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CFL Week 11 Power Rankings: Bombers Stage Furious Rally, BC Has Banner Day, Chad Kelly’s Argos Stay #1

Ten weeks of the CFL regular season are in the books. In Week 10, The B.C. Lions‘ had a banner day back at home in more ways than one. The Bombers staged an improbable rally without superstar QB Zach Collaros and the Toronto Argonauts bounced back at home, thanks to a terrific performance by Chad Kelly.

As the CFL draws closer to its midway point, the top tier of the league remains the same, but a new threat has emerged in Montreal, which continues to build momentum. The rest of the field is wide open, with four teams in Calgary, Saskatchewan, Ottawa, and Hamilton, all having rollercoaster seasons. The reality is that, for better or worse, two of those currently sub-500 teams will be headed to the playoffs at season’s end.

CFL 2023 Week 11 Regular Season Standings

WEST DIVISION

RKTEAMGPWLTPTSFAHOMEAWAYDIV
Winnipeg Blue Bombers9720142781904-1-03-1-05-1-0
BC Lions9720142331534-0-03-2-06-1-0
Saskatchewan Roughriders945081762432-2-02-3-03-3-0
Calgary Stampeders936061992361-3-02-3-01-4-0
Edmonton Elks909001342500-5-00-4-00-6-0

EAST DIVISION

RKTEAMGPWLTPTSFAHOMEAWAYDIV
Toronto Argonauts8710142681754-0-03-1-04-0-0
Montreal Alouettes8530101991553-2-02-1-03-1-0
Hamilton Tiger-Cats835061602241-3-02-2-02-4-0
Ottawa REDBLACKS936062072282-2-01-4-00-4-0

Here’s how I stack up all nine CFL teams from the bottom to the top, heading into Week 11.

CFL Week 11 Power Rankings

#9: Edmonton Elks (0-9)

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 9
  • Last game: 38-29 Home Loss To Winnipeg
  • Next game: At Hamilton, Thursday, August 17th

Everything appeared to finally be going Edmonton’s way, coming off their bye week. It looked as if maybe, the mojo would change for the downtrodden franchise, which was hoping to halt a historic losing streak at home.

The team’s Indigenous logo debuted to rave reviews. New offensive coordinator Jarius Jackson catered a run-first attack to suit the style of Tre Ford. It resulted in the team rushing for 140 yards in the opening quarter against Winnipeg. The Elks stormed out to a 22-0 lead over the Bombers. And to top it all off, the Bombers lost MOP quarterback Zach Collaros in the process.

However, it wasn’t meant to be. A long overdue feel-good night for Edmonton turned into yet another nightmarish ending as the team blew a 22-0 lead, losing their 22nd straight game at home.

On the positive side of things, the Elks showed some life with the raw but ultra-talented Tre Ford in their lineup. He gives Edmonton’s faithful hope and something to look toward to for the rest of the season. But a win or two, especially at home before 2023 closes out, would be nice.

#8: Calgary Stampeders (3-6)

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 6
  • Last Game: 37-9 road loss to B.C.
  • Next game: Home vs. Winnipeg, Friday, August 18
The Stampeders followed up their best game of 2023 against Toronto in Week 9 with their worst performance of the season in B.C.

Calgary drew the short end of the stick in Week 10, having to face an ornery Lions team in Vancouver coming off a trashing the week prior with Vernon Adams returning to their lineup.

The Stamps were outmatched and in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It won’t get any easier for Calgary even though they are heading back home because they will be facing the Blue Bombers. The parity in the middle of the CFL’s pack gives the Stamps a chance to get back in the race. But they are going to need to start showing more consistency from week to week. An ongoing issue for them all season.

#7: Hamilton Tiger-Cats (3-5)

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 7
  • Last game: 27-14 home loss to Montreal
  • Next game: Home vs. Edmonton, Thursday, August 17

The Ti-Cats have had a week to go back to the drawing board after a tough loss to Montreal in Week 9. Coming off their second bye of the season, Hamilton has a tough, non-stop nine-week stretch of games upcoming. They will play B.C. and Toronto twice during the next two months. As well as a date with the Blue Bombers. That’s why it’s imperative that the Ti-Cats come off the bye strong against Edmonton on Thursday.

#6: Saskatchewan Roughriders (4-5)

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 5
  • Last game: 41-12 Road Loss To Montreal
  • Next game: Home vs. British Columbia, Sunday, August 20

More rough luck for the Roughriders at quarterback as Saskatchewan is down to Option C now, with Mason Fine going down to injury in Montreal. He’s expected to miss two to three weeks with a hamstring pull. The team turns to Jake Dolegala and has traded for veteran Antonio Pipkin to provide insurance.

Saskatchewan, who has been competitive all season long, didn’t show up against the Alouettes in Week 10. It was an awful performance all around by Craig Dickenson and his squad. It was arguably the worst outing by a CFL team this season.

For what it’s worth if the CFL season ended today, the Riders would be in the playoffs at 4-5. The thin line of separation between the CFL’s middle-of-the-pack and bottom-tier teams will keep Saskatchewan in the race. But they are going to need to be better than they were in Montreal. You can’t be much worse.

# 5: Ottawa REDBLACKS (3-6)

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 8
  • Last Game: 44-31 Road Loss To Toronto
  • Next game: Home vs. Montreal, Saturday, August 19th

It seems ludicrous to put a 3-6 team as the fifth team in the power rankings. But the scrappy Redblacks gave Toronto all they could handle in Week 10. The 44-31 final score is a tad misleading. Ottawa came to play, as evidenced by them storming out to a 10-0 lead against the Argonauts. Ultimately they couldn’t overcome a lights-out performance by Chad Kelly.

The raw but talented Dustin Crum had one of his best overall games in the CFL on Sunday night. It’s hard to fathom that he was option D at quarterback for Ottawa when the season started.

Moral victories, however, are not going to get it done for the Redblacks. They have to start winning divisional games if they want to stay in the race. It starts with Montreal at home on Saturday. It sounds like hyperbole, but it’s a must-win scenario for Ottawa; they can’t afford to fall to 3-7 and, more importantly, 0-5 within the East division.

#4: Montreal Alouettes (5-3)

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 4
  • Last game: 41-12 Home victory over Saskatchewan
  • Next game: At Ottawa, Saturday, August 19th
No Cody Fajardo, No William Stanback. No problem for Montreal, as they continue to build momentum, winning their third straight game in dominant fashion 41-12 over Saskatchewan. The road-weary Riders didn’t know what hit them.

Jason Maas’s team is clicking on all cylinders right now. The Als are playing great complimentary football. Montreal, whose only three losses this season have come against Toronto, B.C., and Winnipeg, have separated themselves from the middle of the pack.

The Alouettes have a pivotal game upcoming at Ottawa. Before they embark upon rematches with the CFL’s elite. Montreal has a four-week stretch of games after playing Ottawa, where they will play Winnipeg, B.C., and Toronto twice. But first, the Alouettes need to keep flying high against the Redblacks.

#3: B.C. Lions (7-2)

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 3
  • Last game: 37-9 home victory over Calgary
  • Next game: At Saskatchewan, Sunday, August 20th

Somehow, the B.C. Lions 37-9 trashing of Calgary at home took a backseat once the smoke cleared. The Leos’ predictably took out their frustration on the Stamps after getting blitzed 50-14 by the Bombers the week prior.

The returning Vernon Adams gave B.C. the boost they needed at home on Saturday.

On a day when an all-time Lions’ and CFL legend Wally Buono was honored by being inducted into BC’s Wall Of Fame. It was a recent great Leos figure who also shined greatly south of the border in the NFL.

In a rare sight and feat, while the Lions were crushing the Stampeders at home, Nathan Rourke was crushing his NFL audition for the Jacksonville Jaguars at the same time. Rourke’s B.C. teammates got to watch him transfer his Canadian magic on an NFL stage.

With Vernon Adams back leading the Pride and the Lions’ defence back to its old ways after stumbling a week ago. There’s no doubt that B.C. has the potential to celebrate a Grey Cup championship in 2023. In Week 10, the Lions of the past and present were in a celebratory mode together.

#2: Winnipeg Blue Bombers (7-2)

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 2
  • Last game: 38-29 road victory over Edmonton
  • Next game: At Calgary, Friday, August 18th

On a short week, down 22-0 on the road, with your superstar quarterback knocked out of it said game.

Typically, that’s a death knell for any football team. But there’s a reason why Mike O’Shea’s Blue Bombers are made of championship material.

They showed that and then some in week 10, rallying from way behind in Edmonton to blast past the Elks. And they did it with a highly touted backup quarterback in Dru Brown, proving his worth.

The Blue Bombers have shown some vulnerability at certain points this season. But at the end of the day, after nine games, they are unsurprisingly 7-2.

On paper, a nine-point victory over a winless team doesn’t seem like much to crow about. But it’s how Winnipeg won that proves how great they are and can still be.

#1: Toronto Argonauts (7-1)

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 1
  • Last game: 44-31 home victory over Ottawa
  • Next game: Week 12, Home vs. Calgary, Friday, August 25th

A week ago, recency bias led many experts, league-dedicated sites, and the CFL’s own website to knock the Argos down a peg or two after a single loss. Many failed to take into account that it took Toronto losing their superstar quarterback for them to suffer their first loss of the season.

In Week 10, the importance and value of Chad Kelly can’t be denied. The second-year CFL player, and first-year CFL starter, despite not being a hundred percent due to an ankle injury, put on a show Sunday night at BMO Field in front of 12,796 fans. Quite frankly, without Kelly standing tall, the Argos may have fallen short against Ottawa.

The defending Grey Cup Champions were far from perfect in their first home game in 41 days. They fell behind 10-0 early on. Toronto’s defence did a lot of bleeding at the hands of a standout performance by Redblacks quarterback Dustin Crum. The team had multiple untimely penalties, botched special teams plays, and a failed goal line score.

Even Chad Kelly wasn’t perfect. After all, he did throw a pick-six. But outside of that blemish, the former SMU star was on top of his game, striking Ottawa’s defence from every angle with precision passes.

It wasn’t all Kelly; his receivers stepped up greatly after some lackluster performances in recent weeks. DaVaris Daniels, in particular, had his best game in Double Blue with six receptions, 180 yards, and three touchdowns.

However, although Kelly heaped praise on his teammates after the game, there’s no doubt that we have seen a glimpse of the movie without Chad Kelly in the Argos picture in Calgary. And it wasn’t pretty. But with him as the featured attraction from start to finish, The world champion Argos can be best in show.

The Boatmen have their final bye week of the season in Week 11. They can get another one if they win the East division. But when they return in Week 12, Toronto will be tested greatly. The Argonauts will play ten straight weeks of games. Starting with the team that beat the Boatmen for their lone loss this year.

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Mike Mitchell Reporter
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