Jaguars vs. Bills: It’s Another Sunday
I will never be convinced that an NFL game is a must-win – unless, of course, a team needs to win that game to get into the playoffs. A win and you’re in scenario. Other than that, “must-win” is overused.
The Jacksonville Jaguars travel to play the Buffalo Bills this Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Sitting at 2-2, this is the third straight season the Jaguars have held this same record. They say the third time’s a charm. For Jacksonville and its fans, a trouncing should be in place against a weak 0-4 squad.
Coming off a thrilling, last-second victory over divisional rival Indianapolis, the Jags are riding high. It truly was, as head coach Jack Del Rio put it, a jolt our city felt because of Josh Scobee’s 59-yard boot.
On Wednesday, quarterback David Garrard, on the impact of the win over the Colts, added, “It was huge, just for all of our confidence. The more we continue to get confidence in one another the better this team can play. That’s no different for me. I’m human and anytime you can get a good win like that, it can cure a lot of things. For the most part, it has.”
In my opinion, this Bills’ game could pose somewhat of a trap. After having your head in the clouds, returning back to ground level is tough. When questioned by the media if Sunday’s game could be a trap, star running back Maurice Jones-Drew stated, “I don’t think so. We’re going there; it’s always tough to play in Buffalo.”
However, Buffalo has been through more change than some NFL rosters will see in an entire season. Within the last 10 days, the Bills released former starting quarterback Trent Edwards, who was claimed off waivers by Jacksonville, and traded one of the team’s running backs, Marshawn Lynch, to the Seattle Seahawks for two future draft picks.
In addition to a little roster shakeup, the Bills are ranked last in the NFL in overall offense – 207 yards per game – and in the passing game. Winless Buffalo, in its first season under head coach Chan Gailey, has Harvard’s own Ryan Fitzpatrick as a starting quarterback.
In starting the last two games, the 27-year-old Fitzpatrick has completed 58.2 percent of his passes, thrown for 375 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. Last year, in an 18-15 loss to the Jaguars, Fitzpatrick, who has started 25 career games, had 297 yards through the air coupled with two touchdowns and two picks.
The Bills and Jaguars have met the last four seasons. They are all square at two games apiece. During those contests, Jacksonville outscored Buffalo, 94-76. This is not a game that is being served to the Jaguars on a silver platter. In fact, NFL games are never gimmes.
Del Rio, confirming that the Jaguars have the Colts game in their rearview mirror, said, “To me, the professionalism in our building, much like you’ll find up there [Buffalo] I’m sure, the coaches and players are preparing to their very best and really that’s what it’s all about and that’s where we are and that’s where we need to be.”
For Jacksonville to land a “W” this Sunday, they need for Garrard to continue his consistency and to establish the run early on the Bills’ 32nd-ranked rush defense. Since Edwards was brought in, the team has been asking him a lot of questions about Buffalo’s offensive and defensive schemes. But, most importantly, Edwards has been assisting Garrard in giving him background information on the Bills. “Whatever Dave needs out of me, I’m going to be there for him.”
With regards to Buffalo’s recent struggles stopping the run, Jones-Drew assessed, “They stop our run well. That’s what they’ve done the last couple of years.” He continued, “I don’t really worry about what the stats mean. The stats don’t mean anything. You’ve got to go out there and prove it every Sunday.”
For the Jaguars, proving themselves this Sunday might not be any easier than the last.
Richard Miller is the host of “Miller On Sports” weekdays on talk radio 600 WBOB from 1pm until 2pm. On Mondays and Tuesdays, he broadcasts live from City Hall Pub. You can listen live at www.600wbob.com.
On Sundays, Richard covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for Sporting News Radio. Currently, Richard is writing David Lamm’s biography entitled Lamm at Large: The David Lamm Story, which will be available in 2011.
Follow Richard’s daily blog at MillerOnSports.com, or find him on Facebook and Twitter!