BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Coming off a victory over the Miami Dolphins the Buffalo Bills are set to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars today.
Buffalo has had a great track record against rookie quarterbacks under Sean McDermott. Can that continue against the first overall pick?
Buffalo is the better team in every phase. The Bills have a franchise quarterback, a defense that has forced 18 turnovers [second most in the NFL] and even a kicker that was named the Special Teams Player of the Month for October.
All that said, the Bills can’t change their identity. Last week against the Dolphins they played an uncharacteristic first half littered with mistakes, especially on offense. Jacksonville might not have the talent the Bills do, but they have some game changers on defense that could cause problems.
Jags linebacker Josh Allen, I know, it’s weird, has 4.5 sacks and 31 total tackles this season. He’s a dynamic pass rusher that the Bills are hoping won’t get to their Josh Allen. Regardless, I just hope they pose for a Josh Allen picture prior to the game.
On offense, despite his slow start, I still think Trevor Lawrence is going to be a really good NFL quarterback. He’s flashed a few times per game with big plays and chances are he’ll do that again against the Bills. James Robinson, the Jags bell-cow at running back, might not play, which would be a big blow for the Jags. He’s a really good player and the Bills run defense has been good this year, but not great.
The Jags should have a bright future with Lawrence at the helm, but they’ve got a long way to go. Buffalo’s roster is a cut above Jacksonville and should be coming back to Western New York with another win.
Bills 31, Jaguars 18
Season record: 5-2
The Buffalo Bills looked sluggish to start last week's game, and they were able to afford it against a struggling Dolphins team who just continually has trouble capitalizing. This week, the Bills are facing another opponent that's had its fair share of struggles, but it's a week I personally think they can't afford to start sluggish - especially when it's against a team you're so much better than in so many areas of the game.
The biggest problem, in my opinion for this Bills offense, will be the line's protection of their own Josh Allen from the other Josh Allen they'll be going up against. The Jags' Allen is really the bright spot of their defense, coming off a two-sack performance and seems to really be getting better week by week. The only good news in that? The Bills' Allen does fairly well on his feet, but hopefully he won't have the other Allen in his face too much.
Coach Sean McDermott is 5-1 against rookie QBs, his only loss coming to Sam Darnold back in 2018. During those six games, the rookie QBs have thrown for a combined four touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Trevor Lawrence started his rookie campaign off with a lot of mistakes, but since has gotten much better on the stat sheet. The Bills defense is a whole other ballgame though, and I can see the best unit in the league giving him a very long Sunday.
That Manningcast curse? I'd be shocked if it's still alive this week. The Bills should win this game by a few scores and I think they will.
Bills: 29, Jaguars: 13
Season record: 4-3
The next few weeks should frankly be as easy as they come for the Buffalo Bills. I think we all expected the Miami Dolphins to be better than they are. Maybe not good, but better. The next two opponents, the Jaguars and the Jets, had the top two draft picks in April and look every bit the part for that high of a selection again this season.
Jacksonville's was better put to use, though, with Trevor Lawrence. While the touchdown/interception ratio hasn't been there for the Clemson product, the yardage and usage has been halfway through his rookie season. And that's not even the best (take that with a grain of salt) part of the Jaguars offense. As a team, Jacksonville averages over five yards per carry.
The Bills have been pretty stout against the run all year. Leslie Frazier's unit allows less than 100 yards per game on the ground. If Lawrence doesn't have that consistency behind him to get the Jaguars into 2nd and 3rd and manageable, this is another inexperienced quarterback that the Bills should be able to terrorize early and often.
Final Score: Bills 31, Jaguars 14
Season Record: 4-3