CFL Power Rankings: Elks making a splash

TORONTO — If you’re an Edmonton Elks fan — maybe if you’re a CFL fan in general that’s not a REDBLACKS or Stampeders supporter — you’ve probably got an extra bit of pep to your step today.

Over the last two weeks, the Elks have gotten themselves on track. It started in Hamilton in Week 11, when they picked up their first win of the season, bringing their year-long losing streak to an end at nine games. Then in Week 12, the Elks checked the next box on their to-do list, claiming their first win at home since the 2019 season, with a 30-20 win over those aforementioned REDBLACKS.

In the wake of those two daunting streaks snapping, there seems to be a collective sigh of relief for the Elks as they make their way into the conversation of the 2023 season. You may have heard already — and if you haven’t, you can learn more below — that there’s a pretty important pair of games approaching for the Elks and their southern Alberta counterparts over the next two weeks that could change look of the West Division playoff race.

The Elks’ recent success has already changed the look of our Power Rankings, with the Green and Gold climbing to their highest position of the season. We don’t know if these past two weeks will serve as the highlight of their 2023 campaign or if this is the start of more good things to come. What we do know is that their OK Tire Labour Day Weekend meeting has taken on a very interesting dynamic.

Let’s get into this week’s rankings.

1. Toronto Argonauts (8-1)

Last week: 1
Last game: 39-31 win over Calgary
Next game: At Hamilton, Mon. Sept. 4 

Worth noting: We’ve decided this week to use this space to laud the season and impact that Javon Leake is having for the Argos. The franchise-record four punt return TDs this season are the obvious place to start. They’re not all trips to the end zone, though, we know that. What Leake consistently does is get the Argos field position (he leads the league in punt return yards and average; 612 and 15.3, respectively), which of course gives the offence a shorter field to work with. Over the last month, he’s continued to build on a strong start and is emerging as a true game-changing presence, as we saw on Friday night against the Stamps.

2. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (9-2)

Last week: 2
Last game: 47-17 win over Montreal
Next game: At Saskatchewan, Sun. Sept. 3

Worth noting: You’re forgiven if you looked at Thursday night’s game as an opportunity for the Montreal Alouettes to make a statement and not the other way around. The Bombers shook off the kind of start that could sink most teams (three Zach Collaros interceptions, with two going back for touchdowns) and dominated the Als in the second half, turning a wild first half into a familiar scene at IG Field: the home team leaving carnage of the visitors in its wake. A random thought as we step into September: we’re a month and a day from seeing the Bombers and Argos meet.

3. BC Lions (7-4)

Last week: 3
Last game: 30-13 loss to Hamilton

Next game: At Montreal, Sat. Sept. 2

Worth noting: With back-to-back losses to the Roughriders and now Tiger-Cats, the Lions face a new kind of adversity this season. Their other two losses — blowouts doled out by Toronto and Winnipeg — at least came to top teams in the league. There’s no letup for the Lions this week, either, as they travel to Montreal to face an Alouettes team that is hungry to show that they can work their way into that upper echelon of the league. The Lions’ spot in that top tier is at stake this weekend.

4. Montreal Alouettes (6-4)

Last week: 4
Last game: 47-17 loss to Winnipeg

Next game: Vs. BC, Sat. Sept 2

Worth noting: For 30 minutes on Thursday, the Als probably felt like they had a tremendous win in their sights. Then came a second half against the Bombers that saw everything grind to a halt. That glass ceiling on the top tier of teams in the league may have some cracks in it after the Lions’ showing on Saturday night, but the Als still have some work to do to get their breakthrough. The good news for them is that they get another shot at it right away, when they host the Lions on Saturday to kickoff OK Tire Labour Day Weekend.

5. Saskatchewan Roughriders (5-5)

Last week: 5
Last game: 34-29 win over BC (Week 11)

Next game: Vs. Winnipeg, Sunday, September 3

Worth noting: The Riders take a double whammy of positives into their Labour Day matchup with the Bombers. First, their last game was perhaps their biggest win of the season, when they downed the Lions. Next, they got a long bye week that should let some bumps and bruises heal up and allows Craig Dickenson and his coaching staff to devote a ton of time to a game plan for a team that hasn’t been able to get the better of the Bombers since the 2019 season (that’s seven losses in a row, counting playoff meetings in 2019 and 2021).

6. Edmonton Elks (2-9)

Last week: 8
Last game: 30-20 win over Ottawa

Next game: At Calgary, Mon. Sept. 4 

Worth noting: We said it last week about the flight home from Hamilton and we’ll adapt it this week to mark their first home win since 2019: there would have been no bigger party anywhere in Canada on Sunday night than in the Elks’ locker room. Despite their glacial start to the season, the Elks have their sights set on the 3-8 Stamps as they head into their Labour Day Classic and rematch over the next two weeks. A move into fourth place is possible and suddenly there’s some football hope emanating from the Alberta capital.

7. Calgary Stampeders (3-8)

Last week: 7
Last game: 39-31 loss to Toronto
Next game: Vs. Edmonton, Mon. Sept. 4 

Worth noting: The Stamps are in their games — five of their eight losses have been single-digit outcomes — but continue to not be able to get over that hump more weeks than not. The annual Labour Day Classic and rematch game with the Elks will be big for the Stamps. Once those two games pass, the Stamps won’t see another divisional opponent until Week 19, when they host the Roughriders. Some wins are needed, as the Riders sit at .500 and two games ahead of the Stamps for that third West Division playoff spot and the suddenly winning Elks are now right on the Stamps’ heels in the standings.

8. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (4-6)

Last week: 9
Last game: 30-13 win over BC

Next game: Vs. Toronto, Mon. Sept. 4

Worth noting: In a season that’s been peppered with injuries, loss and personnel change, the Ticats went into BC Place and picked up a very big win, stunning the Lions. The win comes at a perfect time, as they have reason now to confidently head back to Tim Hortons Field for their Labour Day Classic meeting with the visiting Toronto Argonauts. The donut box hasn’t been especially kind to the home team this year, with the Ticats sitting at just 1-4. The rowdy fans of the Black and Gold will hope that some momentum brought about by a big win over BC changes their fortunes there on holiday Monday.

9. Ottawa REDBLACKS (3-8)

Last week: 6
Last game: 30-20 loss to Edmonton

Next game: Vs. Hamilton, Fri. Sept. 8

Worth noting: The REDBLACKS’ loss to the Elks marks their fifth in a row, after those two electric wins over Winnipeg and Calgary. We’ve said it regarding the Ticats when they held down this spot and the same applies for this struggling East club right now too: it’s not as bad as it looks. The REDBLACKS come out of their bye for an important date with the Ticats in Week 14, but at the moment are only a game behind them for that third spot in the division. Some offensive punch is needed, but if Dustin Crum and Co. can find that, they’re in position to battle for that final playoff spot, with a lot of football still in front of them.

Today's CFL is more than just our great game of football. It's fans sharing their excitement for what they see on the field, and what they experience off it. Stay up to date on all the non-stop action at