Calgary Herald - - SPORTS - — Dan Barnes

1. Cal­gary (1)

The 12-3 Stamps still get the ben­e­fit of the doubt and top spot after the first home loss of the sea­son, which dropped their McMa­hon Sta­dium win-loss log to 7-1. How­ever, they barely scraped by Mon­treal two weeks ago, lost to B.C. last week and the grow­ing list of walk­ing wounded is es­sen­tially a who’s who of CFL re­ceiv­ing tal­ent. If the Bombers weren’t head­ing into a bye week, there could eas­ily be a chang­ing of the guard up here.


Win­nipeg (4)

There hasn’t been a more sur­pris­ing or de­fin­i­tive butt-kick­ing than the 31-0 beat­ing the Bombers laid on the Rid­ers last week­end. Win­nipeg has won four straight and left its de­bil­i­tat­ing of­fen­sive woes in the rear-view mir­ror. Start­ing QB Matt Ni­chols con­tin­ues to play it safe and smart and do just enough to win, while there isn’t a more dan­ger­ous backup than Chris Strev­eler any­where else in the CFL.


Hamil­ton (3)

The Ti­cats are warm­ing up just as the Red­blacks are cool­ing off, set­ting an un­bal­anced stage for the cru­cial home-and-home series be­tween them. Hamil­ton did the ex­pected and beat Toronto last week, so they don’t jump up in the rank­ings, de­spite a sec­ond straight win. But they are get­ting all they need from QB Jeremiah Ma­soli and WR Bran­don Banks and the rest of the team is fall­ing in line be­hind them.


B.C. (6)

So maybe Wally Buono will make one more trip to McMa­hon Sta­dium after all. His Li­ons be­came the first team other than the Stamps to win a reg­u­lar-sea­son game in Cal­gary this year and in do­ing so re­main rel­e­vant in the mud­dled West Di­vi­sion play­off pic­ture. QB Travis Lu­lay makes all the dif­fer­ence in the world to this of­fence. He’s not flaw­less by any means, but he’s not pan­icky and after he throws the ball away, he comes right back to make amends.


Ed­mon­ton (7)

A flu-rid­den Mike Reilly looked rock solid be­hind a re­tooled of­fen­sive line that wouldn’t let Ot­tawa any­where near their QB. Fi­nally. With so much time to get it done, Reilly found Bryant Mitchell 13 times while of­fen­sive co-or­di­na­tor/head coach Ja­son Maas mixed in plenty of C.J. Gable and a lit­tle Martese Jack­son on the ground to keep Ot­tawa com­pletely off bal­ance, es­pe­cially in the sec­ond half. It snapped a three-game los­ing skid.


Saskatchewan (2)

Gang Green was to­tally schooled from the open­ing whis­tle in Win­nipeg and there were cul­prits on both sides of the ball, which meant the gen­er­ally stal­wart de­fence wasn’t up to the task of con­stantly bail­ing out the shaky of­fence. That’s a recipe for a fall down the rank­ings and the stand­ings. The Rid­ers are still favoured to host the West semi­fi­nal, but just barely.


Ot­tawa (5)

The Red­blacks can’t stop the run or this slide. They’ve dropped two straight and sur­ren­dered the up­per hand they once held on Hamil­ton in the race for the East ti­tle head­ing into a home-and-home series be­tween the two.


Mon­treal (8)

No­body …

9. Toronto (9)

… cares.

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