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Inside the CFL: Power rankings

By Ted Michaels, CFL Columnist

Hamilton, ON (Sports Network) - After five weeks, it's time to take a look at who's hot and who's not.

1. Saskatchewan Roughriders (5-0)

Coming off a 32-20 win over Hamilton, it appears the Riders are rolling on all cylinders heading into their bye week.

For the fifth straight week, Kory Sheets rushed for over 100 yards, making him the first player in CFL history to rush for more than 100 yards in each of his team's first five regular-season games.

Starting quarterback Darian Durant dressed, but didn't play, and backup Drew Willy, from the University of Buffalo, completed 14-of-25 for 269 yards and three touchdowns in just his second CFL start.

The Riders clearly built their team to play the Grey Cup at home this year. The first step in that process is clinching first place, which means a bye in round one of the playoffs, then the Western Final. So far, so good.

2. Calgary Stampeders (4-1)

He has one of the all-time great names ... Bo Levi Mitchell.

The Eastern Washington product got the start Friday night in Winnipeg because Drew Tate and Kevin Glenn were both dressed but not healthy enough to start.

All he did was complete 29-of-33 passes for 376 yards and three touchdowns in his first ever CFL start as the Stampeders beat the Blue Bombers 37-24.

So that makes three quarterbacks that can all play effectively when needed and as they head into their bye week, the Stampeders are showing why they're one of the top teams in the CFL.

3. Toronto Argonauts (3-2)

Gotta give the Argos credit. With starting quarterback Ricky Ray out with a knee injury, backup Zach Collaros got the call and he answered it.

Facing the CFL's No. 1 ranked defense, the University of Cincinnati grad merely completed 21-of-25 passes for 253 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions in a 38-12 win over the BC Lions.

At the same time, with running back Chad Kackert out from 4-6 weeks with a knee injury, rookie Curtis Steele, a University of Memphis product, rushed for 74 yards on 12 carries.

They may be the best in a weak Eastern Division, but they'll take it.

4. BC Lions (3-2)

What was surprising in BC's loss to the Argos was how flat the Lions looked. While quarterback Travis Lulay's numbers weren't bad -- 20-of-29 for 226 yards -- he didn't throw a TD pass and was intercepted once.

At the same time, he was sacked three times and was hurried all night. To make matters worse, BC fumbled three times, giving up the ball twice.

Throw in 13 penalties for 126 yards and it's the type of game that head coach Mike Benevides may want to toss out because the Lions play this Monday afternoon on the civic holiday at home to Winnipeg.

Maybe it's good that the Leos have a short week, because I'm sure the stinker in Toronto will stay with them for a while.

5. Montreal Alouettes (2-3)

The Als won what was a "must-win" game without it actually being called such a contest when they beat the Edmonton Eskimos, 32-27, at Molson Stadium.

They still showed they still have problems holding a lead. At one point a 26-13 advantage turned into a 27-26 deficit, but they still made the big play at the end of the game when they had to, stopping the Eskimos inside the Montreal 5-yard line.

And Brandon Whittaker, who ran for a season-high 162 yards on 24 carries, is slowly getting untracked.

While it's only one game, it did illustrate that the early season offensive woes Montreal had may have started to become a thing of the past.

6. Edmonton Eskimos (1-4)

The Eskimos may have played their best game of the year in their 32-27 loss in Montreal.

Starting quarterback Mike Reilly was yanked early in the second quarter, seethed on the sideline, then, to his credit, came back and played well, completing 16-of-28 passes for 262 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

The Eskimos, who haven't yet won at home this season, host the Tiger-Cats Friday night. Win and they're back in the hunt for third place. Lose, and the heat will be turned up, rightfully so, on GM Ed Hervey, who gave head coach Kavis Reed a contract extension at the start of the season.

Burning question ... why?

7. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1-4)

In a 37-24 loss at home to the Stampeders, what the Blue Bombers hoped would happen didn't.

Starting quarterback Buck Pierce dressed, but didn't play, due to an abdominal injury. Justin Goltz, a grad of Occidental, made his first start of the season, and while he wasn't terrible -- 19-of-35 for 194 and two touchdowns -- he wasn't outstanding.

If the Blue Bombers are looking to replace Pierce as the starter (and it should be noted Pierce wasn't happy not getting the start, which means a QB controversy could be brewing), they didn't get the definitive answer they wanted.

And the Winnipeg fans aren't getting what they want. It's the third home loss in a row at Investors Group Field, and the game wasn't a sell out. Blue Bomber fans are starting to get the feeling of deja vu.

8. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (1-4)

Heading into the game against the Riders, the Tiger-Cats had 17 players on the injured list. Looks like at least three more players will join that group after getting injured at various times in the 32-20 loss to Saskatchewan.

Head coach and GM Kent Austin won't publicly use the 'R' word, but we will ... Hamilton is rebuilding.

So far, the Tiger-Cats have had 63 players dress for the five games and while injuries have played a huge part in their record, so has the fact that Austin is�still trying to see who can, and can't, play in his system.

The upcoming bye week will be good mentally and physically for Austin's team. It would be nice to see how good this team can be once everyone's healthy. Question is, by the time that happens will it be too late to salvage the season?

Ted Michaels is the host of the Fifth Quarter on AM900 CHML. Comments ?Criticism? Applause?

07/31 12:37:59 ET


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