Red hot Stamps climb Nissan Titan Power Rankings
TORONTO — Timing is important in the Canadian Football League.
With five games remaining, the Calgary Stampeders are playing their best football of the season, winning a fourth straight contest and moving into a first-place tie with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the highly-competitive West.
For the Stamps, who played without star quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell for two months, there couldn’t be a better time to heat up as they look to secure a first round bye along with a home playoff date at McMahon.
Elsewhere, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats continue their upward trend after winning on the road, while the BC Lions have inched forward following a second straight win over Ottawa.
More in the Nissan Titan Power Rankings.
1. Calgary Stampeders
Last Week: 2
Bo Levi Mitchell‘s 4-0 since returning from injury, but defence has been the difference in Calgary. The Argos moved the chains just three times in the first half and were sacked six times in all, as the Stamps cruised to victory despite the absence of league-leaders Cory Greenwood and Reggie Begelton.
2. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Last Week: 3
June Jones left and Jeremiah Masoli got injured, yet the Ticats possess the CFL’s second-ranked offence with just five games remaining. First-year head coach Orlondo Steinauer has done a remarkable job given the injuries his team has been dealt. There’s little doubt the Ticats are a contender.
3. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Last Week: 1
While the offence dried up, Richie Hall’s defence allowed scoring drives of 98, 83, and 94 yards in the fourth quarter as the Alouettes stormed back from 24 points down for the victory — one that may wind up haunting the Bombers should they find themselves traveling to McMahon come November.
4. Saskatchewan Roughriders
Last Week: 4
The Riders know how to win close games. First-time starter Cody Fajardo has come through in almost every clutch situation, including last-minute wins over Hamilton, Winnipeg and Montreal. It’s a good trait to have as the final third of the season gets under way and the post-season approaches.
5. Montreal Alouettes
Last Week: 5
The Alouettes have a young, energetic coach, a budding star at quarterback and a ‘wow’ factor like no one else. There’s still work to be done — the defence ranks third-last with 401.4 points allowed per game — but Vernon Adams Jr. and his explosive group of playmakers are must-see TV every time.
6. Edmonton Eskimos
Last Week: 6
Logan Kilgore had his ups and downs, but most concerning for the Eskimos was their defence, which allowed three touchdowns of 40-plus yards in the first half vs. Hamilton. The Eskimos are in no danger of missing the playoffs right now, but the pressure is mounting for Head Coach Jason Maas.
7. BC Lions
Last Week: 8
The Lions’ offensive line has allowed just three sacks over the last three games, including a home-and-home sweep of the REDBLACKS. Yes, the post-season remains a longshot, but success over the last five games would mean plenty for this team going into the off-season.
8. Toronto Argonauts
Last Week: 7
The Argos’ defence kept Calgary’s injury-plagued receiving corps in check, but quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson had no answers on the other side of the ball. As playoff chances fade, a six-game audition for James Franklin makes sense for the Argos, who need to start thinking about 2020.
9. Ottawa REDBLACKS
Last Week: 9
REDBLACKS quarterbacks have struggled this season, but the defence hasn’t fared better, allowing 548 yards in a loss to the Lions. With 10 losses in their last 11 games, things just haven’t gone according to plan for Rick Campbell and Marcel Desjardins. They’ll look for a spark vs. Edmonton.