CFL Power Rankings: Tiger-Cats’ Zach Collaros on the hot seat

Toronto Argonauts receiver S.J. Green recalls one of his biggest regrets and the missed play that stopped him from being Grey Cup MVP.

Heading into the 10th week of the CFL season, the Edmonton Eskimos are no longer undefeated while the Hamilton Tiger-Cats are still without a win or any answers. Big wins by the Blue Bombers and Stampeders are making things even more tight at the top of the West.

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

Rank Team Previous
1

There is some concern in Calgary around the health of the CFL’s best backfield. Bo Levi Mitchell seems to be playing with an upper-body injury. Jerome Messam left the game versus B.C. with a knee injury. Luckily, they have a defence that can do more than pull its weight until the offence is firing on all cylinders again. Calgary’s defence has only allowed 42 points in its last three games.

2017 record: 6-1-1

2
2

Playing without J.C. Sherritt, Adarius Bowman, John White, Brandon Zylstra, Almondo Sewell and Marcus Howard, a loss was inevitable for the Eskimos. Even though they had their second-best start in franchise history, they haven’t left the pack chasing them a top the West. The Esks did get fat against a struggling East, as five of their seven wins came against the weaker division. Can Edmonton stay on top with 20 players on the IR now that its schedule begins to stiffen?

2017 record: 7-1

1
3

Winnipeg is the league’s hottest team after winning four straight and defeating the previously undefeated Eskimos. How’d they take on the best team in the league? They had the best player on the field and he happens to be a Canadian running back. Which begs the question: Is Andrew Harris not only the best Canadian running back or even best running back, is he the best player in the CFL? Against the great Edmonton Eskimos defence Harris had 11 carries for 105 yards (9.5-yard average), and 120 yards receiving on eight catches. An astonishing 84 of those were yards after the catch. Not many players can take over a game like Harris.

2017 record: 6-2

3
4

It’s hard to evaluate the struggles of Jonathon Jennings when his big-play targets Bryan Burnham and Nick Moore are hurt. Jennings completed just six of 11 passes for 56 yards over the first 27 minutes against the Stampeders. Hard to come back from that lack of productivity. Wally Buono has stuck with Jennings and nobody knows how to handle a quarterback controversy better than he does. Given the stellar play of the other quarterbacks in the West, the Lions needs to find the answers that are plaguing their young star soon.

2017 record: 5-4

4
5

What a difference Ricky Ray makes. A week after being inept offensively, Toronto was methodical in its domination of the Alouettes — one of the league’s best defences. Ray led Toronto on touchdown drives of 76, 68, 67 and 71 yards, all lasting seven plays or more. They churned out 29 first downs and 463 yards of net offence. Calgary on the road this week will be a true litmus test if Toronto is a Grey Cup contender with Ray at the helm or the least-bad East team.

2017 record: 4-5

7
6

The Roughriders have lost 15 straight road contests against West Division rivals. They have a chance to end that streak this week versus Edmonton. Saskatchewan has lost the last four games it has played at Commonwealth Stadium, and the Riders have won only two of their last 12 games in Edmonton. With a win, they pull to .500 and will show signs that the Chris Jones rebuild is for real. With a loss, they are relegated to play for a potential East crossover position.

2017 record: 3-4

6
7

The Alouettes failed to produce a single point on offence on Saturday versus Toronto. That’s hard to do in the CFL. The league’s best first-down offence wasn’t good on any down in Toronto. Instead of taking a strangle hold for first place, Montreal sits only a point ahead of Ottawa, which is in third. The Als host Winnipeg, but then five of their final nine games are on the road, where they have yet to win once this season.
2017 record: 3-5

5
8

The Redblacks have been close and they finally got that much elusive second win by dominating Hamilton on the road. Ottawa had to settle for six field goals, but it possessed the ball for 13 more minutes than its opponents. Ottawa gave up just 22 yards of offence in the third quarter. The Redblacks are now within striking distance of Montreal and Toronto in front of them in the East.

2017 record: 2-6-1

8
9

Tim Hortons Field is no longer the Tabbies’ safe space. Eight straight losses at home have now piled up for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Nine straight if you include last year’s playoff loss. Hamilton is the eighth team since 1992 to start this badly. No team who has started 0-8 and has made the playoffs. The last time things were this bad in the Hammer is when they started 0-12 in 2003. Many of the questions are around their quarterback. Zach Collaros was pulled for Jeremiah Masoli last week and watched the majority of the game from the sidelines. He’s now lost 12 straight games as a starter. Only five quarterbacks in CFL history have lost 12 or more consecutively. In those games, he’s passed for 214 yards per game and has 10 TD passes and nine interceptions. With a bye week coming before the Labour Day Classic, now would be the operative time to change QBs if they felt so inclined.

2017 record: 0-8

9

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