April 18, 2014

NFL Story
By Derek Harper, The Sports Xchange
Publish Date: December 11, 2013 05:15:22 PM


Game Scout: Bills at Jaguars

Buffalo Bills (4-9) at Jacksonville Jaguars (4-9)
Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Fla. - TV: CBS
*TV announcers: Marv Albert, Rich Gannon
*Keys to the game: Bills coach Doug Marrone was careful in saying he's not dialing back game plans, but it's never a good sign when a coach says in Week 15 that it's time to "re-evaluate" giving a struggling rookie quarterback more to learn. It reeks of the Mark Sanchez treatment. EJ Manuel is coming off a four-interception performance in Tampa last week, when the Bills imploded by falling behind early and the offensive line crumbled in trying to hold up in a one-dimensional attack. The Jaguars are rapidly improving across the board, including a run defense that will play a critical role in containing RBs C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson and forcing the pressure onto Manuel. Offensively, the Jaguars hope to have RB Maurice Jones-Drew (hamstring) available to shoulder the workload. QB Chad Henne has thrown only one interception over the past three games, but despite the team's recent run the offensive line is still very vulnerable and Buffalo leads the league with 44 sacks.
*Matchup to watch Bills LB Kiko Alonso vs. Jones-Drew/Jordan Todman: Buffalo credits Alonso with 131 tackles, and he's in the mix for Defensive Player of the Year honors as a rookie. But he was also out of position on an 80-yard run at the start of last week's game that dug Buffalo an early hole that soon turned into a crater. Todman is in line for more work with Jones-Drew battling a hamstring injury and Justin Forsett placed on injured reserve.
*Player spotlight Bills RG J.J. 'Unga: Marrone said the goal is to increase 'Unga's playing time after he took 10 percent of Kraig Urbik's snaps.
*Fast facts: Manuel has nine touchdown passes and needs one to match the rookie team record (Dennis Shaw, 1970). ... Cecil Shorts needs 223 receiving yards to become the first Jaguar to reach 1,000 since Jimmy Smith in 2005.
WHO WILL WIN AND WHY
Buffalo went from a young team needing to make one play or two in order to turn the competitive corner to "the same ol' Bills" in the span of three hours in Tampa last week. They return to Florida seven days later to face a rejuvenated Jaguars team that is also physical refreshed with 10 days between games.
*Our pick: Jaguars 21-2


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