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CFL Power Rankings Week 4

After 4 weeks of play, we have seen strong play from all 9 CFL teams. Despite many closely contested games we still have 3 teams who are yet to find their first win of the season.

The Crown Holder and the Court Jester

Crown Holder 👑 – Montreal Alouettes held the Crown by defeating Toronto 30-20. Calgary will challenge for the crown when they face the Alouettes on Saturday.

Court Jester 🃏 – Edmonton Elks remained the Court Jester by losing to B.C. 21-24. Edmonton is on the bye this week and will host Ottawa in week 6.

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.

Predictions: CFL News Hub Writers’ Week 5 Picks

#1 Montreal Alouettes (4-0)👑

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.

Week 4 Result: Defeated Toronto on the road 30-20.

The Montreal Alouettes extended their win streak to 12 games in week 3 as they handed the Toronto Argonauts their first loss of the season by a score of 30-20. Cody Fajardo completed 33 of his 41 passes for 284 yards and a touchdown with 1 interception. The touchdown came early in the game on a 38-yard score thanks to some YAC from Tyson Philpot who broke a tackle on the way. Cole Spiker led the team in receiving in week 4 catching 8 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown.

Linebacker Darnell Sankey led the team in tackles with 8. Linebacker Geoggrey Cantin-Arku who Montreal selected in the first round of the CFL Draft had 2 sacks.

The pass coverage continued to be excellent for Montreal as they held Cameron Dukes to 199 yards with 0 touchdowns and 1 interception on 32 pass attempts. Cornerback Dionte Ruffin recorded an interception. Montreal did allow a touchdown pass from Bryan Scott late in the game. Over the last 7 games, Montreal has generated 12 interceptions while allowing only 3 passing touchdowns.

Week 5: Hosting Calgary on Saturday.

Game Preview: Montreal Alouettes (4-0) Week 5 Preview vs Calgary Stampeders (2-1): Prediction, Depth Chart, Injuries, Odds

#2 Toronto Argonauts (2-1)

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.

Week 4 Result: Lost to Montreal at home 20-30.

The Toronto Argonauts took their first L of the season losing to Montreal at home 20-30. Cameron Dukes completed 22 of his 32 passes for 199 yards with 1 interception against a defense that tends to give quarterbacks very little to throw at. Bryan Scott came into the game late and completed all 5 of his passes for 79 yards and a touchdown. The Argos have now seen strong play from 2 different quarterbacks early in the season despite being without reigning MOP Chad Kelly.

Runningback Ka’Deem Carey rushed 9 times for 61 yards (6.8 average). Toronto may have benefited from giving more touches to Carey as Montreal’s pass defense has been the best in the league.

A bright spot for Toronto in the loss was the fact that they held Montreal’s running back Walter Fletcher to just 11 yards on his 6 carries. The pass rush was also successful in generating pressure. Robbie Smith had 2 QB hits and 4 total pressures in the first half alone. Jordan Williams had the lone sack of the game which caused a 10-yard loss in the second quarter.

Week 5: Visiting Saskatchewan on Thursday.

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

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.

Week 4 Result: Defeated Edmonton at home 24-21.

The B.C. Lions improved to 3-1 thanks to a 42-yard game-winning field goal from Sean Whyte on the final play to win over Edmonton 24-21. The Elks managed to get pressure on Vernon Adams Jr at a rate that Edmonton can feel good about but it rarely seemed to affect the result of the play as Vernon Adams Jr. played very well in sliding around the backfield and rushed 6 times for 33 yards. Adams completed 27 of his 38 passes for 331 yards and a touchdown.

It was a regression in the run game as William Stanback was held to 42 yards on 11 carries (3.82 yards per carry). It was lower production than the 2 games prior in which he averaged 4.9 yards per carry on 31 rushes.

It was a strong game from center Tyler Packer who only allowed 1 pressure by my count. It was the 2nd time this season he had 1 pressure or fewer.

Week 3 saw the Lions hold Kevin Brown to 40 yards on 6 carries. His longest was recorded as a 20-yard rush in which Garry Peters forced a fumble 15 yards into the rush resulting in a turnover. His number of attempts was likely limited after he appeared to be in some pain following a play early in the 2nd half.

Both Garry Peters and Ciante Evans recorded an interception. Evans also had a pass breakup as did linebacker Patrice Rene.

Multiple players stood out in the pass rush. Edmonton allowed very few pressures over the first 49 plays until DT Tibo Debaillie had a quarterback hit on 2 consecutive plays. Pete Robertson also had 2 quarterback hits in the game and 2 additional pressures.DT Josh Banks and defensive end Sione Teuhema both had 3 pressures.

Week 5: Visiting Hamilton on Sunday.

Game Preview: BC Lions (3-1) Week 5 Preview vs Hamilton Tiger-Cats (0-4): Prediction, Depth Chart, Injuries, Odds

#4 Saskatchewan Roughriders (3-0)

Previous Rank: 4

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.

Week 4: Bye week.

The Roughriders were on a much-needed bye week in week 4 after quarterback Trevor Harris left week 3’s game due to injury. Unfortunately, they will be without Harris for some time as he has since been placed on the 6-game injured list.

Week 5: Hosting Toronto on Thursday.

#5 Calgary Stampeders (2-1)

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.

Week 4 Result: Defeated Winnipeg at home in overtime 22-19.

The Calgary Stampeders won a crucial victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at home in the first overtime of the season thanks to a 52-yard field goal from Rene Paredes. Calgary’s defense was very tight all game until Winnipeg’s Chris Streveler managed to lead a 74-yard drive to tie the game using up only a minute of clock.

Jake Maier completed 28 of his 43 passes for 239 yards and a touchdown with 1 interception. Marken Michel led the team in receiving with 9 receptions for 75 yards and a touchdown. Calgary didn’t get a lot of production out of the run game as Dedrick Mills was held to 51 yards on 16 carries (3.2 average).

The defense held Winnipeg’s Zach Collaros to 55 passes on 12 pass attempts with 1 interception before he left the game due to injury. They also held Brady Oliveira to just 2.6 yards per carry as he rushed 10 times for 26 yards. Defensive back Demerio Houston had 7 tackles and an interception against his old team which came on Winnipeg’s overtime possession. Clarence Hicks recorded the reception thrown by Collaros earlier in the game.

Week 5: Visiting Montreal on Saturday.

#6 Ottawa RedBlacks (2-1)

Previous Rank: 8

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.

Week 4 Result: Defeated Hamilton at home 24-22.

Ottawa won a massive divisional contest over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at home in week 4 by a score of 24-22. Ottawa was trailing 12-13 entering the 4th quarter and won on a 46-yard field goal from Lewis Ward on the final play of the game. Ottawa got the ball with only 18 seconds remaining in the game trailing by 1 point but had great field position starting at their 52-yard line thanks to a short kickoff and a good return from Tobias Harris. It was Ottawa’s first win over Hamilton since 2018.

Dru Brown completed 24 of his 39 passes for 265 yards and a touchdown. Jaelon Acklin led the team in receiving as he caught 7 passes for 90 yards. Justin Hardy caught 5 passes for 75 yards and a touchdown. Runningback Ryquell Armstead rushed 10 times for 51 yards.

Linebacker Frankie Griffin led the team in tackles in week 4 with 11, 2 of which were for a loss. The team held running back Greg Ball to 52 yards on 13 carries (4 yards per carry). Bryce Carter and Lorenzo Mauldin both recorded a sack.

Week 5: Visiting Winnipeg on Friday.

#7 Edmonton Elks (0-4)🃏

Previous Rank: 7

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.

Week 4 Result: Lost to B.C. on the road 21-24.

The Edmonton Elks have been snake-bitten this season, dare I say cursed. They have played well so far this season but have lost all 4 of their games. All of their losses have been against top teams in the league having lost to Saskatchewan, Montreal, Toronto, and now B.C. Their last 3 games were all lost by just 3 points. Since the team’s name changed to the Elks ahead of the 2021 season the record is now 11-43.

Despite losing in week 4 there were a lot of positives for the Elks. McLeod Bethel-Thompson played another strong game completing 19 of his 30 passes for 247 yards and a touchdown although he did have 2 interceptions. He also rushed 3 times for 29 yards.

Edmonton’s run game is an area of concern as Kevin Brown rushed 6 times for 20 yards although half of those were on a run in which the play ended in a turnover. Brown is now last in rush yards per game having rushed 31 times for 140 yards (4.5 yards per carry). His game was limited by what appeared to be an injury early in the 2nd half but regardless Edmonton needs to start pounding the rock more as their starting running back now has fewer rushes per game than any other starting running back and it’s not a recipe for being multi-dimensional.

On defense Edmonton’s line was able to generate some pressure on Vernon Adams Jr. By my count, Elliott Brown and Sam Acheampong both had 5 total pressures. Noah Curtis had 4 pressures and Eric Black had 3.

Linebacker Nyes Morgan led the team in tackles with 12. He made 2 solo run stops and was also in on 2 shared run stops. Eric Black had a solo run stop and 2 shared run stops.

If there was one thing I would change to potentially improve Edmonton’s defense in week 4 it would be to have the defensive backs play tighter to the line. Often Edmonton had their defensive backs schemed very far from the line of scrimmage giving easy first-down opportunities to BC.

Week 5: Bye Week.

#8 Hamilton Tiger-Cats (0-4)

Previous Rank: 9

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.

Week 4 Result: Lost to Ottawa on the road 22-24.

With how close so many CFL games have been this season it seems like a statistical anomaly that there would be 3 winless teams. Week 4 saw Hamilton lose on a field goal in the final play from their opponent for the second time this season.

I would argue that Hamilton shot themself in the foot in both games in which they lost on a field goal. In week 4 with 25 seconds the Ti-Cats were kicking off with a 1-point lead and made the decision to kick a squib kick and the short kick was returned 27 yards to Ottawa’s 52-yard line making things manageable for them to get into field position. In week 2 Saskatchewan was given the field position after a drop unfortunately resulted in the ball floating to a defender on a silver platter for a very easy interception near the end of a tied game.

Bo Levi Mitchell continues to put up impressive numbers as he completed 30 of his 45 passes for 322 yards and 2 touchdowns without an interception. Tim White had his best game of the season as he recorded 8 receptions for 118 yards and a touchdown. Steven Dunbar Jr. had his best game as a Tiger-Cat after catching 4 passes for 90 yards. Running back Greg Bell rushed 13 times for 52 yards (4 average) and caught 7 passes for 40 yards.

Hamilton generated a turnover on the first play getting the ball in great field position after Robert Panabaker forced a fumble that Felix Garand-Gauthier recovered. Hamilton had another turnover in the third quarter when Richard Leonard forced a fumble which was recovered by Jonathan Moxey. Linebacker Kyle Wilson led the team in tackles with 6. Defensive end Nick Usher has been impactful for the team since joining late last season. He had 5 tackles in week 4 including 2 for a loss. Safety Stavros Katsantonis also had 5 tackles.

It’s too early in the season for games to be must-win games from a purely mathematical perspective, but Hamilton must start winning. They will have a difficult opponent this weekend as they host BC on Sunday.

Week 5: Hosting BC on Sunday.

#9 Winnipeg Blue Bombers (0-4)

Previous Rank: 6

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.

Week 4 Result: Lost to Calgary on the road in overtime 19-22.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have sunk to the bottom of my rankings after an adversity-ridden start to the season has seen them begin 0-4. The positive in week 4 was the fact that it was very winnable. Winnipeg’s offensive line has surprisingly seen a drastic fall from grace which has frequently allowed quarterback pressures while also struggling in run blocking. 

Last season Brady Olivira rushed for 1,540 yards and had 5.9 yards per carry over the regular season. This season he currently has 4.3 and is only ahead of 2 other starting running backs in this metric after leading the league last year. The O-line needs to get their mojo back if Winnipeg is going to get back to being the juggernauts of the West that we have seen in recent years.

Injuries have been a major concern for Winnipeg who lost star receiver Kenny Lawler to the 6-game injured list after 1 game. In week 2 we saw defensive lineman Celestin Haba and Miles Fox join him. After week 3 star receiver Dalton Schoen was lost for the season. Brady Oliveira has also missed a game in week 2. Now this past week we saw quarterback Zach Collaros leave the game early due to injury and is questionable to play on Friday. It’s hard to imagine things being any worse for Winnipeg in the injury discussion as the team currently has 10 players on the 6-game injured list.

Keric Wheatfall is among the 3 receivers on the 6-game injured list. One can’t help but wonder what kind of hidden gems we might see emerge in this position from Winnipeg’s current player pool or if they might go out and sign someone. Lucky Whitehead remains available after becoming a free agent following his contract expiring with BC. Siaosi Mariner is another player with CFL experience that comes to mind who played very well in the UFL this past season after being with Ottawa in 2022 and 2023.

The positives in week 4 for Winnipeg saw 4th quarter heroics from Chris Streveler who led a 

74-yard drive to tie the game in the final 2 minutes of the game. Streveler finished with 14 completions on 24 passes for 170 yards and a touchdown with 1 interception. Another positive was Winnipeg holding Dedrick Mills to 3.2 yards per carry as he rushed for 51 yards on 16 carries which is no small feat.

Week 5: Hosting Ottawa on Friday.

Game Preview: Bombers Still Looking For Win #1: Winnipeg vs. Ottawa by Don Cruickshank

@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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