailey had the other receiving touchdown. The win over Edmonton saw Ka’Deem Cary rush for 104 yards and a touchdown over 19 carries (5.5 average).

Defensive backs Leonard Johnson, Benjie Franklin, and Mason Peirce were all tied for a team-leading 6 tackles in week 3. Defensive lineman Jake Ceresna had the only sack for Toronto in week 3 against his old team. The Argos were able to frequently generate pressure on the quarterback while keeping Edmonton to just 35 rushing yards.

Week 4: Hosting Montreal on Friday.

#3 B.C. Lions (2-1)

Previous Rank: 3

Week 1 Result: Lost to Toronto on the road 27-35.

Week 2 Result: Defeated Calgary at home 26-17.

Week 3 Result: Defeated Winnipeg on the road 26-24.

The BC Lions defeated Winnipeg on the road in a close contest 26-24. The Lions also beat the Blue Bombers on the road in week 3 last year but ended up losing to them in the next 2 regular season meetings before losing again to them in the Western Final.

The BC Lions are doing a great job in getting the run game going. They used fullback David Mackie effectively in different blocking schemes such as on some plays in which they had him line up beside the offensive line. The blocking provided helped William Stanback cut loose for 83 yards on 16 carries (5.2 average). Stanback leads the league in rushing yards currently after rushing 42 times for 187 yards (4.5 yards per carry).

Vernon Adams Jr. completed 21 of his 33 passes for 398 yards and 2 touchdowns. He now leads the league in passing yards after completing 66.3% of his passes so far for 1,038 yards and 6 touchdowns with 1 interception. Alexander Hollins led the league in receiving yards in week 3 after catching 7 passes for 215 yards and 2 touchdowns. Hollins leads the league in receiving currently after recording 23 receptions for 402 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Cornerback Garry Peters led the team in tackles in week 3 with 9. He made 2 solo stops against short passes and was also involved in a shared run stop. Linebacker Josh Woods had 8 tackles and was also involved in 5 shared run stops. Defensive end Pete Robertson had the lone sack for BC in week 3.

Week 4: Hosting Edmonton on Thursday.

#4 Saskatchewan Roughriders (3-0)

Previous Rank: 6 (Up 2)

Week 1 Result: Defeated Edmonton on the road 29-21.

Week 2 Result: Defeated Hamilton on the road 33-30.

Week 3 Result: Defeated Hamilton at home 36-20.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have a lot to feel good about heading into their bye week 3-0 after a 36-20 win at home over Hamilton. The biggest positive in this game for Saskatchewan was an improvement in their run blocking which saw a great reduction in A.J. Ouellette having first contact made in the backfield. Ouellette had his best game yet as a Roughrider in which he rushed 20 times for 98 yards and was also the team’s leading receiver with 4 catches for 47 yards.

However, the concerns surrounding the offensive line continue to be present for Saskatchewan. I had concerns after the first 2 weeks regarding Saskatchewan’s ability to protect Trevor Harris and keep him healthy. In week 3 the 38-year-old quarterback completed 16 of his 21 passes for 177 yards and 2 touchdowns and an interception before leaving the game due to an apparent leg injury before halftime. Shea Patterson played the rest of the game completing 4 of his 10 passes for 41 yards. Patterson played fantastic in the preseason but it is yet to be seen if he will be able to maintain a level of production close to what we have seen from Harris in the regular season.

On defense last week DB Deontai Williams led the team in tackles with 8. Three players recorded an interception in the win for the Riders including LB Jameer Thurman, BB Rolan Milligan Jr., and DB Damarcus Fields. DT Charbel Dabire had 2 sacks in week 3. Jameer Thurman returned his interception for the first defensive touchdown of the CFL season.

The timing of Saskatchewan’s bye works out great for the franchise giving Trevor Harris time to recover. The Riders will need better play from their offensive line if they hope to contend for a Grey Cup. There’s nothing wrong with having the oldest starting quarterback in the league but pass protection is much more important in such a scenario.

Week 4: Bye Week.

#5 Calgary Stampeders (1-1)

Previous Rank: 5

Week 1 Result: Defeated Hamilton at home 32-24.

Week 2 Result: Lost to BC on the road 17-26.

Week 3 Result: Bye Week.

The Calgary Stampeders were on a bye in week 3.

Week 4: Hosting Winnipeg on Saturday.

#6 Winnipeg Blue Bombers (0-3)

Previous Rank: 4 (Down 2)

Week 1 Result: Lost to Montreal at home 12-27.

Week 2 Result: Lost to Ottawa on the road 19-23.

Week 3 Result: Lost to BC at home 24-26.

After 4 consecutive trips to the Grey Cup, the Bombers have begun the season 0-3 for the first time since 2012 which saw them finish the season 6-12 and narrowly miss the playoffs. It is also the first time Winnipeg has lost 2 home games in a row since 2018. It is also the first time Winnipeg has lost 4 games in a row in the Zach Collaros era.

Winning has been such a normal occurrence for the Bombers over the last several seasons that it is easy to take a glance at their record and dismiss them as no longer being a threat. But that is not the case.

Winnipeg did not generate a sack in week 3 but they were able to generate some pressure on Vernon Adams Jr. Defensive end Willie Jefferson had 6 total pressures. DT Jake Thomas and DE Ali Fayad both had 4 total pressures.

Brady Oliveira had a strong rushing average in week 3 rushing 9 times for 64 yards (7.1 average) in large part due to a 28-yard rush. Chris Streveler had 3 rushing touchdowns in short-yardage situations. He now leads the league in rushing touchdowns with 4. Nic Demski led the team in receiving in week receiving in week 3 as he caught 8 passes for 94 yards.

Collaros has no touchdowns over his last 5 games while having 4 interceptions over that span. Winnipeg chose not to play him in the preseason and we saw him have a slow start after not having recent playing time, similar to what we have seen in the past. Collaros did look good in week 3 against BC completing 23 of his 30 passes for 247 yards. The result in week 3 could have been different if Collaros and Demski were able to connect on a deep pass late in the 4th quarter that passed mere inches away from Demski’s hand on a 2nd and 6 during Winnipeg’s last drive.

While I expect Winnipeg to bounce back and still be one of the most formidable teams in the league this season their poor start to the season after 3 games has them undeserving of a higher position on the power rankings.

Week 4: Visiting Calgary on Saturday.

#7 Edmonton Elks (0-3)🃏

Previous Rank: 9 (Up 2)

Week 1 Result: Lost to Saskatchewan at home 21-29.

Week 2 Result: Lost to Montreal at home 20-23.

Week 3 Result: Lost to Toronto on the road 36-39.

Edmonton looks like a much improved team over last season but are still looking for their first win. The Elks have lost their last 2 games by only 3 points against some of the strongest teams in the league.

Mcleod Bethel-Thomson has been putting up some impressive numbers with Edmonton since rejoining the CFL. MBT had his best game as an Elk so far completing 28 of his 38 passes for 342 yards and 4 touchdowns. He has completed 73% of his passes this season for 978 yards and 6 touchdowns with 3 interceptions. He is currently 2nd in passing yards in the league. 

Receiver Dillon Mitchell led the team again in receiving last week as he caught 5 passes for 120 yards and a touchdown. He leads the team in receiving and is 4th in the league after having caught 17 passes for 274 and a touchdown. Hergy Mayala, Kurleigh Gittens Jr., and Eugene Lewis all had a touchdown reception in week 3.

One area Edmonton needs to do better in is more consistency in the run game. Kevin Brown has rushed 25 times this season for 100 yards. His 4 yards per carry is currently the 2nd lowest among starting runningbacks.

A key area that needed to be improved for Edmonton coming into the season was defending against the run as they allowed the most total yards rushing at 136.6 per game and the most on average per rush at 5.7. This season they have allowed 114 yards per game and 5.2 yards per rush. They have shown signs of improvement in this area but there is still a lot of room to do better as the Elks are allowing the 2nd most rush yards per game and per rush trailing only Calgary in both of these metrics.

Week 4: Visiting BC on Thursday.

#8 Ottawa RedBlacks (1-1)

Previous Rank: 7 (Down 1)

Week 1 Result: Bye Week

Week 2 Result: Defeated Winnipeg at home 23-19.

Week 3 Result: Lost to Montreal on the road 21-47.

Ottawa lost by the largest margin of victory of any game so far this CFL season losing to Montreal 21-47. Ottawa’s defense against the pass continues to be an area of concern. Last season they allowed the most passing yards at 5,591 and were the only team to allow more than 300 yards per game at 310.6. So far this season Ottawa has allowed the 2nd most passing yards per game at 339.5 yards per game allowed after 2 games.

Sam linebacker Adarius Picket had a strong game in which he recorded 7 tackles. He put pressure on the quarterback 4 times and also made a solo run stop and was in on 2 shared run stops. Defensive ends Bryce Carter and Lorenzo Mauldin were able to generate some pressure in the pass rush although there were no sacks for Ottawa in week 3. Carter had 6 total pressures while Mauldin had 5.

Dru Brown completed 21 of his 35 passes for 292 yards and a touchdown with 1 interception in week 3. Justin Hardy led the team in receiving with 7 catches for 143 yards. Surprisingly Ottawa largely went away from the run game after having much success in the previous week. Ryquell Armstead rushed 6 times for 26 yards (4.3 average) in week 3. Ottawa did not hand the ball off to him until 20 minutes had passed into the game. He rushed 16 times for 95 yards in week 2 (5.9 average).

DeVonte Dedmon has been a bright spot in Ottawa in the return game. In week 3 he returned a kickoff 71 yards for a touchdown early in the 4th quarter. He is the first return man to score a kick return touchdown so far this season and currently has the longest return average among returners with more than 1 return.

Week 4: Hosting Hamilton on Sunday.

#9 Hamilton Tiger-Cats (0-3)

Previous Rank: 8 (Down 1)

Week 1 Result: Lost to Calgary on the road 24-32.

Week 2 Result: Lost to Saskatchewan at home 30-33.

Week 3 Result: Lost to Saskatchewan on the road 20-36.

Hamilton, we have a problem. Hamilton regressed in week 3 after looking like a team with the capacity to be dangerous in large part due to the quality of play from Bo Levi Mitchell in the first 2 weeks. In week 3 BLM completed 29 of his 45 passes for 295 yards and 2 touchdowns with 3 interceptions. The interceptions came within the final 17 minutes of the game.

Pass protection was an issue at times for Hamilton in week 3’s loss to Saskatchewan. The team also had it’s least productive game on the ground as James Butler rushed 5 times for 10 yards. By halftime James Butler had only 2 carries for 6 yards. Butler had a down game in week 2 in part due to a down week in run blocking. But to completely put him on the shelf and give him 5 carries compared to the 45 pass attempts is a ridiculous way to run any offense. Voluntarily being 1-dimensional as an offense is a great way to not win football games.

Hamilton has allowed the most points against so far this season at 101 and has allowed over 30 in each of their losses. To see 36 allowed from a team without their starting quarterback in the 2nd half is not inspiring. Saskatchewan scored 18 points in the 2nd half while missing Trevor Harris although in part thanks to the defense scoring late in the third quarter.

The Ti-Cats had great numbers against the pass in the 2nd half after Harris exited with injury but in the 6 quarters against him, there were 567 passing yards allowed and 4 touchdowns with 1 interception. In week 1 Jake Maier completed 80% of his passes against Hamilton for 252 yards and 2 touchdowns. Hamilton simply needs their secondary to play better moving forward.

Week 4: Visiting Ottawa on Sunday.

@JonathanClink on Twitter

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Jonathan Clink Reporter
Jonathan Clink joined CFL News Hub in early April of 2023. His primary responsibilities are covering the BC Lions and Montreal Alouettes. He self awarded himself the CFL Rookie Journalist of the Year in 2023 following the 2023 CFL season. He also proclaims himself to be a "really cool guy". He was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and lived a large portion of his childhood in Northwest Ontario. He currently lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan and misses being being able to have 4 months of skating every winter. Clink has written over 240 articles for CFL News Hub. He was the publication's boots on the ground at the 2023 Grey Cup in Hamilton. Clink has always had an obsession for sport and has a background in other sports as well having played hockey all his life and soccer, basketball, and lacrosse in high school. As a young child he used to log his hockey statistics after every game which is either an indication that he was destined for the role or perhaps and indication that he is rather strange.
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