Quentin Batalillon

General News 2024

Alouettes remain number 1, but the race at the top is exciting

For the first time this season, we’re entering a week with what feels like a heavyweight fight.

The Toronto Argonauts will host the Montreal Alouettes at BMO Field on Friday night. Both teams are undefeated and both will remember how crucial their last meeting on that ground was. In the cold snap of November’s Eastern Finals, the Alouettes stunned the then 16-2 Argos in a dominant 38-17 match.

In retrospect, the Als showed us who they are when they took the final step a week later to defeat the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and claim the 110th Gray Cup.

More than seven months later, these teams meet again. Some key figures are different, but the game is no less grand in scale. The Als haven’t lost yet this season and if you include last year’s run, that puts you at an ominous 11-0. Led by quarterback Cameron Dukes, the Argos are coming off a nail-biting win over the Edmonton Elks, which should at least show you that the Argos are ready for whatever is thrown at them this week.

Friday’s match should carry some weight for next week’s edition of the Power Rankings presented by AMSOIL, as the top team will have to match up with the No. 3 team in this week’s rankings.

Scroll on to see where your team stands this week.

1. Montreal Alouettes (3-0)

Last week: 1
Last game: 47-21 win over Ottawa
Next game: in Toronto, Friday. June 28

Worth nothing: The Als are always looking for an edge and have publicly stated that they felt slighted at having to wait until Week 3 of the season for the unveiling/home opener of their Gray Cup banner. They were able to turn the feeling of disrespect into a convincing win, taking a 31-1 halftime lead over the visiting REDBLACKS. With wins against Ottawa (1-1), Edmonton (0-3) and Winnipeg (0-3), the Als should get their toughest test of the season on Friday in Toronto. We are confident that they are ready.

2. Saskatchewan Roughriders (3-0)

Last week: 2
Last game: 36-20 win over Hamilton

Next match: Vs. Toronto, Thursday, July 4

Worth nothing: The Riders enter their bye week at a perfect 3-0. After posting comeback wins in their first two games, the outcome of their third game was convincing as they controlled the pace against the Ticats a week after Trevor Harris and Bo Levi Mitchell enjoyed a QB duel in Week 2. retirement comes at a perfect time for Harris, who went down with a leg injury on Sunday. There seemed to be little concern about the veteran center’s long-term health, with head coach Corey Mace saying after the game that they were leaving him out of consideration out of an abundance of caution. Still, a week of rest and treatment certainly can’t hurt a team that is 3-0 for the first time in three years.

3. Toronto Argonauts (2-0)

Last week: 3
Last game: 39-36 win over Edmonton
Next match: Vs. Montreal, Fri. June 28

Worth nothing: It’s amazing to think how much change the Argos have seen this offseason and yet their product on the field, new faces in key positions and all, continues to keep going and piling up wins. Their win over the Elks on Saturday was the kind of win that should only boost the confidence of first-year starter Cameron Dukes and his teammates. The incoming Alouettes were no doubt watching and saw a young player look like a vet in some tense game situations. Friday’s game will be a must-see.

4. BC Lions (2-1)

Last week: 4
Last game: 26-24 win over Winnipeg

Next match: Vs. Edmonton, Thursday. June 27

Worth nothing: The Lions are back above .500 and probably know better than to take the 0-3 Elks lightly. As the Lions focus on themselves and their strengths — Vernon Adams Jr. led the offense to 500 net yards in Week 3 — they have a good chance to improve to 2-0 at BC Place. The Lions are clicking offensively, as anyone who signed Adams and Alexander Hollins to their CFL Fantasy team last week will attest, their defense is also pulling its weight. The Lions are third in the league in sacks, with seven, and are third in opponents’ passing yards, with 280.

5. Calgary Stampeders (1-1)

Last week: 5
Last game: 26-17 loss to BC (week 2)
Next match: Vs. Winnipeg, Sat. June 29

Worth nothing: Coming off their bye week, the Stamps will look to build on the positives they’ve seen in this young season. They were also 1-1 a year ago and while they hung around the first few weeks of the season, they never got above the .500 mark again. A win against the Bombers would put them ahead of a division rival and could be a major tone setter in letting them know this year will be different than the 2023 season. Another sign this team is taking a different path this year? Jake Maier has thrown just one interception for four touchdowns and has the third-highest QB efficiency rating in the league (123.9).

6. Edmonton Elk (0-3)

Last week: 8
Last game: 39-36 loss to Toronto

Next game: at BC, Thursday. June 27

Worth nothing: As Pat Steinberg noted in this week’s MMQB, the 0-3 mark is certainly disheartening, but there are positives to be found in the Elks’ squad. They lost their last two games by three points each and fell victim to a walk-off field goal by Lirim Hajruallahu at BMO Field last week. A win at BC Place feels like a tall order, but it shouldn’t bring with it an impending sense of doom for anyone on the Elks’ roster, or the Green and Gold wearing feeling down and out. In a week where the city felt the heartbreak of the Stanley Cup, there’s a chance for the Elks to mount an 0-3 comeback of their own and lighten the mood locally.

7. Ottawa REDBLACKS (1-1)

Last week: 6
Last game: 47-21 loss to Montreal
Next match: vs. Hamilton, Sun. June 30

Worth nothing: Sometimes even the team with the logging tires encounters a circular saw. The REDBLACKS took a drastic turn in the wrong direction last week after an encouraging win over the Bombers in Week 2. Week 4 gives them a long preparation as they will host the winless Ticats on Sunday. As we learn what kind of team the REDBLACKS will be this year, we’ll see how they respond in a match where they are somewhat favored.

8. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (0-3)

Last week: 9
Last game: 26-24 loss to BC
Next game: in Calgary, Saturday. June 29

Worth nothing: Bad news for the winless Blue Bombers (it feels SO strange to write that): They get a rested Stampeders team coming off a bye week on Saturday. For the first time since 2012, the Bombers are 0-3. We still think Mike O’Shea, Zach Collaros, Willie Jefferson and all of Winnipeg will figure things out and get their season on track. Last week’s game against the Lions was winnable and the Bombers are not far away from moving up in the standings and in this ranking. Collaros finding the end zone – he has yet to throw a TD pass this season – will be a huge step in that direction for the team.

9. Hamilton Tiger Cats (0-3)

Last week: 7
Last game: 36-20 loss to Saskatchewan
Next game: At Ottawa, Sun. June 30

Worth nothing: A week after a tense but heartbreaking finish against the Riders, the Ticats were dealt with more convincingly at the Mosaic Stadium. As the Ticats look to win No. 1, their focus will be on TD Place and the REDBLACKS on Sunday. With Ottawa also starting slowly and the Als and Argos starting strong this year, this division battle is especially important for both teams. Consistency was an issue early on for the Ticats. When the team’s Week 2 version comes out, it will feel like a winnable game. If the error-laden version of Week 3 takes the field, it could be a long and fruitless day for the Ticats.