Which Blake Bortles are we going to get? Over the last 3 weeks Bortles has led the NFL in touchdown passes — unfortunately for him and the Jags he also threw 3 interceptions against the Texans last week. The Bills’ pass defense is giving up nearly 270 yards a game through the air, and have given up an average of over 2 passing touchdowns a game this year, so Bortles should have no problem moving the ball down field and getting this team into the end zone. On the flip side the Bills rank eighth in the NFL in interceptions with 7 on the season. The turnover prone Blake Bortles will need to play close to a mistake free game for the Jaguars to have a shot.
Can the running game bounce back? The Bills are strong against the run, giving up only 87 yards a game on the ground, which will make this a tough task for a Jaguars’ rushing attack that has struggled mightily this season. Jaguars’ starting running back, T.J. Yeldon, hasn't practiced this week due to a groin injury and is highly questionable for Sunday. With an injured Yeldon, the running situation for the Jags look grim, but who knows, maybe Robinson can show us some of what he did last season, or Gerhart can finally have an effective game as a Jag. Here’s to hoping…
Can the Jaguars manufacture an effective pass rush? Surprisingly the Jaguars are actually tied for 15th in the league in sacks, averaging 2 sacks per game, but they do not consistently get pressure on the quarterback. Coach Bradley said after the game against the Texans, in which they only recorded one sack, that the Jaguars would be looking to bring more pressure. The Jaguars generally send only four players to rush the quarterback, but on the season they have been a much more effective pass defense, when they have sent 5 or more pass rushers. They need to start blitzing more on passing downs, and it seems like they will. Regardless of who starts for the Bills on Sunday at quarterback, the Jags will need to apply pressure to get their defense off the field, and maybe just maybe, force a turnover — The Jags have only forced 3 turnovers all year.
Get Excited! Be prepared to watch the terrific pass catching trio of Allen Hurns, Allen Robinson, and Julius Thomas have a field day against a Bills’ defense that is giving up a ton of yards through the air this year. While Julius Thomas has been injured most of the year, he had an awesome game against the Texans last week, in which he had 7 catches for 78 yards and a touchdown. While Thomas is getting back in the swing of things, Hurns and Robinson have been dominating opposing defenses this year. Individually they are both having great seasons, but together they form what has been the best wide receiver tandem in the NFL this year. They have combined for an astounding 57 catches, 948 yards, and 9 touchdowns, with 15 catches of 20 yards or more. They are currently on pace to combine for 152 catches, 2,528 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 40 receptions of 20 yards or more. These numbers are unheard of in Jacksonville since the days of Thunder & Lightning (Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell).
The Bills are Banged Up -- Some of the best players on the Bills' roster will not be suiting up for them this week. Kyle Williams, Karlos Williams, and Sammy Watkins have been held out of practice all week, and it appears that they are unlikely to play, while Percy Harvin is missing the game for personal reasons. With the Bills down so many weapons on offense and one of their very best on defense, this could be an ideal situation for a Jags' victory.