3Down Power Rankings: Eskimos take top spot

With CFL training camps set to open on Sunday, it’s time for the final off-season edition of 3DownNation Power Rankings.

We did our last edition in mid-March after some of the dust had settled from the CFL free agency period but before the draft and a bunch of other player and coaching moves. And while there’s likely to be some jockeying over the next few days, rosters are coming into focus across the league.

We do our power rankings by having 3Down contributors rank the teams from No. 1 to No. 9. The team with the fewest “points” gets the top ranking, the second fewest is No. 2 and so on.

While our No. 1 team remains unchanged – the Edmonton Eskimos – there has been some shuffling of the deck in the middle of the pack while B.C. and Montreal are still at the bottom and will likely stay there until they prove otherwise.

1. Edmonton Eskimos (Previous ranking: 1)

After squeaking into the top spot in March, Edmonton solidified their hold on the No. 1 ranking this time around. They had a solid draft, locked up their coach and GM to long-term contracts – and they have Mike Reilly at quarterback.

2. Toronto Argonauts (Previous ranking: 3)

The Argos move up on the strength of a solid off-season and the fact that Calgary, who held the No. 2 spot in March, has suffered some unexpected losses in the interim.

3. Calgary Stampeders (Previous ranking: 2)

After losing some big names in free agency, the Stamps must now deal with the unexpected retirement of back up quarterback Andrew Buckley and the legal issues surrounding star return man Roy Finch.

4. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (Previous ranking: 5)

The Bombers followed a strong performance in free agency with another solid draft under general manager Kyle Walters. But a big question looms: who backs up quarterback Matt Nichols?

5. Saskatchewan Roughriders (Previous ranking: 4)

The Riders nipped the Bombers for the fourth spot in the last edition of the rankings but drop a spot after a draft that included taking offensive lineman Dakoda Shepley, who has a contract with the New York Jets, in the first round despite some questions surrounding their Canadian depth.

6. Ottawa Redblacks (Previous ranking: 7)

The Redblacks had a terrific draft, getting some offensive line depth as well as help at receiver and defensive back.

7. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (Previous ranking: 6)

The Ticats drop a spot after dealing away an all-star Canadian offensive lineman and turning their established offensive line into a question mark.

8. B.C. Lions (Previous ranking: 8)

After a disappointing 2017, the Lions will have to show improvement under new general manager Ed Hervey before climbing up the rankings.

9. Montreal Alouettes (Previous ranking: 9)

Despite a solid draft, Kahlil Carter’s sudden departure as defensive coordinator only added to question marks surrounding Montreal. Plus, they still don’t have a proven quarterback…


77 Comments on 3Down Power Rankings: Eskimos take top spot

  1. Mr Red. // May 17, 2018 at 10:33 am //

    How can Edmonton be ahead of Calgary? No games have been played, all you can go off of is last years results

    • BlueBomberChris // May 17, 2018 at 10:45 am //

      They say in the opening paragraphs how they quantified the rankings. Considering lots changes in an offseason it would be naive to think that how they finished last season would equal their (let’s be honest pointless) rankings in the new season.

      These may prove to be accurate, or way off base. We won’t really know until June 14th and days that follow

    • greenenvy? // May 17, 2018 at 10:49 am //

      Not exactly Red – last year’s results plus changes in personnel. Edmonton had 12 wins, Calgary 13. Esks didn’t lose too many games when they were relatively healthy. Have added Gable to White, Stamps will have unknown at RB. Last year’s results, if you like, for Williams at RB is one game. I think Argos are deservedly better as well. Again, set at RB, for one. Without going down the rosters, Stamps lost a few more big names than the teams ahead of them.

      • Mr Red. // May 17, 2018 at 10:50 am //

        Calgary lost 1 meaningful game last season

        • Yes, I’d say the Grey Cup is a pretty “meaningful” game.

          Maybe try focusing on winning that one this year, instead of being front runners in August.

        • Mr Red. // May 17, 2018 at 11:01 am //

          Calgary lost 2 meaningful games last season

          • McMahon sucks // May 17, 2018 at 12:00 pm //

            Red, take your head out of your denying *ss and recognize that after those 3 straight losses at the end of the season, everyone but you knew that they were screwed. You are so full of it that it is both hilarious and frustrating. I guess when you are the favorite and continue to fail to live up to expectations you start to look for any desperate excuse.

        • greenenvy? // May 17, 2018 at 11:07 am //

          As the season goes, they ARE their record. Goes for Eskimos, Calgary etc.. The fact Eskimos had injuries is irrelevant, the fact that Stamps took the last 3 games off is irrelevant. My point is in the end, however they got there, there was 1 win separating them. So if you want to say Calgary should be 17-1 or 18-0 that’s great, but that’s ignoring that this season there will be games when the same thing happens. The past does have some say to this year unless you change the entire roster of each team every year. You can look at who they kept, lost, added on & make an informed opinion.

        • The record in August is irrelevant. Remember when BC started 0-5 and went on to win the Grey Cup in 2011?

          The only thing that matters is winning the last game of the season. That’s it.

          Don’t blow your wad in August and September trying to win the “regular season championship”.

    • It’s Power Rankings based on rosters and FA signings etc
      Don’t worry this won’t count in the standings.

    • Because Edmonton is A FAR SUPERIOR team coming into the season. How daft are you? Do you understand power rankings at all Red? Oh right, if Calgary isn’t number one you are completely dumbfounded.

      • I dont think so pal since warren moon left years ago the eskimos have been crap

        • The Eskies are crap? I guess you dont remember 2015 Grey Cup Championship Eskies hey ,the difference is when the Eskies go to the cup they win and dont Choke like your stumps lol

        • Outwest // May 19, 2018 at 9:15 am //

          Are you sure about that,, Moons last season was 1983, their stats since ’83.
          Western Division Champions: 1986, 1987, 1990, 1993, 1996, 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2015
          Grey Cup championships: 1987, 1993, 2003, 2005 and 2015

          Doesn’t look like crap to me.

    • Common mr red your starting to sound like a true sliders fan with all your whining

  2. greenenvy? // May 17, 2018 at 10:40 am //

    Hard to disagree with this. Close to where I have my rankings. I’d have Ottawa lower. Draft was good but the areas that need addressing, DL in particular, didn’t get addressed. Defence still looks like a mess to me. Eskimos & Argos look like clear #1’s in their respective divisions.

    • Based upon the moves by the Ticats I would have them lower. No FA signings, trading away a key blocker and no changes to a team that only had 6 wins

      • Don’t forget about the horrifically bad decision to appoint Jokey Granville as the DC.

      • Yellow Stripes // May 17, 2018 at 11:49 am //

        No FA signings? I guess you are looking at a different league? They signed many of the top FA’s they just happened to be their own. One big change after going 0-8 and 0-12 over two seasons is now a rider, so I would think that is a big enough change. I think that 1 key blocker has been comfortably replaced. But hey these rankings really mean nothing until they actually play so we will see.

  3. Mr Red. // May 17, 2018 at 10:41 am //

    Why are people so concerned about Calgary’s QB situation?
    Bo has proved durable, the best protector he’s ever had is back.
    Calgary goes into this season with a more experienced back up than they did last year!

    • They signed Nick Arbuckle today and they have Stanzi.
      Stanzi was 4 for 8 last season, I suppose that is a lot of experience as a back up.

      • Mr Red. // May 17, 2018 at 11:26 am //

        Plus his time in the NFL….He’s had as much or more pro experience than Buckley had this time last year

        • Stanzi was a joke in the NFL. You do realize this right Red? He trashed the facilities in KC like a little baby and was laughed out of the organization. I guess that type of attitude firs the Crybaby Stamps tho.

          • Well Fred – at least if Stanzi blows a gasket, he won’t have to worry about trashing the facilities.

          • all i can say is when the dust settles and once more where champs you can hang your hat on these rankings…at least youll have that

          • You tell em red
            you rule

  4. Scottsask // May 17, 2018 at 10:42 am //

    How can anyone be ahead of anyone at all. Until s ball is snapped, this is completely pointless.

    • greenenvy? // May 17, 2018 at 10:53 am //

      As it is with the rankings after 1 game played, 2 games played Scottsask. Everyone does rankings. When you comment upon here that your team doesn’t get the respect or on how great Collaros will be, or Hughes etc. guess what? You’re in fact ranking your team vis-a-vis other teams. What’s the big deal?

    • POWER RANKINGS – it’s about some sports writers evaluating the off season moves and the current talent.
      TSN does their own rankings.
      Some people will cry about it but it does mean nothing.
      It’s like the poll last year just before the Grey Cup
      50% of people polled said that the Grey Cup means a lot and they would be watching – which would’ve translated to around a viewership of 16 million people but when the released the ratings they ended up with 3.8 Million total

  5. These are projections, my friends.

    It’s a complete waste of time to just regurgitate last year’s standings when putting together a projected power rank.

    It’s like the rankings during the season – – everyone only looks at the current record and ignores what’s ahead. That’s completely naive and something that you’d expect from a casual fan.

  6. Mike Reilly is unquestionably the best QB in the league, so you can’t argue with Edmonton at the top of the rankings.

    ZERO possibility the Bombers are ahead of Regina. Not as long as they’re relying on Scrub Nichols and that feeble pop gun offence. That’s why they’re always one-and-done in the playoffs.

    • greenenvy? // May 17, 2018 at 11:01 am //

      I agree 51. One of nearly every 4 passes went to Harris on mostly dump passes. Let him pick up the yards. Add in his touches on the ground & that’s pretty much the Bomber offence. Bowman may open up the passing game but Nichols was terrible at the long ball last year. As for Richie Hall & the defence. Nuff said.

      • BC Bomber // May 18, 2018 at 11:15 am //

        And yet, Nichols tied Ray for best completion percentage and had the best efficiency rating in the league, 2nd best QUAR rating, the BBs scored the most points overall in the league, the most points off of turnovers, had the most rushing yards, threw the least number of interceptions, had the most number of interceptions, the least number of penalties and penalty yardage, and finished second in the league standings. It’s called ball control, playing to your strengths, and discipline, and it wins games. Yes, we have to get over the playoff hump, but 7 other teams didn’t win the Cup either.

        • Reilly is a proven champion and Grey Cup MVP. Scrub Nichols hasn’t even won a single playoff game in his career.

  7. One thing we know for sure is that Montreal and BC have already been eliminated from the playoffs.

    The only thing to watch for with those two bottom feeders is how low the attendance numbers will sink this year.

    • You can kind of understand the people in losing cities with low attendance. That is usually expected.
      What to watch will be, can the Argos attract bigger crowds with a good winning team and coming off a Grey Cup win. If they average below 14k again, MLSE has to throw in the towel and ditch them.

  8. Jeimiah was a bull frog // May 17, 2018 at 11:01 am //

    I agree to how pointless this is. To rate teams by what is on paper is useless hogwash. You can draft the #1 guy and he’s a bust. Re: Josiah Saint James. While other times they come through so well they leave for the NFL after 2 years. Re: Ben Herman or Brett Jones.
    If you honestly think that this last draft makes a difference on a CFL team this year. Then 3DownNation you have lost any football credibility with me. No Canadian College draft has taken and CFL team and instantly made them better. Shit some of the draft choices will barely makes special teams.
    Also with SK no longer wanting RB Francis and instead getting Messam for similar dollars. As well as the Riders allowing Denali to go to free agency without an offer tells you that they no longer felt his health problems was worth the chance. Maybe or maybe not Nick Demsky will make a difference in Winnipeg.
    Until the camps are over and we know what each team looks like. Rating at this point is foolish. Too many highly touted players on paper never make a difference on a CFL team.
    Frankly I think both the East and the West will have new teams that take the divisions. With playoff games in new stadiums this season. It is going to be an awesome season with more parity than we’ve seen in a long time.

    • Mr Red. // May 17, 2018 at 11:03 am //

      Spoken like a fan of a team who drafts very poorly.
      Calgary has drafted players the last 2 years who have made instant impacts.

    • Al Singleton had a huge impact as a rookie. As did Brett Jones.

      Not only were they able to step in immediately, they stepped in as NI starters.

      I fully agree that very little talent comes out of the CFL draft each year, but dismissing it entirely is a foolishly naive mistake. As Chris Jones has been doing in Regina with his wasted drafts.

    • Yes, how many years were the Tiger Cats rated the “best team on paper” ?? they should’ve put paper down on top of the artificial turf

      • No question the TiCats had some huge talent. What a wasted opportunity for Hamilton to finally win their first Grey Cup of the century. All thanks to the inept coaching of Shovelface.

        • you think you are more knowledgeable than Mr Red huh pal

          are you the one that rules

          i dont think so

  9. Power rankings are great fun for journalists looking to elicit reader responses.

  10. Red&White Forever // May 17, 2018 at 11:06 am //

    Power rankings are always crap (they’re somone’s opinion), even more so when nobody’s played a game yet.

  11. Ron Lancaster HOF : stated many times: Regardless what the media does, you must play football the full 60 minutes “on the field”. IMO, 2018 will be very competitive. Key injuries will decide the winners. 2017 the Argos were washed up by media. Hmmn, and who won the GC105? Good luck all teams. You all have the chance .

    • That’s pretty much the blueprint to win a championship in the CFL – – just get to the Grey Cup, let Calgary shit their pants and self destruct, then voila!

      In 2016 the Stamps spent Grey Cup week hitting all the clubs and bars in Toronto.

      In 2017 the Stamps decided it was more important to have a player KTFO a coach than it was to win a Grey Cup.

  12. Rider Fan // May 17, 2018 at 11:34 am //

    I don’t know if the Toronto rates that high. They lost there DC. Sask is a middle of the pack team yet I feel. I think Calgary will lose it dominance over the league. I still wonder if the Peg can take it to the next level, as they lost a couple of key players. The Esks are going to be near the top or be the class of the league. I think the east is still building yet. Hope it is a great season.

  13. There’s little value in these subjective “power rankings” but I’d say the Stamps are rated far too high.

  14. Randy morton // May 17, 2018 at 12:28 pm //

    This article is BS start the power rankings after week 1 !

  15. Russell // May 17, 2018 at 12:52 pm //

    For whatever reason, I think that Montreal is in disarray. That needs to be dealt with.

    In Vancouver, Travis Lulay’s career may be over. But if not, I expect the team to do well with him “at the helm.”

    In Regina, Zach Collaros needs to prove that he can win games. He has looked great since his return from injury, but his team always lost.

    I like Nicholls. I expect Winnipeg to do well.

    Last year Hamilton finished the season on a roll, but we cannot assume that that streak will continue. It’s a new year.

    The coaches and management of Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton have proven their competence, and I expect those four teams to do well.

    I enjoy reading the pre-season analyses ever year. But I don’t think any of it matters because a team’s success usually is a matter of injuries (which cannot be predicted, except in the case of Drew Tate).

  16. Why doesn’t the writer have the cajones to put his name to the story instead of 3 Down Staff? If you guys write something, then OWN IT as far as reactions go. Don’t hide.

  17. McMahon sucks // May 17, 2018 at 1:09 pm //

    what’s funny is the weight the draft is being put on this year or any year for that matter. Typically draft picks don’t come in and have an impact in the first year and more often second or third string with many of them sitting on a practice roster. They may add some depth in their first year, but they don’t tilt your scale on the season. Not that I care so much about pre-season power rankings, but just a thought.

  18. Green13 // May 17, 2018 at 1:40 pm //

    Blah blah blah blah blah….. as Calgary and Edmonton argue about who’s better, Saskatchewan will sneak into number one spot and take a Grey Cup win against Edmonton. Hahahaha don’t you agree Duron?

  19. Melonhead // May 17, 2018 at 3:01 pm //


  20. It is what it is folks. Let’s get this season underway and let the standings speak for themselves.

  21. OldBaldGuy // May 17, 2018 at 8:07 pm //

    Jeremiah…are you hammered? You got fewer names right than Don Cherry on glue!

  22. BOGUS Rankings, so much has happened to the rosters of each of the 9 CFL teams that Power Rankings before the 2018 regular season has begun are COMPLETELY useless.

  23. Edmonton #1 ahead of Calgary ???????
    Hamilton at #7 after the way they ended the season. They probably need to be #4 or #5

  24. This is pretty accurate. Lions fans are getting the shaft. Last year, it was a mediocre squad at best and they haven’t done squat to improve. A grumpy old owner, a coach with one foot out the door and two so-so QB’s. I used to be frustrated, now I starting not to care.

  25. Mike Reilly is very questionable. He is good but he has a lot of deficiencies such as his mediocre pass accuracy over 20 yards and his tendency to throw others under the bus that always gets overlooked because he runs recklessly like a 2 day old colt without regard for his safety or the teams well being.
    Beyond college, a QB (Bo Levi, Ricky Ray) that knows where the line of scrimmage is located is far preferable.

    • greenenvy? // May 19, 2018 at 2:11 am //

      Check facts on cfl website. Reilly was the most accurate QB iin the league according to TSN stats guru Taylor. Second overall for passes over 20 yards. Better than Ray or BLM in both categories. No offence to the latter 2. All 3 are great QB’s.

    • Outwest // May 19, 2018 at 9:27 am //

      WTF are you talking about, Reilly is the most dedicated team payer in the league, please enlighten us as to when he ever threw a team member under the bus. This man has done nothing but carry the teams issues on his shoulders. A reckless runner yes that he is but it’s about heart and the drive to win. I’ll go with the fact he’s not the most accurate thrower in the league but it can’t be argued he’s the best alround QB out there right now. Never quit, never whine, just play to win that’s what makes him #1.

  26. MR. Green // May 18, 2018 at 3:59 pm //

    I’m fine with these rankings, for now they seem about right. Of course they will change all season. Edmonton had a ton of injuries still managed a good season lSo paying Flutie a million was fair? Get your head out of there. Calgary was trying to buy a cup. Who knows what they paid Garcia. Overspending tems by a million is far worse than 17k to have a fair playing field. I bet over the from 1990 to 2006 teams like Calgary and Toronto spent 10 million more in salaries than others. The cap has helped everyone. Teams are pretty much all withing 50k. Did we exceed the cap by 17,000. Sure. That’s basically not going over. It’s like driving 115 in a 110 zone. Everyone does it.ast year. Toronto are the defending champs and should be even better. I think we all pick our own teams to win, especially right now. I wouldn’t be surprised, of the current top 6 or 7 rankings, could win it all, maybe even BC if thier QB has a comeback season. Montreal would surprise me. I hope Freeman works out there. It’s too bad they never kept Thorpe.

  27. MR. Green // May 18, 2018 at 4:01 pm //

    WTF! Ignore the one above.I’m fine with these rankings, for now they seem about right. Of course they will change all season. Edmonton had a ton of injuries still managed a good season. Toronto are the defending champs and should be even better. I think we all pick our own teams to win, especially right now. I wouldn’t be surprised, of the current top 6 or 7 rankings, could win it all, maybe even BC if thier QB has a comeback season. Montreal would surprise me. I hope Freeman works out there. It’s too bad they never kept Thorpe.

  28. Mr green you may be right about bc doing better than listed. Last week a Statement was made on bc sports that do be surprised if Johnny Manziel will be playing for the BC lions. Rankings will change. Let’s see if he comes and which team he ends up playing for.

  29. True Blue // May 19, 2018 at 8:24 am //

    I find it funny when people call the teams they don’t like “crap,” bad or crappy teams etc when that simply isn’t true.

    To suggest Edmonton and Mike Reilly are “crap”?! Simply not true (and I’m no Edmonton fan). They were a power house last year. Same goes for the criticism of other teams including the Bombers, much of the criticism is based on “I hate that team so I’ll say they suck.” I don’t like our arch rivals one province over but I know they don’t suck and aren’t crap, it will be a battle and a good one and it may go either way based on strong talent on each team. I wish talent and team strength could be acknowledged instead of “you guys suck”. You see some of that here but it’s mostly name calling and baseless insults.

    Looking for a great turnout from all teams this season and hoping for all teams fill seats and make their fan bases stronger this year and strengthen our league.

    Also wondering who will be the first to criticize this post for focusing on some positives.

    • BC Bomber // May 19, 2018 at 11:20 am //

      Well said!! I’ve been thinking much the same thing. I’m a loyal Bombers fan and I enjoy healthy rivalries and friendly banter, both online and at games. It adds to the fun and camaraderie of our great sport.

      I was just thinking yesterday that I wish there was a place for intelligent yet respectful conversation about the league, the teams and the players. Unfortunately, it’s not to be found here. Little here but juvenile, and petty name calling, and uninformed or irrational biases.

      Is there a site for adult CFL fans with IQs larger than shoe sizes?

  30. Evil Empire // May 19, 2018 at 11:16 am //


    These mean nothing, and I can’t believe how man jimmies have been rustled by them. Even as an Eskimo fan, they mean nothing to me. It’s nice to see the Esks on top. But, I wouldn’t put any more, or any less credence in them, no matter where the Esks were ranked. 1-9, I don’t care. They don’t hand out Championship Trophies based on power rankings… EVER. They hand them out based on wins, and losses.

    The purpose of these power rankings are to give ppl something to talk about. And they have done that. We’re here talking about the 2018 CFL season. Personally, I don’t care about the power rankings of any sport at any time. All they are is the opinions of ppl. The games still need to be played to see who wins.

    And, I hope the Eskimos win every game. I know they won’t win them all. But, I always believe the Eskimos will win their next game.

  31. Thank God the Esks took top spot. If the Stamps had taken top spot we would have had to cancel the season and just give them the Grey Cup.

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