Top 3 Individual Matchups
1. Drayton Florence vs. Mike Sims-Walker –These two players know each other very well having faced each other in practice for all of 2008. Florence is a physical corner and will need to muscle Sims-Walker off his routes to disrupt his timing and rhythm with David Garrard.
2. Aaron Schobel vs. Eugene Monroe –The veteran pass rusher faces the top flight rookie in a battle that bears watching. Monroe has had his ups and downs, but is coming on now as a blind side pass protector after nine games. Whether Schobel is 100 percent recovered from a groin injury will be evident Sunday.
3. Seth McKinney vs. John Henderson –Henderson isn't quite the dominant defensive tackle he used to be, but he can still wreak havoc inside on a good day. McKinney will get some help with Henderson from Geoff Hangartner and their success will largely determine how effective Buffalo's inside run game will be.
Top 2 Bills Advantages
Good advantage –Pass protection – The Bills might be eighth in the league in sacks allowed, but they might get a break this week against Jacksonville. The Jaguars are the worst pass rushing team in football with a measly eight sacks in nine games. It's so bad that 2008 top pick Derrick Harvey has been demoted to left defensive end and draft classmate Quentin Groves is just a rotational player.
Best advantage –Pass defense – Buffalo ranks ninth in the league in pass defense and it's not just because teams have success on the ground against the Bills. Perry Fewell's defense ranks sixth in the league in passes defensed with 49. They also rank fifth in the NFL allowing just 5.92 yards per pass play.
Bills Number One Must
Red zone defense –The Bills haven't been nearly as successful this season in defending their red zone, ranking 25th in the league in touchdown percentage allowed. But Jacksonville isn't much better ranking 21st in red zone defense. If the Bills can get more red zone stops than the Jaguars they might have a chance.
Jones-Drew peakingIt's not secret that Maurice Jones-Drew is the engine driving the Jaguars offense accounting for a third of the team's total net yards (1,080) and 40 percent of their scoring (72 points). But Jones-Drew appears to be peaking as he has averaged 132.5 rushing yards in his last four games, eclipsing the 100-yard rushing total three times. He also has seven of his 12 touchdowns this season in the last four outings.
Don't sleep on QBDavid Garrard isn't a quarterback mentioned with the upper echelon signal callers in the league, but he's effective and a double threat. Jones-Drew isn't the team's only rushing threat. Garrard is the team's second leading rusher and is second in the league in rushing yards by quarterbacks. He's also perfect in short yardage situations going 8-8 on 3rd-and-1 rushing attempts.
Winning the tight onesJacksonville has won three of their last four games and five of their last seven, and their wins have largely been by close margins. Four of their five victories this season have been decided by seven points or less with their last three by a field goal or less. They've won two games in the final seconds on game-winning field goals including last week's 24-22 win over the Jets. In games determined by three points or less, the Jaguars are 3-1 this seaon.
Down some startersThe Bills aren't the only team in the league missing some starters at this point in the season. Jacksonville could be down two key starters on defense for Sunday's game. Top corner Rashean Mathis is out with a groin injury and starting MLB Justin Durant is doubtful with a head injury. In addition starting SS Gerald Alexander is questionable with a shoulder injury.
Rookies tacklesMuch like Buffalo, Jacksonville has some youth on their offensive line. While the Bills have their rookies at the guard spots, the Jaguars have rookies on the edges. Jacksonville's top two draft choices last April were offensive tackles Eugene Monroe (8th overall) and Eben Britton (39th overall). Monroe has started six games on the left and Britton eight on the right as each has missed time due to illness or injury. They've had their ups and downs, but are holding their own as part of the league's 10th ranked offense.
Disciplined groupThe Jaguars lead the NFL in fewest penalty yards with 330 and rank second in the league in fewest penalties assessed with just 44 in nine games. They have the second-fewest holding calls (3) and are one of five teams to not have a delay of game penalty. Defensively, Jacksonville is one of four teams not to have a pass interference penalty this season.
Covering wellThe Jaguars are fairly solid on special teams and are excelling in the coverage game. Jacksonville ranks 12th in kick coverage and are tops in the NFL in punt coverage. They're allowing a miniscule 3.3 yards per punt return by their opponents. A big factor in that figure is punter and WNY native Adam Podlesh (Pittsford). Podlesh has forced opponents to take fair catches on almost half of his punts this season (9-20).
Quote of the Week"This team has an identity. I'm probably a little bit more fired up. I'm a little bit more emotional or a lot more emotional I would say. Whether they take on those characteristics or not I don't know. I just know that I'm going to get this team to try and focus on one game, Jacksonville. I'm going to try to get the team to play with a purpose."
--Interim head coach Perry Fewell on how the Bills will be different under his leadership
Stat of the WeekRyan Fitzpatrick has a record of 4-1 in his last five starts.
Milestones in reachJairus Byrd needs one interception to tie for second most INTs in one season by a Bills player, two to tie a team record (10).
Lee Evans needs 170 receiving yards to move into sole possession of third place on the Bills all-time receiving yardage list.
Terrell Owens needs 93 receiving yards to pass Marvin Harrison for fourth place in NFL history.
Final noteIn his last start against the Jaguars on Nov. 2, 2008, Ryan Fitzpatrick went 21-31 for 162 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in a 21-19 win over Jacksonville.