Coming off a somewhat surprising romp of the Seattle Seahawks last week the Bills travel to Jacksonville to face a Jaguars team who looked shaky and banged up in their loss to the emotionally banged up Vince Young and the Titans.
There was talk of the postseason in Buffalo long before the seemingly untouchable Tom Brady was lost for the season last week. But now with the AFC East suddenly up for grabs the Bills are looking to unseat the perennial division winners in the Patriots and outplay the not as great as you might think Brett Favre led Jets who (granted without the magic of number 4) only won 4 games a year ago.
The Jaguars were a trendy pick to go all the way to Super Bowl XLIII this year but last week looked like anything but a Super Bowl contender, or even a playoff team. The Jags have been bitten with a mean case of the injury bug along their offensive line and it showed last week with constant pressure on David Gerrard forcing him to through 2 INTs, which is 1 less than he had the entire season last year.
Miller's Keys To The Game:
- Marcus Stroud: Stroud returns to his former team this week. A team that felt that he would never be the same player as the 3 time pro bowler he once was due to a serious ankle injury. Look for Stroud to shake up the back ups playing on the Jags O line like he has something to prove. (Although to many Bills fans he proved he still had it with his 2 sacks and 7 tackles a week ago.)
- The Return of Jason Peters?: The Bills have yet to announce if Peters will play this Sunday but have until later today (Saturday) to do so. The Pro Bowl LT ended his summer long hold out last week and said he took about 95% of the snaps in practice this past week. Peters, who many believe is one of the best Tackles in the game, will cement an already solid offensive line. This should a very positive effect on the Bill's offense, in that, it will be give QB Trent Edwards (who looked very solid last week) more time to throw and RB Marshawn Lynch (who last week picked right up where he left off with his impressive rookie campaign) bigger holes to run through in an offense that looks much better than the unit that only scored 20 total tds the entire season a year ago.
- Mjd/Freddy T: The Jags have arguably the best RB tandem in the league with veteran Fred Taylor and the explosive Maurice Jones-Drew lining up in their back field, yet, the Jags were held to only 33 yards rushing last week. This could partially be due to the aforementioned decimated offensive line but look for Taylor and Jones-Drew to try and redeem themselves this week verses a team that Taylor ran all over last season when he had 104 yards and a TD on just 14 carries.
This game should be a close one as both teams do battle in the Florida heat. But, if Peters plays and Buffalo's Defense and Special Teams are as solid as they were last week I think it should be a victory for Buffalo.
Final Score Prediction: Bills 20, Jaguars 17.
Predicted offensive stats for the Bills:
T. Edwards 21-28 198 yds 1 TD 1 INT
M. Lynch: 26 rushes 97 yds 1 TD
F. Jackson: 6 rushes 23 yds
L. Evans 6 rec. 88 yds
J. Reed 6 rec. 59 yds
R. Royal 5 rec. 31 yds 1TD
R. Parrish 2 rec. 11 yds
J. Hardy 1 rec. 8 yds