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CFL Week 4 Power Rankings: Lions Rule The Roost After Roaring Past Bombers

Three weeks of the CFL 2023 regular season are in the books. There’s a new team atop the CFL power rankings after the B.C. Lions‘ sent an emphatic statement in Week 3, dominating the Blue Bombers 30-6 in Winnipeg.

And with one fell swoop, the measuring stick has changed in the West, and perhaps the entire CFL.

Lets’s stack the entire league heading into Week 4 of the CFL regular season.

CFL 2023: Week 4 Power Rankings

#1: B.C. Lions (3-0)

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 3
  • Last game: 30-6 road win over Winnipeg
  • Next game: At Toronto, Monday, July 3rd, 7 pm

As chronicled here last week, despite all the adulation, their offence justifiably gets. The strongest aspect of the 2023 B.C. Lions is Ryan Phillips and his defence.

That was proven out in Week 3, as the Leos’ made the Bombers’ vaunted offensive attack look pedestrian.

B.C.’s defence forced three takeaways and registered seven sacks in Week 3, rendering back-to-back league M.O.P Zach Collaros and Winnipeg major-less at IG Field.

The CFL’s tagline for the 2023 season is “Let ‘Em Know.” If you didn’t know about BC’s defensive prowess before, now you know.

The Lions and Bombers will meet again in the regular season twice. And perhaps a third time in the West Final. But for now, Rick Campbell’s troops have the psychological edge after clearing a significant early season hurdle against the Bombers. The next step for B.C. is a road trip to face the reigning Grey Cup champion Toronto Argonauts in what could be a preview of the CFL championship game.

#2: Toronto Argonauts (2-0)

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 2
  • Last game: 43-25 road victory over Edmonton
  • Next game: Home vs. B.C., Monday. July 3rd

Edmonton challenged Toronto early on in their first road test of the season. But the Grey Cup champs surged past Edmonton in the third quarter to take a 43-17 lead. Thanks to another great outing by Corey Mace’s defence, and a nearly two-hundred effort by the Argos ground game.

The Elks would score two touchdowns late, one on a freakish tip pass, but by then, the game was already at hand.

The Argonauts have one of the most talented and deepest rosters in the CFL. And they proved it again in Week 3, without Kurleigh Gittens Jr., Henoc Muamba, and Markeith Ambles, among other key starters. Toronto keeps on trucking along. That’s a credit to the team’s depth, Ryan Dinwiddie and his staff, and megastar personnel wiz Vince Magri.

With all due respect to Edmonton, the Argonauts are moving up in class next week. The Boatmen head home to BMO Field for a Monday night showdown with the undefeated B.C. Lions, who arguably boast the CFL’s best defence.

#3: Winnipeg Blue Bombers (2-1)

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 1
  • Last game: 30-6 home loss vs. B.C.
  • Next game: On The Road vs. Montreal, Saturday. July 1st

For the first time in a long time, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers were significantly humbled at home. It’s been four years since Mike O’Shea’s team suffered a lopsided defeat at IG Field.

You have to go back to a 33-13 home loss to Hamilton on September 27th, 2019. The Bombers would regroup and exact revenge on the Ti-Cats by beating them that season in the Grey Cup. However, accomplishing that measure in 2023 against the Lions seems a lot more daunting for some reason.

Nevertheless, the Blue Bombers will be looking to get beyond the bitter taste of humble pie in Week 4, when they head to Montreal to square off with a 2-0 Alouettes team. Was Week 3 a temporary hiccup against a super opponent or a harbinger of a potential diminishing from Winnipeg’s shroud of supremacy?

#4: Saskatchewan Roughriders (2-1)

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 5
  • Last game: 29-26 overtime road victory over Calgary
  • Next game: Week 5 Home vs. Edmonton, Thursday. July 6

After a promising effort against Winnipeg in Week 4, where Trevor Harris and the Riders went blow for blow with the Bombers before the bottom fell out in the fourth quarter. Saskatchewan followed that up with a clutch overtime win on the road against Calgary.

A significant early-season victory for the Riders on their way back from an abysmal 2022 season. It’s pretty evident, after three weeks, that Saskatchewan is a much better football team than they were a year ago. Thanks largely to the veteran leadership and steady play of Trevor Harris.

The Roughriders are headed toward a bye week before returning for another divisional clash, this time at home against the Edmonton Elks. Saskatchewan, who has two wins in the West, already has a chance to put themselves in an early advantageous spot within their division.

#5: Montreal Alouettes (2-0)

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 5
  • Last game: 38-12 road victory over Hamilton
  • Next game: Home vs. Winnipeg, Saturday. July 1st (Canada Day)

The Alouettes coming off a bye week, took care of business in Week 3, hammering down a downed Hamilton team in the Hammer. Montreal’s 38-12 conquest of the Ti-Cats was an impressive one.

Jason Maas’s team looked fresh and well-prepared in Week 3.

Thus far, the Als have found balance offensively and defensively in their first two victories over a Nick Arbuckle-led Redblacks and the Matthew Shiltz-led Tiger-Cats. They have taken advantage of two teams who are in a weakened state.

Quarterback Cody Fajardo looks rejuvenated after a down season in 2022. Working with his Riders OC Jason Maas has helped him in the transition. However, when push comes to shove, the emergence of players like WR Austin Mack has Montreal’s hopes look brighter than their preseason prospects appeared.

The Alouettes have a true measuring stick game upcoming against an angry Bombers team in Week 4. It’s a tough spot, despite being at home. But so far, so good for Montreal in 2023.

#6: Calgary Stampeders (1-2)

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 4
  • Last Game: 29-26 home overtime loss versus Saskatchewan
  • Next game: Bye, Week 5 at Winnipeg, Friday, July 7th

The ancient belief is that divisional games count for more than one game. The Stamps’ hard-fought overtime loss to Saskatchewan in Week 3 feels like more than just one defeat. That’s for sure.

Not only did Calgary fall again at home to a division rival. But they lost yet another key contributor, this time the Stamps’ best pass receiver Malik Henry. The All-Star wideout is done for the season with a ruptured ACL. Calgary has already been without All-Star RB Kadeem Carey as well.

The hits keep coming for Calgary. The Stamps, a team that hasn’t missed the playoffs in nearly two decades, is facing an uphill battle to keep themselves in the mix this season. They have a bye next week before returning to face the Bombers in Winnipeg.

#7: Ottawa REDBLACKS (0-2)

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 9
  • Last game: 26-15 home loss to Calgary
  • Next game: Home vs. Edmonton, Friday, June 30

Ottawa’s bye week came at a perfect time for them. They not only had a chance to reset and reassess, but added time off to get quarterback Jeremiah Masoli in the lineup.

For now, Tyrie Adams will get the call on the pivot in Week 4. His play can’t be any worse than Nick Arbuckle’s. Or could it? Ottawa’s new placeholder at QB needs to perform better than Arbuckle did.

#8: Edmonton Elks (0-3)

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 8
  • Last game: 43-31 home loss to Toronto
  • Next game: At Ottawa, Friday, June 30

Edmonton got off to a decent start at home against Toronto. Thanks to a defensive touchdown and some nice returns by CJ Sims, who may have been inspired by the presence of Pinball and Gizmo in the house.

The combination of those things led to The Elks being down only one point at halftime to the Grey Cup Champs.

However, as has been the case for Edmonton the last few seasons, things unraveled greatly for them. Ultimately, the Elks were outclassed by the Argonauts in the second half.

Edmonton has to find an answer at quarterback. Taylor Cornelius has regressed. The Elks gave Jarret Doege a run on Sunday Night, and he showed some grit and made plays. But it might be time for Tre Ford to get his chance to shine finally. Shining is something that Edmonton hasn’t done for a while, especially at home. It’s now 19 straight losses at home and counting.

#9: Hamilton Tiger-Cats (0-3)

  • Last Week’s Ranking: 7
  • Last game: 38-12 home loss to Montreal
  • Next game: Bye, Week 5 Home vs. Ottawa, Saturday. July 8

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are the most disappointing team in the CFL thus far this season. Their lone victory in 2023 is getting a bye next week. And Boy, do they ever need one.

Minus Bo-Levi Mitchell, Matthew Shiltz provided an early spark for Hamilton against Montreal, throwing for 379 yards. Still, five turnovers and undisciplined play defensively were the Ti-Cats’ downfall in their home opener.

You can almost excuse opening the season losing at Winnipeg and Toronto. And even losing to a Montreal team that had two weeks to prepare for them. However, Orlondo Steinauer’s team has barely shown a pulse this season. And when they have, it’s produced boneheaded decisions like that of defensive back Chris Edwards in Week 3’s post-game.

The Ti-Cats have too much talent on paper to be as bad as they’ve been in 2023. If Hamilton doesn’t turn things around. There could be massive changes on the horizon for Hamilton.

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Mike Mitchell Reporter
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