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CFL Week 16 Power Rankings: Ti-Cats Top The Bombers, Argos Rally To Win, Elks Continue Resurgence, Lions Steal One Late

Week 15 of the CFL 2023 Regular Season is in the books. With six weeks left, the defending champs from the 6ix have locked everything up. While the Western crown and the final playoff seeds still remain up for grabs.

Here is what the CFL regular season standings look like after 15 weeks of play.

CFL 2023 Regular Season Standings

WEST DIVISION

RKTEAMGPWLTPTSFAHOMEAWAYDIV
Winnipeg Blue Bombers– x14104 0204482926-1-04-3-07-2-0
BC Lions13940183502795-1-04-3-06-2-0
Saskatchewan Roughriders13670122753894-3-02-4-05-5-0
Calgary Stampeders1349083063502-4-02-5-02-6-0
Edmonton Elks14410082803652-5-02-5-02-7-0

EAST DIVISION

RKTEAMGPWLTPTSFAHOMEAWAYDIV
Toronto Argonauts – y12111 0224102646-0-05-1-07-0-0
Montreal Alouettes13670122963223-4-03-2-04-3-0
Hamilton Tiger-Cats13670122843492-5-04-2-03-5-0
Ottawa REDBLACKS13310063123512-4-01-6-00-6-0

y – Clinched Division
x – Clinched Playoff Berth

Here’s how I stack up all nine CFL teams from the bottom to the top, heading into Week 16.

CFL 2023 Week 16 Power Rankings

#9: Ottawa REDBLACKS (3-10 )

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 9
  • Last Game: 41-37 Road Loss To British Columbia
  • Next game: Home vs. Saskatchewan, Friday, September 22nd

Just when you think the Redblacks season can’t get any worse. It does. Ottawa dropped its seventh straight game on Saturday night. And they did it in excruciating fashion, snatching defeat mercilessly from the jaws of victory.

Up 37-18 going into the fourth quarter, Ottawa was outscored 23 zip in the final frame by the Lions, including squandering a ten-point lead with under two minutes remaining. Bob Dyce’s vaunted special teams surrendered a Terry Williams missed field goal return for a touchdown, then watched as B.C.’s offence drove downfield to score a go-ahead major with 16 seconds left.

In a lost season, that showed some promise early on. Saturday night should’ve been a saving grace. Instead, it was just another miserable result for the CFL’s worst team.

#8: Calgary Stampeders (4-9)

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 7
  • Last Game: 25-23 road loss to Edmonton
  • Next game: Home versus Montreal, Saturday, September 23

For the first time in a long time, entering the final stretch of a season. The Calgary Stampeders, who have made the playoffs for 17 straight seasons, are on the far outside looking in.

The Stamps stumbled into the bye week, collapsing late against Edmonton at home, and then had to watch a team they are chasing for a playoff spot in Hamilton rise up and take down Winnipeg.

Essentially, for Calgary to have any semblance of extending their postseason streak. They need to find a way to run the table in their final five games.

They have pivotal games with playoff ramifications on their schedule against Montreal, Hamilton, and Saskatchewan. The Stamps can’t afford to lose any of those three contests. Each game from this point, starting with the Alouettes on Saturday, is do or die.

#7: Edmonton Elks (4-10)

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 8
  • Last game: 36-27 Road Victory Over Saskatchewan
  • Next game: Home vs. B.C., Friday, September 22

There’s a temptation to vault the Elks up these rankings over other slumping teams with better records in the league. After all, Edmonton has truly risen up from the very bottom to not only make their way toward respectability but also to enter the playoff discussion.

As bad as 4-10 looks on paper, the Elks are in the midst of a complete franchise turnaround. Thanks largely in part to Tre Ford. They have become one of the league’s most exciting teams to watch.

Edmonton is now 4-1 with Ford at the wheel. The Elks are averaging nearly 200 yards per game on the ground with him as their starter and have scored nearly 30 points per contest.

The odds are against Edmonton sneaking into the playoffs through the back door. But it’s not out of the realm of possibility, even though the seemingly improbable pipedream took a hit when Hamilton beat the Blue Bombers in Week 15.

The Elks have four games remaining. They play the Lions, Argos, Alouettes, and Bombers over a five-week span.

To accomplish the unthinkable, they will likely have to win out or get a lot of help. With Tre Ford at quarterback, no matter how challenging that task may be, Edmonton has a shot—something the franchise hasn’t had in ages.

#6: Saskatchewan Roughriders (6-7)

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 4
  • Last game: 36-27 Home Loss To Edmonton
  • Next game: At Ottawa, Friday, September 22

What a difference two weeks make. After stunning Winnipeg on Labour Day. The Riders have stumbled mightily. Firstly, getting blitzed in the LDC rematch with the Bombers 51-6, and then losing at home to Edmonton.

The Roughriders haven’t recovered from their morale-killing follow-up to Labour Day. Their defence, which was heralded by some as elite two weeks ago, has failed to show up, allowing 87 points in their last two outings.

Quarterback Jake Dolegala has played well as option C for Saskatchewan. But unless the Riders find some answers defensively, Saskatchewan might see themselves fall right out of the postseason picture.

#5: Montreal Alouettes (6-7)

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 5
  • Last game: 23-20 Home Loss To Toronto
  • Next game: At Calgary, Saturday, September 23

Montreal had the Argonauts right where they wanted them on Friday night. The Alouettes were poised to beat a banged-up Toronto team late on multiple occasions. But instead of extending their lead to two scores in the fourth quarter, properly managing the clock, or rallying to force overtime. The Als fell apart against the CFL’s best team in pivotal moments.

Once again, the Als attempt to stand up against the league’s elite was rejected. Fittingly, Montreal fell on Friday after David Cote’s game-tying field attempt was blocked at the line of scrimmage.

Montreal is now 0-7 this season against Toronto ( 3 losses), B.C. (2), and Winnipeg (2).

They are undefeated against everyone else. However, for the Alouettes to make the playoffs, they must shake off their current four-game skid and stand up to the rest of the league, as they did earlier this season.

Because what once appeared as a safe landing spot in the postseason now sees the Alouettes on shaky ground.

#4: Hamilton Tiger-Cats (6-7)

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 6
  • Last game: 29-23 Home Victory Over Winnipeg
  • Next game: At Toronto, Saturday, September 23

Four weeks ago, the Ti-Cats were 3-6, and their playoff prospects didn’t look very promising. Especially with three of their next four games against the B.C. Lions, Toronto Argonauts, and Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Hamilton went 3-1 during that daunting stretch, including a blowout victory in Vancouver and an impressive takedown of Winnipeg at home. As a result, The Tiger-Cats are now not only in a prime spot in the playoff chase, but they might be staring at the possibility of playing a home game in the postseason.

The dream of getting another crack at playing the Grey Cup again in the Hammer is very much alive.

#3: B.C. Lions (9-4)

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 3
  • Last game: 41-37 home victory over Ottawa
  • Next game: At Edmonton, Friday, September 22

British Columbia almost blew a grand opportunity to take a significant step toward winning the West. The Lions watched as Winnipeg faltered in Hamilton on Saturday afternoon. But even with a home game against the lowly Redblacks, B.C. was outplayed for three quarters and looked to be on their way to another disappointing loss in their building.

However, the Lions put together their best fourth-quarter performance of the season. Against all odds, rallying late to steal a victory away from a downtrodden Redblacks squad.

The BC Lions have a chance to pull into a first-place tie with the Blue Bombers next Friday as they head to Edmonton to square off with the surging Elks. The goal is to get to Week 18 with a shot to overtake Winnipeg’s western throne. The Leos are one step closer to accomplishing that. Thanks to some improbable theatrics in Week 15.

#2: Winnipeg Blue Bombers (10-4)

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 2
  • Last game: 29-23 Road Loss To Hamilton
  • Next game: Week 17, Home vs. Toronto, Friday, September 29

Winnipeg dropped their fourth game of the season, third on the road against a team with a losing record. This time, falling to Taylor Powell and the Tiger-Cats in Hamilton.

The Bombers’ week 15 loss keeps the race for the Western Division crown up for grabs. With the Lions looming right behind them.

Winnipeg’s defence has shown vulnerability this season, particularly away from home. It’s something that continues to show up in close games and could ultimately lead to the Bombers not winning the Grey Cup.

Mike O’Shea’s squad has a bye week before engaging in a Grey Cup rematch with Toronto. Although, that game may have more importance for Winnipeg than it does for the defending CFL champions.

#1: Toronto Argonauts (11-1)

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 1
  • Last game: 23-20 road victory over Montreal
  • Next game: Home vs. Hamilton, Saturday, September 23

The 2023 Toronto Argonauts have improved to 11-1 for the first time ever in franchise history, clinching first place in the East Division and an Eastern Final home game with a thrilling 23-20 win over the Montreal Alouettes on Friday night.

Toronto faced a stiff challenge on Friday night. A banged-up Boatmen squad was attempting to win a back-to-back game on the road in a short week. But the Double Blue passed the test with flying colors.

Ryan Dinwiddie’s squad found a way after having their backs against the wall on multiple occasions late in the game. It was a character-building victory for the Argos.

In what was a signature victory, every aspect of the Argonauts team came through in the clutch. Gutsy coaching and game-saving plays by the offence, defence, and ultimately the special teams led to Toronto clinching the right to host the East Final at home.

Now, there’s the matter of what Toronto will do in their final six weeks of play in the 2023 regular season. The Boatmen have a boatload of starters on their injured list. They just added Kurleigh Gittens Jr., and Robertson Daniel to that group.

Don’t be surprised if the Argos take the safe route with all their key players down the stretch. They might lose some games as a result. But up until this point, the defending CFL champions emphatically proved that they are the league’s best team and deserve to be at the top of the mountain.

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Mike Mitchell Reporter
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