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Top 5 storylines to follow for Bills vs. Jaguars in London


The Bills are heading across the pond for their Week 5 matchup against the Jaguars. It's the first time Sean McDermott will coach a game in London and the first for many players as well.

Here are 5 things to know for Sunday's game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

1. Heading across the pond

Even though the Jaguars are already in London since they played there last week, the Bills will spend most of the week in Orchard Park preparing for the matchup. They'll conduct normal practices on Wednesday and Thursday before flying out on Thursday evening.

"This will be the first time in history that I understand that a team will stay over there and play two games," head coach Sean McDermott said. "We will travel on Thursday night. And then we'll get there and push through Friday and then try and get on a normal schedule from there in."

McDermott, the coaching staff and players have been able to solely focus on their opponent and not worry about the logistics of playing in a different country thanks to several others on staff who have spent multiple months planning everything.

"A lot of collaboration has gone into it behind the scenes," McDermott said. "The staff has done a phenomenal job. I'm not talking about myself or the coaches, I'm talking about the support staff operationally and the business side have done a great job behind the scenes."

With it being McDermott and several others' first time playing a game in London, the head coach is hoping Bills Mafia makes it feel like home.

"It'll be kind of a new venue for us, obviously, and a change of scenery," McDermott said. "We're just hoping that as many of Bills Mafia can show up as possible. If they can make it sound like it was yesterday, that would be a nice home field advantage for us."

It won't be the first time these two teams are facing each other in London as the last time the Bills played there was in 2015 against the Jaguars in Wembley Stadium.

2. Buffalo's hot start offensively & how it could be tested on Sunday

Josh Allen & Co. have been humming the last three weeks as the offense has scored more than 35 points in three-straight games. Their average of 34.75 points per game (2nd in the NFL) is the best through the first four weeks of a season in the Sean McDermott era. They've only had seven drives end in a three and out so far this year, which is the least in the NFL.

They've been able to do this thanks to the elite play of their QB, their wide receivers catching everything thrown their way, the running backs raising their level of play, the offensive line providing more than enough time in the pocket and an offensive coordinator who's nailing game plans by putting his team in the best situations to win games.

"I thought Coach (Ken) Dorsey did a really good job," McDermott said of his offensive coordinator. "Coach Dorsey and the offensive staff came up with a really solid game plan that incorporated run and pass and a different style of offense. And I thought Josh (Allen) and his teammates went out there and executed at a high level."

"Being able to play up front is going to be a critical factor in terms of the success of the offense," offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey said. "They've done a great job up there and we're really excited about one, how they've protected and two, how we've been able to run the football and be physical, create movement, create lanes and get our backs in the second level and let them do some things from that standpoint."

The offense has been playing at a high level against tough defenses too, and they'll see another one on Sunday in the Jags. They're allowing just 20.5 points per game (12th in the NFL) and have nine takeaways (4th) through four games. They also allow a low success rate in the red zone – letting teams score just 42.9% of the time (8th). One of their biggest playmakers in linebacker Josh Allen ties for the league lead in sacks with six.

Through four games, the Bills are averaging 391 total yards per game (6th) and are scoring on 57.1% of their drives (1st).

3. Bills D continues to make a big impact

While the Bills offense has been putting up a plethora of points, the Bills defense has been stride for stride with them in terms of the impact they've also had to start the season. They're allowing only 13.8 points per game (2nd in the NFL) and are pressuring the quarterback at the highest rate in the NFL (12.2% according to TruMedia).

Through four weeks of play, their 16 sacks (tied for 1st) are the most to begin the season in the Sean McDermott era. Their 11 takeaways also tie for the most in the first four weeks since 2017.

The defensive obviously wants to keep this momentum going but knows every week and every opponent presents different challenges.

"Every single week is a new week," Rousseau said after the Week 4 win. "So once this Sunday is over with, whatever we did today doesn't really matter. We have to get ready for whoever we play next and just be dialed in, locked into all the details, play with our fundamentals, all do our 1/11th and it kind of renews itself every single week."

They'll face an offense in the Jacksonville Jaguars that has two wins and ranks middle of the road statistically averaging 20 points per game (20th), 329.3 total yards per game (16th) and is scoring on 31.9% of their drives (19th).

So far, the defense is allowing 288 total yards per game (6th), letting opponents score touchdowns just 45.5% of the time in the red zone (tied for 9th), has surrendered just three passing touchdowns (t-3rd) and is allowing a 66.4 passer rating to opposing quarterbacks (2nd).

4. Filling the void of Tre'Davious White

Buffalo received some tough news this week as the team learned CB Tre'Davious White will be out for the rest of the season due to a torn Achilles. The news is even tougher for White and the team knowing just how hard White worked to recover from his ACL injury that he suffered in Week 12 of the 2021 season.

Without White, corners Christian Benford, Dane Jackson and Kaiir Elam will have to elevate their play to make up for the loss of their All-Pro.

"Dane, Christian, Kaiir, we expect those guys to step in and to play to the best of their ability," assistant head coach and defensive line coach Eric Washington said. "And to utilize the success and the production that they've been able to gain to go back and understand how they need to succeed within their own skillset and mindset. So we're looking forward to that, and that's just how we have to proceed."

Benford has started opposite of White in the last four games. Jackson has seen some time on the field this season as well and came in to play CB when White got injured in last week's game. Elam hasn't been on the game day roster yet this season but has six starts under his belt.

McDermott said the three will all be in the mix knowing they are down one cornerback.

"You've got to earn your spot," McDermott said. "And just because he hasn't been active doesn't mean that we're not confident in Kaiir. We are extremely confident in Kaiir. To this point just a few players have outperformed him. So now is his chance could come, and we'll see where it goes. But it's important he has a good week of practice this week, and we'll see where it leads us for the game."

Jackson is no stranger to being ready when his number is called as he's started in 22 games and played in 41 since being drafted by the Bills in 2020.

"He did a great job of anticipating the ball coming out quickly and being physical against some of those quicker three-step RPO type routes," Washington said of Jackson's play against Miami. "We saw the fact that the biggest thing about Dane is his readiness. He came into the game against the Raiders and had a big forced fumble for us at the end of the ballgame. He's always ready to play."

5. Von Miller returns to practice

The Bills also received some good news this week as Von Miller will begin practicing with the team. The linebacker missed the first four games because he started the year on the reserve/PUP list due to his knee injury.

Returning to practice also means Miller's 21-day window to return to the active roster will open.

The Bills defensive line has had a great start to the season as they're pressuring the quarterback at the highest rate (12.2%), tie for the most quarterback hits (32) and tie for the most sacks (16).

The defensive line group is excited to see how Miller can elevate an position group that's already playing at a high level.

"We anticipate Von just being an integral factor in terms of our ability to generate pressure with four guys," Washington said. "And Von's influence and the attention that he should garner from the protection concepts should allow other guys to be single. And, our whole mindset and philosophy revolves around being able to win one on one. So anytime Von Miller is on the field, you have to pay attention to him.

"He's a person that's a tough out. He's a person that can affect the passing game at any point in the ballgame. So, you have to pay attention to him. And we look forward to him integrating himself back into what we're doing and adding to what we've been able to accomplish."

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