Top 3 Individual Matchups
Bills Top 2 Advantages
Good advantage – Run defense – Buffalo’s season ranking is 31st against the run, but over the last two games the Bills have not allowed 90 yards rushing to their opponents (Mia., Ind.). With Jacksonville managing just over 81 yards on the ground the Bills should be able to make the Jaguars one-dimensional.
Best advantage – Run game – The Bills should have no trouble picking up good chunk yardage on the ground. Jacksonville is 29th against the run surrendering more than 136 rushing yards per game. The combination of
Bills Number 1 Must
Win third down – Buffalo has struggled on third down on both sides of the ball of late. Against a Jaguars offense that’s 31st in the NFL in converting third downs and a defense that ranks 24th in getting third down stops, the Bills need to have a better success rate than Jacksonville Sunday.
Tied for last in the league in sacks with just 13 so far this season, the Jaguars put in a waiver claim and were awarded Philadelphia cast-off Jason Babin. The veteran pass rusher had just 5.5 sacks in 11 games for the Eagles this season, but is coming off an 18-sack season in 2011. With almost no pass rush to speak of, Babin is expected to give Jacksonville’s pressure packages a boost. Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey said Babin should play on Sunday.
Chad in charge
Ever since he took over for the injured Blaine Gabbert two weeks ago, Chad Henne has been a shot in the arm for the Jaguars attack. In the last two games Henne has passed for 615 yards with six touchdowns and one interception for a passer rating of 119. He helped lift Jacksonville to their second win of the season as they beat Tennessee (26-17). He’s also boosted Justin Blackmon’s production as he’s had 298 yards receiving with 2 TDs the past two games.
The Jaguars had a big problem with pass protection last week, and have now slipped to 28th in the league in sacks allowed. Tennessee had seven sacks of Henne in the game last week. Jacksonville has given up 34 quarterback takedowns on the season, and they do not look to be improving. After giving up 12 sacks in September and then just eight in October, Jacksonville gave up 14 in the month of November.
With Maurice Jones-Drew down all season with a persistent foot injury, the Jaguars initially turned to his backup the last few seasons in Rashad Jennings. However, Jennings was ineffective through the four games in which he handled the bulk of the workload. The Jaguars chose to start Jalen Parmele each of the past two weeks and his production was respectable gaining 80 yards on 24 carries against the Texans number two ranked run defense. Last week however, he sustained a groin injury that ultimately landed him on injured reserve. So the Jaguars are going back to Jennings this week against the Bills. Jennings only has two career carries against Buffalo for eight yards.
The long on Shorts
A fourth-round pick out of Division III Mount Union, Jaguars WR Cecil Shorts leads all AFC South receivers in touchdowns (6), receiving average (20.8) and is third in receptions of 20 yards or more (14) behind the Colts Reggie Wayne and the Texans’ Andre Johnson. Four of Shorts’ six touchdowns have come on the road where he also averages 20.5 yards per catch. Shorts is a popular target having been thrown to 52 times in the last six games by Jacksonville QBs. However, he was added to Jacksonville’s injury report with a hamstring injury Thursday.
Red zone producers
The Jaguars might be dead last in the league in offense and 29th in scoring, but when they get to the red zone they’re pretty productive. Jacksonville ranks 14th in the league in red zone touchdown percentage finding the end zone better than 54 percent of the time (54.5%). Though they only have 12 touchdowns on their 22 red zone trips this season, they’re the only team in the NFL to come away with points on every one of their possessions inside the opponent’s 20-yard line (12 TDs, 10 FGs). Of course they have also made the fewest trips to the red zone in the league.
On the defensive side of the ball the Jaguars rank 13th in red zone defense allowing touchdowns 51 percent of the time.
Quote of the Week
“This is what we do. That won’t be hard for us at all. Everybody in this locker room is a competitor. We’re going to come out and continue to play and continue to fight because that’s just what we do and the type of character that we have and it won’t be hard for us to get up for the game this weekend.”
--RB Fred Jackson – on playing hard despite playoff hopes being dim
Stat of the Week
The Bills are second in the league in number of 20-plus yard runs this season with 13 in 11 games.
Milestones in reach
C.J. Spiller needs 170 rushing yards for his first 1,000-yard rushing season.
Mario Williams needs 1.5 sacks to become the first Bill since 2009 (Aaron Schobel, 10) to reach double-digit sack in a season.