Nine weeks of the 2023 CFL regular season are in the books. In Week 9, the league’s top teams were taken down a peg off their mighty perches as the Argos and Chad Kelly limped toward their first loss and the B.C. Lions were blown out by a bloodthirsty Bombers team.
As the CFL draws closer to its midway point, there’s a wide-open race (excluding Edmonton) beyond the league’s top three championship contenders in the East and West, with parity ruling the day. However, there’s a team in the former starting to build momentum and separate themselves from the pack in Montreal.
Here’s what the CFL regular season standings look like after nine weeks.
CFL 2023 Regular Season Standings
|Winnipeg Blue Bombers||8||6||2||0||12||240||161||4-1-0||2-1-0||4-1-0|
Here’s how I stack up all nine CFL teams from the bottom to the top, heading into Week 10.
CFL Week 10 Power Rankings
#9: Edmonton Elks (0-8)
- Last Week’s Ranking: 9
- Last game: 27-0 Home Loss To B.C.
- Next game: Home Vs. Winnipeg, Thursday, August 10th
Week 9 presented some positives for the CFL franchise with the most negative aura surrounding them.
Firstly, you can’t lose if you don’t play. Secondly, Edmonton, who is hamstrung to make any significant changes until maybe after the season, made some noticeable changes that will help provide a more positive outlook moving forward.
The bye week produced multiple victories for a team that has none.
From an aesthetic standpoint, the team unveiled a new Indigenous logo, which received nearly unanimous praise. So much so that many are suggesting that the team retain its new look permanently; it can’t hurt, right?
On the field, the Elks are going with a new approach at offensive coordinator, elevating Jarious Jackson to the role. And the former QB and veteran assistant coach is already making waves by anointing the talented but raw Tre Ford as his starter on the pivot. Edmonton and CFL fans abroad are rejoicing at the news that the Canadian university superstar at Waterloo and U Sports football‘s most outstanding player is finally getting his chance to energize Edmonton.
# 8: Ottawa REDBLACKS (3-5)
- Last Week’s Ranking: 7
- Last Game: 26-24 Road Loss To Saskatchewan
- Next game: At Toronto, Sunday, August 13th
The Redblacks have been involved in a lot of nailbiting games this season that have come down to the wire. Week 9 was no exception.
Bob Dyce’s team has played hard and been very competive this season. However, it was Dyce’s shoddy decision making in the game’s deciding moments that proved costly.
In a baffling sequence, rather than attempt to score from third and goal at the one yard line, Dyce opted not to roll the dice, down 23-21, and instead settled for an 8-yard field goal.
Ottawa would kick the ball off to Mario Alford, who predictably provided a solid return setting up the late Saskatchewan go-ahead kick.
Bob Dyce fell on the sword after the game taking blame for letting his team down. But not for opting to kick the field goal, but for kicking the ball to Mario Alford. Both decisions were poor ones. But the latter which is dissapointing considering Dyce’s specialty and background should have never happened.
Kicking the field goal made no sense. It was a cowardly call. If Ottawa converts on third and goal, they win. If not, they still potentially get the ball back in field goal range.
Ottawa has experienced a rollercoaster type season after eight games, winning and losing in dramatic fashion. The team could easily be 1-6 or 5-3. They’ve split the difference at 3-5. Week 9’s decision making by Bob Dyce resembled that of an 0-8 coached team.
#7: Hamilton Tiger-Cats (3-5)
- Last Week’s Ranking: 6
- Last game: 27-14 home loss to Montreal
- Next game: Week 11: Home vs. Edmonton, Thursday, August 17
The Tiger-Cats enter a bye before they get Edmonton at home. There’s still plenty of parity and time for Hamilton to stay in the playoff hunt. However, every time the Ti-Cats have had to step up, they have failed to meet the challenge. Week 9’s effort was another example of that.
#6: Calgary Stampeders (3-5)
- Last Week’s Ranking: 8
- Last Game: 20-7 home victory over Toronto
- Next game: At British Columbia, Saturday, August 12
Very few people, other than yours truly predicted that Calgary would upset Toronto in Week 9.
It’s understandable why so many picked Calgary to falter against the Argonauts. After all, the Stamps heading into the game were winless at home, facing an undefeated team.
Not anymore on both counts, after Dave Dickenson’s squad got a much-needed well-rounded performance against the defending CFL champs.
The Stampeders staff knows Toronto all too well. It’s an advantage that aided them in Week 9.
Some breaks, and that knowledge paid off in Calgary’s play-it-safe 20-7 victory over the Argonauts. It helped that Chad Kelly exited the game for Toronto. But truthfully, Brent Munson’s defence had the upper hand against Ryan Dinwiddie’s attack last Friday from the outset. It was similar to what Calgary did in last year’s 29-2 victory over the Boatmen at home.
Calgary played a physical brand of football and got back to their basics. They will need to continue that formula moving forward because they have a very challenging schedule up ahead. In three weeks’ time, they will see the Argonauts again in Toronto. But before that, they head to B.C. and then square up with Winnipeg.
#5: Saskatchewan Roughriders (4-4)
- Last Week’s Ranking: 5
- Last game: 26-24 Home Victory Over Ottawa
- Next game: At Montreal, Friday, August 11
The Roughriders made life rougher than it needed to be in Week 9. Saskatchewan nearly blew a game they controlled for the most part. But it took some late theatrics and a boneheaded decision by the opposing team’s head coach for them to nudge past a scrappy Ottawa team.
Saskatchewan’s defence played another strong game, registering six sacks, holding the Redblacks to five field goals and keeping them out of the end zone. Very quietly, the Riders are playing as good as any CFL team on that side of the ball. If that trend continues, Saskatchewan will be a tough out every single week.
Life after Trevor Harris hasn’t been easy. But Saskatchewan’s offence held their end of the bargain against Ottawa. Minus a late turnover that nearly sunk their efforts.
#4: Montreal Alouettes (4-3)
- Last Week’s Ranking: 4
- Last game: 27-14 road victory over Hamilton
- Next game: Home vs. Saskatchewan, Friday, August 11th
Montreal is building momentum as they head toward the midway point of the CFL season. Their inspiring comeback victory over Hamilton on the road will help separate them from the pack. They have a home game against the Riders, followed up by another Eastern contest on the road versus Ottawa. Wins during this stretch will help create further separation in the playoff race.
Jason Maas’s team is getting good play from their QB Cody Fajardo and balanced play overall. The addition of CFL perennial all-star Shawn Lemon, who was ridiculously left out on the open market, is paying huge dividends for the Alouettes.
Montreal is a better team than many expected them to be. The Als’ three losses this season came against the Argos, Leos, and Bombers. Their victories in the last two weeks are showing that while they may not be in lockstep yet with the elite, they are certainly a step above the rest.
#3: B.C. Lions (6-2)
- Last Week’s Ranking: 2
- Last game: 50-14 road loss to Winnipeg
- Next game: Home vs. Calgary, Saturday, August 12th
You could see Week 9’s 50-14 whiplashing by the Bombers over B.C. in Winnipeg coming from a mile away. In Week 9, British Columbia walked into a proverbial buzzsaw. After they beat the Blue Bombers soundly on their field over a month ago. Retribution was coming and arrived for the Lions.
The Leos’ are now tied atop the West with Winnipeg. They will have a chance to return the favor later in the season in Week 18. No matter what happens then, B.C. and Winnipeg will likely meet again in the playoffs with a Grey Cup bid at stake. It’s just a matter of where that West Final will be played.
But for now, they will move on, looking to get their mojo back after being humbled.
#2: Winnipeg Blue Bombers (6-2)
- Last Week’s Ranking: 3
- Last game: 50-14 home victory over British Columbia
- Next game: At Edmonton, Thursday, August 10
The added motivation attached to a 30-6 loss at home to the Lions in June, coupled with two weeks of preparation, led to one of the Bombers’ best performances in quite some time. Winnipeg’s energy level was unbeatable. They dropped 50 points on a very good defensive team.
With Kenny Lawler at full strength, along with Dalton Schoen and an extremely underrated Nic Demski. There may not be a more lethal passing attack in the CFL. Especially considering who the quarterback is
The Bombers are emphatically back in the championship picture. But they never left to begin with.
#1: Toronto Argonauts (6-1)
- Last Week’s Ranking: 1
- Last game: 20-7 road loss to Calgary
- Next game: Home versus Ottawa, Sunday, August 13
Recency bias suggests that I knock the previously unbeaten Boatmen down to three in the rankings. It’s something that Argos head coach Ryan Dinwiddie publicly stated and wished for after Friday night’s loss to Calgary. Citing concern over his players reading their press clippings.
But as someone who foresaw the Argonauts’ first loss in my weekly preview. One misstep on the west coast is not enough to deflate Double Blue’s top standing. Even if, there were disheartening elements to that defeat.
The last time, this Toronto team lost a meaningful game before week nine was in Calgary last October. A 29-2 loss to the Stamps. Before Friday, the Argos were on a 15-2 run in their last 17 games including the playoffs.
Calgary has Toronto’s number, because of the familiarity they have with the Argos staff. The Boatmen looked like a team in Week 9, that was playing on short rest, in a late night game on the west coast. The press clippings of their invincibility surely didn’t help matters.
More troubling than Toronto’s hiccup in their fourth straight game away from home was the two key injuries the team endured on Friday night. Defensive superstar Adarius Pickett and MOP candidate QB Chad Kelly both escaped serious injury on Friday night, but their importance can’t be underestimated. Particuarly the latter, Toronto’s options behind Kelly at quarterback are less than ideal.
With a bye week upcoming, it’s possible that Toronto errs on the side of caution and sits Kelly at BMO Field due to his ankle injury. Cameron Dukes, who struggled on Friday or Bryan Scott have their work cut out for them against a feisty Redblacks team.
The Boatmen have shown some blemishes in the last few weeks. Week 9 could’ve been precisely the wake up call they needed.
It took Toronto seven weeks to lose a game. But without Chad Kelly, a back to back loss for Double Blue is a strong possibility.
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