The Saskatchewan Roughriders have a chance to eliminate a divisional opponent from playoff contention and stick it to a familiar foe in one fell swoop on Friday.
The Riders are set to host the Edmonton Elks this week and a victory would improve the team’s record to 7-7, moving them eight points ahead of Edmonton in the West Division standings. Given that Saskatchewan has already won the season series between the two teams, this would eliminate Edmonton from playoff contention as they have only four games on their regular season schedule beyond this week.
Edmonton’s head coach and general manager Chris Jones is set to return to Regina for the first time on Friday since leaving the club in January 2019 to take a job in the NFL. He served as the head coach and general manager in Saskatchewan for three seasons (2016-2018) and posted a 27-27 record in the regular season and a 1-2 record in the playoffs.
Jones left the Riders to become a senior defensive specialist with the Cleveland Browns and served in that role for one year before head coach Kevin Stefanski was fired. He spent his second year with the Browns working in an analytics role and wasn’t retained following the completion of the 2020 season.
The 54-year-old was hired as the head coach at his alma mater of South Pittsburg High School in Tennessee in April 2021, calling it his “dream job.” He coached only one game at the school before resigning to join the Toronto Argonauts in September 2021. He was hired by Edmonton following the completion of the season after previously winning a Grey Cup as the team’s head coach in 2015.
The Elks have struggled in Jones’ first year back at the helm and are currently at the bottom of the West Division standings with a 3-10 record. Saskatchewan has won both previous head-to-head matchups this year with a 26-16 victory in Week 2 and a 34-23 victory in Week 10. Both games were played at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton where the Elks have lost 14 consecutive regular season games, tying a league record.
Friday’s game is set to get underway at 9:30 p.m. EDT at Mosaic Stadium where the Riders are 3-4 so far this season.