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CFL Week 12 Power Rankings: Elks Finally Win, Montreal Stuns Ottawa, Riders Survive Late Lions Surge

11 weeks of the CFL 2023 regular season are complete. Week 11’s action saw four teams in full desperation mode, trying to get back into the playoff picture.

As the CFL season reaches its midway point, the top tier of the league remains intact. The rest of the field is wide open. Here is what the league’s standings look like after eleven weeks of play.

CFL 2023 Week 12 Regular Season Standings

WEST DIVISION

RKTEAMGPWLTPTSFAHOMEAWAYDIV
Winnipeg Blue Bombers10820162972084-1-04-1-06-1-0
BC Lions10730142621874-0-03-3-06-2-0
Saskatchewan Roughriders10550102102723-2-02-3-04-3-0
Calgary Stampeders1037062172551-4-02-3-01-5-0
Edmonton Elks1019021582600-5-01-4-00-6-0

EAST DIVISION

RKTEAMGPWLTPTSFAHOMEAWAYDIV
Toronto Argonauts8710142681754-0-03-1-04-0-0
Montreal Tiger-Cats9630122241793-2-03-1-04-1-0
Hamilton Tiger-Cats936061702481-4-02-2-02-4-0
Ottawa REDBLACKS1037062312532-3-01-4-00-5-0

Here’s how I stack up all nine CFL teams from the bottom to the top, heading into Week 12.

#9: Edmonton Elks (1-9)

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 9
  • Last game: 24-10 Road Victory Over Hamilton
  • Next game: Home versus Ottawa, Sunday, August 27th

The saying goes when it rains, it pours. Well, on a rainy night in Hamilton, the pouring finally stopped for Edmonton. The Elks got their first win of the 2023 CFL season, snapping a 13-game losing streak dating back to last September.

The absurdly overdue inclusion of quarterback Tre Ford into Edmonton’s lineup has energized the Elks season and given the downtrodden franchise hope for the future. The future is now for the Canadian U-Sports superstar.

Edmonton has a chance to snap another ill-fated streak next Sunday, a record-breaking 22-game home slide when they host Ottawa. And who knows, if they can get over that hurdle, maybe they can sneak back into a wide-open parity-laced playoff race.

#8: Hamilton Tiger-Cats (3-6)

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 7
  • Last game: 24-10 home loss to Edmonton
  • Next game: At British Columbia, Saturday, August 26

Oh, how the perceived and projected mighty have fallen. So much for going back to the drawing board during the bye week and getting right against a winless Edmonton team at home. Orlondo Steinauer’s Tiger-Cats team has sunk to their lowest low during his regime.

And the reality is that Hamilton, because of an ultra-challenging upcoming schedule, may fall even further. The Ti-Cats see the Leos in Vancouver next weekend, then have upcoming games against the Argonauts twice, Winnipeg, and B.C. again.

Here’s how jumbled the CFL has been this year if the season ended today. The Tiger-Cats would be the final playoff team at 3-6.

Nevertheless, for a disappointing Hamilton team to claw their way back into the mix, they are going to need to pull a Ti-Cat out of their hats. Unless a turnaround takes place, this could be the end of the road for the Steinauer regime.

# 7: Ottawa REDBLACKS (3-7)

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 5
  • Last Game: 25-24 Home Loss To Montreal
  • Next game: At Edmonton, Sunday, August 27th

One step forward, three steps back. That’s been the story of Ottawa’s season.

Every time the Redblacks appear to be turning the corner, they falter in grand fashion. Saturday night at home against Montreal was no exception.

Sporting a 24-10 lead late against the Alouettes. The Redblacks squandered their most important game of the season, collapsing in the final moments against Montreal and former Ottawa QB Caleb Evans.

Ottawa now falls dangerously to 3-7 and, more importantly, 0-5 within The East.

Poor coaching/game management, and horrendous execution by players, like Richie Leone’s illegal punt late, led to yet another excruciating loss for Ottawa. Bob Dyce has had a rough few weeks in the big chair. It could get rougher.

#6: Calgary Stampeders (3-7)

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 8
  • Last Game: 19-18 home loss to Winnipeg
  • Next game: At Toronto, Friday, August 25th

On Friday night, the Stamps honoured their 1998 Grey Cup Championship team at home. Unfortunately, unlike that legendary Calgary squad, the present-day Stampeders can’t find ways to win games they should.

In Week 11, the Stamps should’ve beaten the Bombers. But mental mistakes in all three phases proved costly in a one-point defeat at home. It’s the type of game that Calgary has won in the past under Dave Dickenson.

Because of the parity that exists from the middle of the CFL pack to the bottom, the Stampeders still have time to gallop back into the race. They face a team on Friday that they beat three weeks ago in Toronto. But right now, a lack of overall consistency from week to week, and game to game, creates doubt that they can beat the Argos again, especially on the road.

#5: Saskatchewan Roughriders (5-5)

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 5
  • Last game: 34-29 Home Victory Over B.C.
  • Next game: Week 13, Home vs. Winnipeg, Sunday, September 3rd

For three quarters, the Roughriders were on a redemption arc, erasing a miserable effort last week in Montreal, as they took a 31-13 lead into the fourth quarter against the B.C. Lions. Thanks to a breakout performance by quarterback Jake Dolegala, some amazing plays from their receiving corps, and an opportunistic defence.

However, a disastrous collapse in Riderville nearly took place, as the Lions scored 16 unanswered points to cut the Riders’ lead to two points in the closing minutes. Ultimately, Saskatchewan survived the Leos late surge in what would’ve been a soul-crushing loss at home.

Up until Week 10, the Riders have been a competitive bunch all season long. Sunday night’s victory, minus the late scare, is the best win of the season thus far for Craig Dickenson’s squad. They desperately needed to win.

At 5-5, the Roughriders are in a prime position with eight games left to make the playoffs in the CFL. They will have a week to regroup before playing Winnipeg at home.

#4: Montreal Alouettes (6-3)

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 4
  • Last game: 25-24 Road Victory Over Ottawa
  • Next game: At Winnipeg, Thursday, August 24th

The Alouettes won their fourth straight game in thrilling fashion, rallying down two scores late in the fourth quarter to break the hearts of division rival Ottawa.

For large stretches on Saturday night, it appeared as if the Alouettes were going to crash back down to earth after building strong momentum the last few weeks. Thanks to some favorable late calls and a spirited effort by Caleb Evans. Montreal found a way to win yet another game.

Because of the degree of difficulty involved, Week 11’s triumph over Ottawa has to be considered Montreal’s shining moment of the season to this point. The Als have separated themselves from the pack and are in a position to challenge the league’s elite in the next few weeks. Starting with Winnipeg in Week 12.

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

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 3
  • Last game: 34-29 road loss to Saskatchewan
  • Next game: Home vs. Hamilton, Saturday, August 26th

To their credit, the Lions clawed their way back out of a 31-13 hole on the road and nearly beat Saskatchewan late. But the fact that B.C. put itself into that predicament is disappointing. Quite frankly, the Lions have not been the same team away from home this season, particuarly on the defensive side of the ball. All three of their losses have come on the road. And in those defeats, the Leos have surrendered 45, 50, and now 34 points to Saskatchewan.

The good news is that B.C. has five of their final eight regular season games at home, starting with a tilt against slumping Hamilton in their building this coming Saturday. British Columbia would love to keep their postseason contests at BC Place. To do that, they will need to catch and then surpass the Bombers in the standings.

#2: Winnipeg Blue Bombers (8-2)

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 2
  • Last game: 19-18 road victory over Calgary
  • Next game: Home versus Montreal, Thursday, August 24th

Winnipeg’s Week 11 opponent, Calgary, is still lamenting about how they found another way to lose another football game. To no one’s surprise, it came at the hands of a Mike O’Shea team that found yet another way to win even if they were outplayed in many respects by a game Stamps team.

The Blue Bombers don’t always have to be at their best to get their hands raised in victory. A week ago, Winnipeg rallied from 22 down on the road without their superstar QB to win. Against Calgary, the game of inches ended in the Bombers’ favor. They found a narrow opening, took advantage of it, and won by the slimmest of margins.

In a long season, championship-bred teams win games the way Mike O’Shea’s squad has the last two weeks.

#1: Toronto Argonauts (7-1)

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

The idle Argos finished up their final bye week of the regular season. The next one will have to be earned by winning the East. No small task considering that a red-hot Montreal team is gaining steam behind Double Blue.

In the meantime, Toronto is embarking upon a journey where they will be playing ten straight weeks of football.

Ryan Dinwiddie’s Argonauts are 16-4 in their last 20 games. One of those losses came against Montreal in the final week of the 2022 season, where both teams rested their starters and key backups before the playoffs. The other three losses for Toronto have all come against the Calgary Stampeders. The Argos Week 12 opponent.

The Stamps coaching staff has had the Argonauts number in their last three head-to-head meetings. However, The bye week should, in theory, benefit the Boatmen, especially since they will be at BMO Field. But games for Toronto against Calgary have been anything but a given.

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Mike Mitchell Reporter
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