CFL Power Rankings: West semifinal set between two hottest teams

Edmonton Eskimos quarterback Mike Reilly (13) dives for a touchdown while playing against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers during the second half of CFL football action in Winnipeg, Thursday, August 17, 2017. (Trevor Hagan/CP)

The regular season is finally over and the second season is about to begin. Heading into the CFL post-season the Calgary Stampeders stumble in with the best record in the league, while their provincial rival, the Edmonton Eskimos, look like the class of the league. In the East, the Toronto Argonauts are back in the post-season for the first time under it’s new regime and the Montreal Alouettes‘ season mercifully came to an end.

Here’s how the league’s nine teams stack up based on recent form.

1. Edmonton (12-6)
The Eskimos have the league’s hottest offence and are facing a Winnipeg defence that has relinquished lots of yards. Mike Reilly amazingly leads the CFL with 12 rushing touchdowns and is playing some of the best football of his career. The Eskimos have won five straight wins, after six straight losses, after seven straight wins. If anyone can go on a run and win a Grey Cup without playing a home playoff game, it’s Edmonton.

2. Winnipeg (12-6)
The Blue Bombers are hosting a playoff game, but there are big questions about their offence heading in to it. Their most outstanding player nominee, Matt Nichols, didn’t practice or play last week. Even at home, they won’t be favoured in the West Division semifinal without him. The Bombers shouldn’t be discounted though as they have beaten the Eskimos twice this year.

3. Calgary (13-4-1)
Calgary has lost three straight heading into the playoffs and now have a week off to regroup and think about it. The Stampeders have mostly played backups as they’ve had the West clinched for a while, but seven turnovers is concerning no matter who is playing.

4. Saskatchewan (10-8)
The Riders will try and become the first team to get to the Grey Cup via the East crossover. Saskatchewan will start its playoff journey in Ottawa and hope to stay out East and be there for the Grey Cup in three weeks.

5. Toronto (9-9)
Ricky Ray has 13 300-yard passing games this season and is getting even more comfortable with Marc Trestman as the season goes on. The last two times the Argonauts won the Grey Cup they did it as a two seed coming out of the East. However, the first playoff game at BMO Field being the East Final is positive momentum not just for the team but for the franchise.

6. Ottawa (8-9-1)
Ottawa hosts the Riders in a matchup of the teams that currently have the most rabid fan bases. Last year an 8-9-1 record was good enough for a top seed in the East. Not so this year with an improved Argos team.

7. Hamilton (6-12)
A 33-0 win is a memorable way to end what was a forgettable year in Hamilton. The Tiger-Cats have a bunch of free agents and question marks as to what they’ll do with Zach Collaros. But the way they finished the season signifies they don’t have to blow everything up.

8. British Columbia (7-11)
If this is the last time we see Wally Buono on the sidelines, it came in a 40-13 loss to the Toronto Argonauts. For the short-term health of the organization, the long-term direction in terms of ownership and the makeup of the front office needs to be sorted out quickly. The uncertainty has permeated throughout the team and impacted the winning culture Buono had instilled.

9. Montreal (3-15)
Kavis Reed promised he is going to overhaul at least 30 per cent of his league-worst roster. Montreal didn’t win a game after Jacques Chapdelaine and defensive coordinator Noel Thorpe were fired. Reed has major work ahead as he needs to hire a head coach and make a decision about a starting quarterback.