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CFL Week 17 Power Rankings: Toronto Continues Historic Season, BC Locks Up Playoff Berth, Saskatchewan’s Slide Continues

Sixteen weeks of the CFL 2023 regular season has been completed. Only five weeks remain before the playoffs commence. Three postseason spots have been claimed, but the rest of the field remains unresolved.

Here are the CFL regular season standings heading into Week 17.

CFL 2023 Regular Season Standings


Winnipeg – x141040204482926-1-04-3-07-2-0
BC – x141040203873085-1-05-3-07-2-0


Toronto – y131210244392787-0-05-1-08-0-0

y – Clinched Division
x – Clinched Playoff Berth
c – Clinched Crossover

Here’s how I rank the CFL heading into Week 17 from the bottom to the top.

CFL 2023: Week 17 Power Rankings

#9: Ottawa REDBLACKS (4-10 )

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 9
  • Last Game: 36-28 Home Victory over Saskatchewan
  • Next game: Home vs. Montreal, Saturday, September 30

One win doesn’t save their dismal season or bring the Redblacks out of the cellar. But for the first time in a long time. Ottawa finally put together a complete effort in securing a 36-28 victory at home over the Roughriders. And in doing so, Bob Dyce’s squad snapped a seven-game losing skid.

Even in their three previous victories this season. A couple of which came in thrilling come-from-behind fashion. The Redblacks had failed to put together a well-rounded four-quarter showing. That’s exactly what Ottawa finally accomplished this past Friday.

Saskatchewan turned out to be the right opponent for Ottawa in Week 16. A team that is on the same perpetual downslide that the Redblacks just escaped from. At least momentarily.

Because of the uncertainty with the last couple of playoff spots available. Ottawa’s still mathematically alive for the postseason. But they have no room for error. Nevertheless, For one week at least, the Redblacks’ comedy of errors stopped.

#8: Calgary Stampeders (4-10)

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 8
  • Last Game: 28-11 home loss to Montreal
  • Next game: At Hamilton, Saturday, September 30

The Stampeders have galloped into the playoffs 17 seasons in a row. Barring some late-season absurdity. Calgary’s impressive streak of success and consistency will be snapped.

Dave Dickenson’s 2023 team is just simply not good enough. Against Montreal, at home in Week 16, with their season on the brink, the Stamps came up very small in a big spot. Calgary squandered opportunities to surge ahead on multiple occasions. Mistakes like Jake Maeir’s third-quarter interception in the end zone symbolized their failings this season.

Ultimately, The Alouettes outlasted and outclassed them. The latter isn’t something that’s happened on a regular basis to Calgary in a long, long time.

#7: Saskatchewan Roughriders (6-8)

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 6
  • Last game: 36-28 Road Loss To Ottawa
  • Next game: At BC, Friday, September 29

Saskatchewan’s late-season slide continues. The Riders went from having arguably the best two-week stretch of any team in the CFL to being the worst team in the league the last few weeks.

After two galvanizing victories over Winnipeg and British Columbia, the Riders have hit rough times, dropping three straight games, and are now perilously falling out of what seemed like a guaranteed playoff berth in August.

The Roughriders haven’t recovered from their morale-killing follow-up to Labour Day. Their defence, which was heralded by some as elite weeks ago, has failed to show up in their last three outings. Unless that gets turned around swiftly, Saskatchewan is going to miss the postseason again this year. No matter how much parity there is at the bottom of the CFL, you can’t lose your way into the playoffs.

#6: Edmonton Elks (4-11)

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 7
  • Last game: 37-29 Home Loss To British Columbia
  • Next game: After Bye, Week 18 At Toronto, Friday, October 6

Even though Edmonton faltered at home 37-29 to the Lions, it’s challenging to get too down on them after all the progress they’ve shown in recent weeks.

The final score is a bit misleading; the Elks made a game of things late. However, BC controlled the contest, slowing down standout playmaker Tre Ford and Edmonton’s top-tier rushing attack. Although they may not be ready for primetime yet. The climb back to respectability has arrived already for Edmonton. They have three games left to leave a positive impression on the future.

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

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 4
  • Last game: 29-14 Road Loss To Toronto
  • Next game: Home versus Calgary, Saturday, September 30

Hamilton dropped its sixth consecutive game to archrival Toronto on Saturday night. A 29-14 loss against an Argos team that has swept them during the regular season. The Ti-Cats, despite the loss, are still in good shape to make the postseason. But their hopes of hosting a game at home took a hit with the combination of this loss and Montreal winning.

The Tiger-Cats have played better football of late, beating BC and Winnipeg, but they haven’t been able to match up with the Boatmen.

However, Hamilton could meet up with the Argonauts in Toronto, but it would have to be in the East Final. First things first, they need to take care of business and slam the door shut on Calgary next week, one of the teams that is chasing them for a playoff spot.

#4: Montreal Alouettes (7-7)

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 5
  • Last game: 28-11 Road Victory Over Calgary
  • Next game: At Ottawa, Saturday, September 23

The Alouettes are now 7-0 against everyone not named Toronto, BC, or Winnipeg. On Saturday afternoon, Montreal outmuscled the Stampeders for four quarters, leading to a relatively easy 28-11 victory.

The Als, losers of their last four, desperately needed to win to get back on track and maintain their postseason standing.

The way that the field has broken, Montreal, at seven wins, is very close to cinching up a playoff spot. Beyond BC and Winnipeg, the West has fallen apart. And with back-to-back games against last-place Ottawa upcoming, the odds favor the Alouettes getting back into the playoffs and maybe hosting a playoff game.

#3: B.C. Lions (10-4)

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 3
  • Last game: 37-29 road victory over Edmonton
  • Next game: Home versus Saskatchewan, Friday, September 29

B.C. is headed back to the postseason after the Lions showed up ready to play Friday night in a commanding 37-29 victory against Edmonton. They will need to do that again at home this coming Friday against a slumping Saskatchewan squad. For the Leos to have a chance to claim the West when they meet the Bombers for a third time in Week 18 at BC Place.

The Lions clinching a playoff spot in 2023 was inevitable. And it seems like they are destined to play Winnipeg again in the West Final for a shot at going to Grey Cup 110. When BC is on their game, they can be unstoppable. They are very balanced in all three phases. This is the time of the year for them to seize the moment.

#2: Winnipeg Blue Bombers (10-4)

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

Rebounding from a loss has always been a strength of Winnipeg’s. Coming off a tough road loss to Hamilton. The Bombers don’t need any more added motivation. After all, they are looking to hold off West rival BC to make sure that the road to another Grey Cup goes through Winnipeg.

But in Week 17, they could be looking to exact a measure of revenge against Toronto, who denied a dynasty in last year’s Grey Cup. However, the Bombers may not get the defending champion Argos at their best. Toronto has clinched everything and is in the midst of what amounts to a six-game exhibition stage before they play the East Final in November.

Notwithstanding that, Winnipeg would love to show up Toronto and give them a sample of what could also happen if they meet again with another Grey Cup at stake.

#1: Toronto Argonauts (12-1)

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 1
  • Last game: 29-14 home victory over Hamilton
  • Next game: At Winnipeg, Friday, September 29

I made the mistake of assuming that the Argos would lose to Hamilton in Week 16. Strictly based on what their motivation level would be.

Even with multiple starters out of their lineup, some by design, and nothing of consequence to play for. The Toronto Argonauts put their best foot forward again, sweeping their regular season series with a hungry Hamilton team.

The motivations were very different heading into Saturday night. But so was the talent gap. The Argos have made their opponents look inferior when matched up against them.

The ultra-talented Argonauts continue to play at a high level. The defending CFL champs are the league’s best team from top to bottom. Toronto is loaded with all-star-level players acquired through the draft and American free agency. The overwhelming vast majority of the Argos roster is comprised of that element. It’s hard not to give Toronto’s front office their roses if the uninitiated pause to do their homework.

Next week, the Argonauts have a Grey Cup 109 rematch in store against Winnipeg. It could be a preview of this year’s CFL championship game. You’d figure that Toronto won’t show their hand against Mike O’Shea’s Bombers in case the two teams meet again at the end of the rainbow. But perhaps Ryan Dinwiddie’s squad has other plans. Right now, everything is a winning plan for the reigning CFL champs.

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Mike Mitchell Reporter
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