Five weeks of the CFL 2023 Regular Season are in the books. Nearly a quarter of the season has passed with a clear pecking order on top and an unsettled situation at the bottom of the league.
2023 REGULAR SEASON STANDINGS
Let’s break down where all nine CFL teams stack up heading into Week 6.
CFL Week 6 Power Rankings
#1: Toronto Argonauts (3-0)
- Last Week’s Ranking: 1
- Last game: 45-24 home victory over British Columbia
- Next game: At Montreal, Friday, July 14th
The Boatmen were on their second bye of the early CFL season in Week 5. Toronto passed their first litmus test against B.C. in Week 4. However, the defending Grey Cup Champions are going to be tested heavily during the dog days of summer.
The Argonauts are embarking upon a four-week stretch where they won’t be at home until Week 10 on August 13th.
Toronto is headed to Montreal first, followed by a game at Hamilton, a neutral site Touchdown Atlantic rematch with Saskatchewan, and then a road tilt with Calgary.
Therefore, retaining its current status as the CFL’s top team will not come easy for Toronto. No matter how great they have looked so far in the 150th year of their existence.
#2: B.C. Lions (4-1)
- Last Week’s Ranking: 2
- Last game: 35-19 Home victory over Montreal
- Next game: Week 7, Home vs. Saskatchewan, Saturday, July 22
The B.C. Lions bounced back from their first loss of the season against Toronto with a convincing victory over Montreal at home.
The Leos got some breaks, made a few of their own, and were able to put together a complete game to ward off any challenge by Montreal.
It wasn’t pretty or conventional at times, but it’s what the Lions needed after last week’s slice of humble pie served by the Argonauts.
B.C. will be on a bye in Week 6 before returning back home for a game with the Riders.
#3: Winnipeg Blue Bombers (4-1)
- Last Week’s Ranking: 3
- Last game: 24-11 home victory over Calgary.
- Next game: At Ottawa, Saturday, July 15
After a humbling 30-6 loss to the Lions at home three weeks ago. The Blue Bombers have predictably rattled off two straight convincing victories. It hasn’t been perfect, but in typical Winnipeg fashion, Mike O’Shea’s squad has found a way to outlast their opponents.
The latest victory was a 24-11 conquest of Calgary, where the Bombers broke a tie-game at the half, shutting out the Stamps in the final two quarters.
Winnipeg’s defence has answered the call the last two weeks. They have allowed only 14 points and one touchdown in their last eight quarters of play.
Winnipeg’s offence hasn’t been spectacular during the current two-game win streak, but have come through with clutch plays down the stretch. It’s been the Blue Bombers’ special teams and defence that have course-corrected their season.
The CFL’s most predictable and reliable team stays on script.
#4: Saskatchewan Roughriders (3-1)
- Last Week’s Ranking: 4
- Last game: 12-11 home victory over Edmonton
- Next game: Home vs. Calgary, Saturday. July 15
Napoleon Bonaparte was once famously quoted as saying, “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”
Sometimes finding a way to win entails facing an opponent who has become adept at finding ways to lose. That’s exactly what happened in Week 5 as a sluggish Riders team coming off a bye, rallied late to tie Edmonton at home before the Elks gift-wrapped a 12-11 victory to Saskatchewan when American returner CJ Sims mistakenly conceded a rouge on a kickoff in the final minute.
It took Saskatchewan four quarters to score a touchdown and their offence had its fair share of struggles. But the Roughriders will take the win any way they can get it and move on.
Saskatchewan is still looking up at B.C. and Winnipeg in the West standings. However, they have an opportunity to firmly cement their solid ground by beating Calgary for a second time this season on Saturday.
There’s still a long road left to travel in the CFL season, but a 4-1 start in the West Division with double victories over the Stamps and Elks would give the Roughriders easier ground to cover in their quest back to the playoffs. And it would keep them within striking distance at the top of the West.
#5: Montreal Alouettes (2-2)
- Last Week’s Ranking: 5
- Last game: 35-19 road loss to B.C.
- Next game: Home vs. Toronto., Friday. July 14
After a 2-0 start to their season, Montreal stepped up in class the last two weeks against Winnipeg and B.C.
And in both instances, the Alouettes were fairly competitive for stretches but ultimately outclassed by two of the league’s very best teams. Montreal will continue its run against the CFL’s elite next week.
The Alouettes have a quick turnaround this week in a crucial game upcoming at home versus Toronto. The defending champs have had nearly two weeks to prepare for Montreal.
The Als have a chance to not only create further distance from other teams in the East but potentially throw their hat in the race for the Argos divisional crown. For that to happen, they will need to show out better in their third straight measuring stick game.
#6: Calgary Stampeders (1-3)
- Last Week’s Ranking: 6
- Last Game: 24-11 Road loss to Winnipeg
- Next game: At Saskatchewan, Saturday, July 15th
To their credit, Dave Dickenson’s Calgary squad came out strong off the bye against the Bombers. At least in the first half before Winnipeg outmuscled an undermanned Stamps team in the final two quarters.
It was a valiant effort by the Stampeders, in a situation, partly because of injuries, where they were severely outmatched.
The most consistent franchise in the CFL in the last two decades is still trying to find themselves this season. Carving out an identity while dealing with a depleted roster has been challenging for Calgary.
The good news is that because of parity in the league, all is not lost for the Stamps. That’s because if the season ended today, even at 1-3, they would be in the mix to corral the final crossover playoff spot.
The Stampeders have an important rematch upcoming with the Riders in Week 6. They would love to avenge their 29-26 home overtime loss versus Saskatchewan at home by upsetting their rivals in their building. A young Calgary team needs that type of victory to galvanize its troops moving forward.
#7: Hamilton Tiger-Cats (1-3)
- Last Week’s Ranking: 8
- Last game: 21-13 home victory over Ottawa
- Next game: At Edmonton, Thursday, July 13th
Thanks to standout performances by their top defensive stars, Jameer Thurman, Simoni Lawrence, and Chris Edwards. And a workman like performance on offence. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats finally notched their first victory of the year. A 21-13 contest where the Cats had to scratch and claw their way for their first dub of the 2023 season.
Hamilton couldn’t afford to lose at home versus East rival Ottawa, who is looking to usurp them in the division’s pecking order. An 0-4 start for the Ti-Cats would have been a potential death knell.
Instead, the Ti-Cats have new life. They will get a chance to build some momentum in a road tilt against an Edmonton team that hasn’t won at home in four years. After the Elks, Hamilton has three straight games against Eastern teams before playing Edmonton again at home.
#8: Ottawa REDBLACKS (1-3)
- Last Week’s Ranking: 8
- Last game: 21-13 road loss to Hamilton
- Next game: Home vs. Winnipeg, Saturday, July 15
Normally losing on a game-deciding final play to a division rival would be heartbreaking enough. But Ottawa’s 21-13 loss to Hamilton in Week 5 was as demoralizing as it gets due to the unfortunate season-ending injury of quarterback Jeremiah Masoli.
Sometimes life can be very cruel and unfair. Masoli, returning exactly one year after a controversial ACL injury that wiped out his 2022 season, goes down again. This time, untouched. Masoli was unable to put any weight on his left leg, was carried off the field, and wound up on crutches.
It was a disastrous hero’s return for one of the league’s most favored and likable players.
To their credit, despite being dealt a severe blow to morale. The Redblacks battled back in a gutsy performance against Hamilton on the road, where they nearly tied the game late to force overtime. But on a night that was supposed to be special. A happy ending wasn’t meant to be.
For now, the Redblacks will turn to Dustin Crum, who played well coming off the bench in a difficult situation. Ottawa has been competitive all season long. For them to win tight games moving forward this season, they will need the type of quarterback play they were hoping to get from Jeremiah Masoli.
#9: Edmonton Elks (0-5)
- Last Week’s Ranking: 9
- Last game: 12-11 road loss to Saskatchewan
- Next game: Home vs. Hamilton, Thursday, July 13
In the Queen City, the Edmonton Elks played the role of jester in Week 5, dropping another game, this time in baffling fashion, a 12-11 self-inflicted defeat to Saskatchewan.
A mistaken rouge allowed by dynamic kick returner CJ Sims in the game’s final minute perfectly embodied the depths of despair that have presently inhabited the Edmonton franchise. The curse of the rebranded Elks carries on.
The ill-fated play is something that the CFL and its media members tried to avoid showcasing or highlighting. It’s to the point where seeking out a replay required reading some harsh takes on Sims’s mistake.
CFL players having a brain freeze on the league’s rouge rules has happened in the past. But it’s inexcusable for it to occur late in a tie-game situation. CJ Sims fell on the sword for his grave mistake and took immediate heat and ridicule from fans and media members of the league. But the blame also falls squarely on his coaching staff for not instructing him during that situation. Something that head coach Chris Jones acknowledged after the game.
This is the second time this season that Edmonton has found a way to lose a game to Saskatchewan in an unfathomable way. Back in week one at home, the Elks, who would lose to the Riders 17-13, would fail to cross the goal-line on a goal-to-go situation at the one yard line.
It’s been that kind of season and existence for a once proud franchise.
If the football gods choose to show mercy on Edmonton. They will aid them to their first home victory in four years this coming week against Hamilton. If that doesn’t occur, the Elks’ next three games thereafter are against both Winnipeg and B.C.
0-9 is a realistic possibility if Edmonton can’t beat the Tiger-Cats on Thursday.
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