If comments from Tennessee Titans defensive lineman Jurrell Casey become reality, the Buffalo Bills are going to beat quarterback Blake Bortles and the Jacksonville Jaguars during Sunday's playoff matchup.
"As long as Bortles is back there, if the ball game is in his hands, he's going to choke," he said Tuesday while appearing on 104.5 The Zone in Nashville (via Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk).
Casey's comments come after Tennessee clinched a playoff spot of its own Sunday with a 15-10 victory over the Jaguars. Bortles struggled throughout and completed 15 of his 34 passes for 158 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions.
Casey's distaste for the Jaguars goes beyond his assessment of Bortles' play, considering Williams noted he scuffled with linebackers Blair Brown and Donald Payne postgame. He also didn't hold back when discussing Jacksonville's offense Sunday (via Williams):
"We didn't want their offense to score at all, and it looks like that's what happened. It looks like that's what happened. Sorry. At the beginning of the week, I was talking about that. King of the South? King of the South? Sounds great, but got to be able to beat us. Jacksonville didn't play great today. Appreciate the turnovers. Helped us out a lot."
The USC product weighed in on the story Tuesday, noting his quote about Bortles was more about his own defense than the quarterback:
While there is apparent bad blood in place, it's hard to dismiss Casey's thoughts when judging Jacksonville's playoff chances.
The defense is one of the stoutest in the league, finishing second in yards allowed (286.1), points allowed (16.8) and sacks (55.0), while rookie running back Leonard Fournette powered his way to 1,040 rushing yards in 13 games. A strong running game and defense is a formula for playoff success, but it was clear how Bortles can derail the whole thing in the last two games.
He also threw three interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown, in a loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 16.
If Bortles does avoid the turnovers and puts his team in a position to win, the defense could carry the Jaguars to elevated heights. That may set up a potential postseason meeting with the Titans down the line, which would have an extra layer of intrigue following Casey's comments.