I’ll keep it brief because I’m on holidays this week. But for posterity’s sake, and also to make it official that I went 4-0 last week, here’s what I see going into Week 5.
The Power Rankings
(Previous ranking in parentheses)
1. Edmonton (4) — Another illustration of the importance of defence, and how can you not admire the mental toughness of this team? It’s been panned from coast to coast, and yet they find ways to win games ugly, but win them just the same.
2. Calgary (5) — Find a team that’s been more entertaining to watch this season, and not always for the right reasons. This team has been a handful for John Hufnagel, and while the discipline has been problematic, the desire has been anything but.
3. Saskatchewan (1) — The fourth-quarter meltdown wasn’t easy to swallow, and we’re still trying to figure out what Saskatchewan was doing on defence in the final five minutes. But the Riders have already exceeded plenty of expectations with this start.
4. B.C. (2) — Mike Benevides faces his first major challenge as a head coach this week. The Lions looked like a sloppy football team against the Riders, and that has to be cleaned up in a hurry for this team to return to its Grey Cup form.
5. Hamilton (6) — Henry Burris is coming off a wonderful outing against the Alouettes, and that offence looks like a far more polished unit than the group that got pistol-whipped in Week 1 by the Roughriders.
6. Toronto (7) — Not the prettiest win last week against the Bombers, but those were the games that tended to get away from the Argos last year. They continue to be a work in progress, but they are no longer a team to be dismissed easily.
7. Montreal (3) — The Alouette defence has been exploited badly in recent weeks, and there has to be more than a few fingers being pointed at co-ordinator Jeff Reinebold. And, quite frankly, the offence is looking ordinary.
8. Winnipeg (8) — Finally, a home game, but there’s been plenty of damage done — both physically and mentally — during the four road games to open the season. This is a fragile football team; maybe a long-waited-for home game will provide a tonic.
Toronto over Winnipeg
Calgary over Saskatchewan
Edmonton over B.C.
Hamilton over Montreal
Week 4 scores
Toronto 25, Winnipeg 22
Calgary 41, Saskatchewan 38 (OT)
Edmonton 27, B.C. 14
Hamilton 39, Montreal 24
Last week: 4-0 (!). Season: 12-4
Week 5 Picks
(All times MDT; all games on TSN)
Edmonton at Winnipeg, 6:30 p.m. — Scary-good defence against struggling offence with a backup quarterback at the helm. The Bombers will be better playing in front of their great hometown fans. But not good enough. Edmonton.
Toronto at Montreal, 5:30 p.m. — Argos coach Scott Milanovich and safety Etienne Boulay return to Molson Stadium for the first time as members of the visiting team. The Als have been anything but convincing, but they’ll raise their game against the Argos. Montreal
Hamilton at Saskatchewan, 4 p.m. — Andy Fantuz makes his return to Regina, and one wonders how the Mosaic faithful will greet that combination of Fantuz and Henry Burris. Lots of emotions at play on both sidelines, but the better defence wins the day. Saskatchewan.
B.C. at Calgary, 7 p.m. — The Stamps have proven that nothing will come easily for them this season, while the Lions were maybe guilty of believing that they would have a cakewalk en route to back-to-back Grey Cups. The Stamps are playing the better football of the team teams. Calgary.