Things are going pretty well for Marcus Stroud these days as he tries to resurrect his career after being traded to the Bills during the offseason. After his first game with the Bills, he is second in the NFL with two sacks and recorded seven tackles in his debut as he and his new team beat the Seahawks 34-10 in Week One. Only to make things better for him is that his former team, the Jaguars, lost a game in which they themselves struggled greatly managing to only put up 10 points on the board.
So why should Stroud be so eager to go back and play a team that he spent his first seven NFL Seasons with and that made the playoffs last year? Besides the obvious fact to prove to the Jaguars that they never should of let him go, the game has been set up for both the Bills and Stroud to win big despite being 5 1/2 point underdogs. Both the Bills and Stroud are going into Sunday with great expectations and goals to beat a team that the Bills need to beat to solidify that they themselves are a major contender this year and are ready to end their drought of being absent from the playoffs since the 1999 season.
First, the Bills.
Last season, in the midst of the Wild Card Race, the Jaguars put a beat down on the Bills winning 36-14 late in the season which helped the Bills miss the playoffs for another year. The also Jaguars ended up being one of the two teams who won the Wild Card spot that the Bills were playing for. In addition, if winning their first game in convincing fashion against a Seattle team that has been a guaranteed pick for the playoffs in recent years and that is only three years removed from the Superbowl, the Bills still are finding themselves as 5 1/2 underdogs going into Sunday's game. The Bills though don’t see this as a major problem, since they are more comfortable and rather play the in the underdog role.
Next, we go to Stroud, who was surprisingly traded during the offseason to the Buffalo Bills. The DT has many times said that he did not see himself being traded and considered himself a franchise player in Jacksonville.
Also, to make things better for Stroud he has two main factors going into the game which are on his side. The first being the obvious that he will be playing with a "chip on his shoulder", trying to show the Jaguars that it was a mistake of letting a player of his caliber go. The second is that he will be going up against a Jags offensive line which is beat up to say the least. Stroud, being a Defensive Tackle, mostly goes up against the center and two guards on every play during the duration of a game. Due to a rash of injuries that have hit the Jags recently, they will be WITHOUT THEIR STARTERS AT ALL THREE OF THOSE POSITIONS. That means that Stroud, a three time Pro Bowler, will be going up against all backup offensive linemen. In addition to the three starters missing on the Jags offensive line, they have one reserve lineman who will also miss the game limiting the amount of plays that the offensive linemen can sit out, which can be a huge factor in a game that is supposed to have a gametime temperature of 94 degrees.
When it is all said and done tomorrow I expect the Bills to win easily and for Stroud to be a big part of that win. He and the Bills defensive line are going up against a beat up Jaguars offensive line that gave up seven sacks last week. If the Bills want to show the NFL and AFC East that they are for real this season, tomorrow will be a huge test in showing of how much of a threat that they really are.