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Scouting Report - Week 12 - Bills-Jaguars


**Top 3 Individual Matchups
1 - Charles Clay vs. Myles Jack

**Jack is a strong coverage player. He's one of the few linebackers who can match up effectively with Buffalo's tight end in the pass game. Clay will need to make plays in the pass game with Robert Woods unlikely to suit up this week.

2 - Stephon Gilmore vs. Allen RobinsonBuffalo's top corner had a bounce back performance last Sunday turning in a pair of interceptions. He did however, give up a touchdown and Robinson has scored in three straight games for Jacksonville. Will Gilmore be able to keep him from making it four?

3 - John Miller vs. Malik JacksonOne of Jacksonville's free agent signees, the Super Bowl champion from Denver has been disruptive on the inside for the Jaguars defensive front. Miller made need some assistance to handle the Jaguars most effective interior pass rusher.

Bills Top 2 Advantages
Good advantage - Run game
Buffalo's number one ranked rushing attack should be able to move the ball, especially if LeSean McCoy is good to go in his return from a dislocated thumb. Jacksonville had a strong effort with their run defense last week against Detroit, but their run defense this season is giving up 113 yards on the ground per game to rank 23rd in the NFL.

Best advantage - Pass rushThe Bills are tied for the league lead in sacks and lead the NFL in sack percentage. Although Blake Bortles is a quality scrambler (see below), he's still been sacked 21 times. In a road environment it could prove tough for Bortles to overcome Buffalo's pass rush, which is the healthiest it has been all season.

Bills Number 1 Must
Put Jaguars away early
The key to the Bills four-game winning streak earlier this season was jumping out to early leads. Buffalo is built to run the ball and protect leads on defense. They're a better team than Jacksonville on paper, but they've got to prove it on the field early by jumping on them early and establishing an early lead on the scoreboard. Last week the Lions learned first-hand what happens when you let the Jaguars hang around in a game.

**Scouting Eye
Hackett is the new OC

**After losing five of their first seven games Jacksonville head coach Gus Bradley fired offensive coordinator Greg Olson and promoted quarterbacks coach Nathaniel Hackett to run the offense. Hackett, Buffalo's former offensive coordinator under Doug Marrone, has had three to call the offense, but the Jaguars have yet to come up with a victory.

Under Olson the team was averaging almost 20 points per game on offense (19.8 ppg), but managed just 72.5 rushing yards per game and converted just 30 percent of their third downs. While the offense's point production under Hackett is down slightly (18 ppg) their conversion rate on third downs is up 13 percent (43%) and their run game has spiked sharply averaging 122.5 yards per game.

Unfortunately for the Jags a lot of the other problems have persisted like turnovers, pass protection and a lack of big plays.

Lee emerging?Injuries are what has largely held back Jacksonville former second-round pick Marqise Lee. This season the third-year wideout has stayed healthy and in the lineup, and with Hackett calling the plays has had three of his most productive outings of the season the last three weeks.

Lee has been a consistent complementary option in the pass game to Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns making four receptions in each of the last three games including his first touchdown of the season last week. Lee (6-0, 200) has rare speed and elusiveness and makes the tough catches look easy. A former college teammate of Robert Woods, Lee is an under the radar threat who also returns kicks.

Bortles can escapeWhen most casual observers look at Blake Bortles they think of a traditional pocket passer. Bortles does have a very good throwing arm, but he also has mobility for a 6-5, 240-pound quarterback. The Jaguars signal caller has been sacked 21 times, but Jacksonville has the ninth-best sack percentage in the NFL because of Bortles escapability. His average of 6.5 yards per rush is almost a yard better than Buffalo's Tyrod Taylor (5.65).

Coughing it upPerhaps the biggest problem for Jacksonville this season has been their inability to hang on to the football. Their 22 giveaways is tied for the league lead, and their minus-15 turnover margin is the worst in football. Their nine lost fumbles are third-highest in the NFL as are their 13 interceptions. What makes matters worse is Jacksonville's inability to take the ball away. They have just seven takeaways on the season, which is also a league low.

Rookie pass rusherIn 2015, the Jaguars drafted Dante Fowler Jr., who was expected to be a big shot in the arm to Jacksonville's pass rush. Unfortunately he was injured in his first offseason practice and missed his entire rookie year with a torn ACL. Now entering his second season, Fowler Jr. has been a backup to rookie third-round pick Yannick Ngakoue. The rookie leads the Jaguars in sacks with five, twice the number of any other Jags defender, which includes Fowler Jr. (2.5). He also has three forced fumbles and an interception to his credit. If he logs three more sacks this season he'll set a Jaguars team record for a rookie.

Slow startersJacksonville's offense ranks 27th in points this season, and slow starts are a part of the problem. They've scored a total of just 24 points in the first quarter this year. That ranks 30th in the NFL. In fact their offense has not scored any points on their first possession in each of the first 10 games. It's why the Jaguars have been outscored by a 2:1 margin in the first quarter this season, and puts them in catch up mode early.

Run game shiftT.J. Yeldon is still listed as the team's top running back on Jacksonville's roster, but that hasn't been the case in terms of workload over the past month. Veteran Chris Ivory has been getting more and more work of late, and that might be even more pronounced in the Jaguars offense this week. Yeldon is nursing an ankle injury suffered just last week and hasn't practiced much at all this week. That figures to move Ivory into the starting lineup Sunday.

Ivory has 48 carries over the past four weeks to Yeldon's 23, which includes a 107-yard rushing day against the Chiefs. Ivory however, hasn't been much more effective than Yeldon. Both are averaging 3.6 yards per carry on the season, with Ivory (84) logging just one more carry than Yeldon (83).

Buffalo Chips
Stat of the week
The Bills have the most runs of 10-plus yards (49) and 20-plus yards (15) in the NFL.

Quote of the week"We got to go out there and win each and every one of these games. We know what we got to do, because there are teams ahead of us right now who [have] only lost two or three games, so we got to go out there and find a way to win all of these."
--LB Preston Brown

Milestones in reachPreston Brown needs one tackle to reach 300 in his Bills career.

LeSean McCoy needs 140 total yards from scrimmage for 1,000 on the season. It would be his seventh straight season with over 1,000 yards from scrimmage.

Tyrod Taylor needs 31 rushing yards to reach 1,000 in his career as a Bill. He'd become the third Bills QB in franchise history to reach 1,000 rushing yards.

Final noteMore than half of Buffalo's rushing attempts go for more than four yards (51%), which is the highest success rate in the NFL.

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