It was essentially an uneventful final weekend of the CFL 2023 Regular Season. Except for the finale, which saw the Toronto Argonauts match the CFL record with the most wins by a team in regular season history with sixteen in eighteen tries (16-2). As a result, The defending CFL champions posted their best regular season record in the 150th year.
Week 21 was the calm before the Grey Cup playoff storm. Last year’s Grey Cup finalists, Toronto and Winnipeg, will now sit back and watch a repeat of 2022’s Divisional Semi-Final games next Saturday.
Here is what the final CFL 2023 Regular Season standings look like.
Final CFL 2023 Regular Season Standings
|Winnipeg – y||18||14||4||0||28||594||377||8-1-0||6-3-0||9-2-0|
|BC – x||18||12||6||0||24||495||439||6-3-0||6-3-0||8-4-0|
|Calgary – x||18||6||12||0||12||412||471||3-5-0||3-6-0||4-6-0|
|Toronto – y||18||16||2||0||32||591||396||9-0-0||7-2-0||10-0-0|
|Montreal – x||18||11||7||0||22||442||392||5-4-0||6-3-0||7-3-0|
|Hamilton – x||18||8||10||0||16||408||461||3-6-0||5-4-0||3-7-0|
y – Clinched Division
x – Clinched Playoff Berth
CFL 2023 Regular Season Power Rankings
#9: Ottawa REDBLACKS (4-14)
- Last Game: 27-22 Home Loss To Toronto
- Next game: 2024
The Ottawa Redblacks closed their 2023 campaign with two straight losses to Toronto. On Saturday, they watched as the Argos’ second and third-string players propelled Toronto to a tying CFL record 16 wins in a regular season. A win total by their Ontario rival that eclipses the Redblacks’ 14 wins in their last four seasons combined.
Four years ago, Ottawa and Toronto were in the basement of the CFL. So perhaps, there’s hope that the Redblacks can eventually turn the corner. But right now, all that’s left is bitterness in the sea of irrelevance.
#8: Edmonton Elks (4-14)
- Last game: 45-25 Loss To Winnipeg
- Next game: 2024
Edmonton finished with the same record they had in 2022. But there’s more hope headed toward the next offseason, thanks to the emergence of developing quarterback Tre Ford.
#7: Saskatchewan Roughriders (6-12)
- Last game: 29-26 Home Loss To Toronto
- Next game: 2024
A second straight 6-12 season sealed the fate of now-former Roughriders head coach Craig Dickenson. Somehow, despite Saskatchewan’s slide to irrelevance, VP/GM Jeremy O’Day survived the chopping block and got himself a contract extension.
In the business of CFL ownership and financial constraints, if Craig Dickenson’s contract wasn’t up for renewal. He might’ve survived, even if the results of the on-field product warranted his dismissal. Jeremy O’Day gets to see the light of day and will have the all-important decision of who takes the saddle in Saskatchewan as Head Coach. The Riders are in desperate need of a revival.
#6: Calgary Stampeders (6-12)
- Last Game: 36-13 loss to Winnipeg
- Next game: Western Semi-Final, At British Columbia, Saturday, November 4, 6:30 PM ET
With nothing to play for in the regular season finale. The Stampeders finished out their slate with a 36-13 loss against Winnipeg.
With that exhibition out of the way, the scrappy 6-12 Stampwillto attempt the unthinkable next weekend in the Grey Cup Playoffs. And that’s beat the Lions for the second time in three weeks at BC Place. The odds are heavily against them accomplishing that goal.
But all bets are off, and records go out the window when it’s a one-game do-or-die playoff scenario. Calgary is playing its 2023 campaign with house money. And David Dickenson and his staff have always been great dealers. Don’t count them out.
#5: Hamilton Tiger-Cats (8-10)
- Last game: 22-20 Loss To Montreal
- Next game: Eastern Semi-Final, At Montreal, Saturday, November 4, 3 PM ET
The Tiger-Cats are in the exact same position they were a year ago. Hamilton is 8-10, headed to Montreal. for a chance to advance to the East Final. Can they avoid deja vu in this year’s Eastern Semi-Final?
Hamilton has lost six straight games to Montreal. The Alouettes swept themes during the regular season. But they can erase that with a single win over the Als next Saturday and put themselves one step away from a Grey Cup at home.
#4: Montreal Alouettes (11-7)
- Last game: 22-20 Home Victory Over Hamilton
- Next game: Eastern Semi-Final, Home versus Hamilton, Saturday, November 4
The Montreal Alouettes finished the 2023 CFL season 11-0 against teams not named the Bombers, Lions, or Argos. On Saturday, the Als, in a preseason-like warm-up for the playoffs, edged past the Ti-Cats 22-20 in the regular season finale.
The final weekend in the CFL provided very few standout plays in what were inconsequential games. However, the Alouettes pulled out yet another dribble punt trick play that raised the ire of some CFL fans and sparked conversation.
There’s no denying that Jason Maas has done a great job getting the most out of his team and every situation. Montreal may have come up short against the league’s elite in the regular season. 0-7, but they have a chance to change that in the postseason. It all starts with Hamilton at home next Saturday.
#3: B.C. Lions (12-6)
- Last Week’s Ranking: 3
- Last game: 41-16 home loss to Calgary
- Next game: Western Semi-Final against Calgary, Saturday, November 4th
#2: Winnipeg Blue Bombers (14-4)
- Last game: 36-13 victory over Calgary
- Next game: West Final, Home vs BC/Calgary, Saturday November 11
The Bombers’ regular-season finale took a backseat in the final week, as all the attention was focused on Winnipeg’s new Most Outstanding Player nominee, RB Brady Olivera. The Canadian superstar has had one of the greatest seasons by any runner in league history. He is fully deserving of the honours and roses coming his way.
The top two candidates for the league’s Most Outstanding Player are both on the same team. Zach Collaros, in any other year, would’ve been hands down the choice to win the nod. That’s a testament to how great Winnipeg is and why they are once again contenders to get to their fourth straight Grey Cup.
#1: Toronto Argonauts (16-2)
- Last game: 27-22 road victory over Ottawa
- Next game: Eastern Final, Home At BMO Field versus Montreal or Hamilton, Saturday, November 11
The 2023 Toronto Argonauts have masterfully defended their throne atop the CFL to this point. It’s been quite the encore for the league’s defending champs. In their 150th year, Toronto has put together its best regular season record ever. And they did it by showing the quality of their team depth and coaching staff. It’s impressive, considering that the Argonauts played the final month and a half of games with nothing at stake. The team could’ve easily mailed it in but didn’t.
Ryan Dinwiddie’s weekly mantra of 1-0 led to 16-2. It also led to a first-time-ever 10-0 divisional mark and an undefeated regular season at home.
Including last year’s postseason, Toronto has won 25 of their last 29 games, and that’s if you count two losses where the team didn’t play their key players or starters.
Sixteen wins in a season is extremely rare and something to be proud of. But Toronto’s season is now about getting to 18 wins.
There will be immense pressure on the Argos when they host the East Final at what will be their largest home crowd in nearly a decade.
In what was likely just a mistake but could be a foreshadowing of what’s to come in a head-to-head showdown. The photo below this week on the CFL’s Twitter account has a portion of the Bombers helmet hidden in the background.
There’s no guarantee that we will get the Grey Cup rematch that was denied earlier this year. But it would make for a heck of a conclusion to the 2023 season. A year ago, some classified Toronto’s upset of the league’s standard-bearer, Winnipeg, in the Grey Cup as a fluke.
At least during the 2023 CFL regular season, the Argos proved that they weren’t a fly-by-night flash in the pan. But they might have to hoist the trophy again to silence the doubters.
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