Six Points: Bills vs. Jaguars
The Jacksonville Jaguars head to London to face the Buffalo Bills on Sunday while looking to put an end to their four-game losing streak.
The Jaguars (1-5) are coming off 31-20 loss at home to Houston in which the Texans scored 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to take control of the game.
Buffalo (3-3) enters after having lost at home last week to Cincinnati, 34-21. The Bills played without injured quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who has been ruled out for this week as well. EJ Manuel will get the start for Buffalo.
Here are three keys to the game for both the Bills and the Jaguars.
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1. Get pressure on Blake Bortles
Through six games, the Bills have just nine sacks — the 24th most in the NFL. Rex Ryan has been criticized for the way he’s using guys like Marcell Dareus and Mario Williams in coverage, so getting those two linemen back on track is important. The Bills need to pressure Bortles, who’s quietly had a great season in 2015. Using Dareus and Williams as pass rushers more often seems like a quick fix.
2. Lean on the run
Buffalo’s offense has been beat up at all three skill positions. With EJ Manuel at quarterback, the Bills will need to lean on the run with Taylor, Percy Harvin, and Sammy Watkins all sidelined. The aerial attack has struggled over the past few games, so it’s time to utilize LeSean McCoy and run the ball early and often.
3. Force the Jaguars to win on the ground
The Jaguars have the 12th-best pass offense in the league led by Bortles and Allen Robinson. To counteract the Jaguars’ aerial attack, the Bills have two great cornerbacks in Ronald Darby and Stephon Gilmore. If those two corners can limit Robinson and Allen Hurns on the outside, they can force the Jaguars’ 24th-ranked run game to beat them.
1. Generate a rushing attack
The Jaguars, who were without starting running back T.J. Yeldon last week, managed just 45 yards on the ground combined between starter Toby Gerhart and backup Denard Robinson. Yeldon, who is dealing with a groin injury, is once again uncertain for this week. Whether he plays or not, the Jaguars need to establish some sort of running game to keep the Buffalo defense honest.
2. Figure out a way to apply pressure
The Jaguars have just 12 sacks through the first six games. With that in mind, head coach Gus Bradley said this week he plans to bring more five and six-man pressures this week. Whether it works remains to be seen, but Jacksonville has to find a way to get to the quarterback and make him uncomfortable.
3. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot
After hanging with the Texans through three quarters and taking a 14-10 lead into the fourth, Jacksonville imploded. Among the miscues was a pick-six thrown by Blake Bortles, one of three turnovers in the game by the second-year quarterback. Afterward, Bradley said he thought his team was "pressing" in an effort to make plays. The Jaguars needs to cut down on the self-inflicted mistakes if they hope to emerge with a victory.