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Contenders vs Pretenders – Week 15

Published: Wednesday, Sep 13th 2023, 2:09pm

By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD


Two-thirds of the CFL season are done and two-thirds of the CFL teams are done… being Contenders. Here’s this week’s look at Contenders vs Pretenders:


BC Lions – Contenders (Last Week – Contenders)

Other than a few blips on the radar, the Lions are a dangerous team. The chances of them getting first place in the West are getting smaller by the week, but they’ll put on a show in the playoffs. If Vernon Adams Jr. is on, they’ll be extremely tough to beat.


Calgary Stampeders – Pretenders (Last Week – Pretenders)

A 9 loss Stampeders team this “early” into the season hasn’t been seen in 20 years and it’s just so joyful to me! They can play some really good ball at times and make you think things have turned around, but then they go and find a way to lose. It’s actually strange to see coming from them. That said, I’ll enjoy it now because I don’t think it will last very long. They could still cross over for the playoffs and at that point, they have as good a shot as either Montreal or Hamilton to make it to the East Final.


Edmonton Elks –  Pretenders (Last Week – Pretenders)

After a crushing loss in the Labour Day game, roles were reversed in the rematch against the Stamps and the Elks showed they can come back late in a game. Tre Ford gives them life and I hope it continues, but they’re still the worst team in the West. Taking play calling away from Stephen McAdoo and playing Ford has saved their season and brought fans back, which is great to see.


Hamilton Tiger-Cats – Pretenders (Last Week – Pretenders)

How this team has won 5 games is beyond me, but now they are only one game back of a home playoff game! I expect them to get beat up this week by Winnipeg, but good on them for getting back into the playoff race and creeping up on Montreal for 2nd in the East. I hope they can keep things interesting, despite looking pretty bad most of the year.


Montreal Alouettes – Pretenders (Last Week – Pretenders)

Cody Fajardo has lost his confidence again and we’ve all seen what happens to a Fajardo team when that happens. I hope they don’t continue to spiral, because it’s been nice to see that franchise rejuvenated a bit over the last year. Maybe Caleb Evans should get some more reps and have Fajardo watch a series or two from the sidelines? Can’t really hurt at this point.


Ottawa Redblacks – Pretenders (Last Week – Pretenders)

I’ve been saying it for weeks now… teams have figured out Dustin Crum and any spark of life he gave the team is gone. I think he’ll develop and be a pretty good QB in the future, but he needs better talent around him and that’s going to take a while to find. I’m not sure how much longer Redblacks fans can suffer through year after year of awful football.


Saskatchewan Roughriders – Pretenders (Last Week – Contenders)

Talk about your Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde… the Riders play good at home for 2 weeks and play ATROCIOUS on the road around those games. If the Riders somehow can pass BC for a home playoff game, I’ll move them back to a Contender… but since they’ll likely have to play on the road in the playoffs, I have no faith in them keeping a semi-final close. For that reason, they lose their Contenders status.


Toronto Argonauts – Contenders (Last Week – Contenders)

Chad “Swag” Kelly just keeps rolling and so do the rest of the Argos. With the league’s best O-Line giving him time and space for my favourite player in the league A.J. Ouellette to run, no one can touch them in the East. The fact they can clinch first place with 7 games to go is wild. The final third of their season being completely useless in the standings might be the craziest part of this wacky CFL season.


Winnipeg Blue Bombers – Contenders (Last Week – Contenders)

So much for this being the most vulnerable Bombers team in the last few years. Don’t make them angry, you wouldn’t like them when they’re angry… Zach Collaros is playing at an MOP level, Brady Oliveira is going to win Top Canadian (and should be in the discussions for MOP as well). They’re just on another level when they play at IG Field and if the West Final is there, it will take a PERFECT game to beat them.


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